AES Financial Services, the UK arm of Dubai-based AES International, has received regulatory restrictions from the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA).
The advice firm will not be able to carry out any regulated activities for new clients, but it can continue to serve clients it had before the restrictions came into effect.
The regulatory action took place on 7 December 2022 and the watchdog gave the company until 20 December to clear them.
Sam Instone, UK chief executive of AES, told International Adviser the FCA’s decision was “self-imposed” and “voluntary”. He added the restrictions came from recommendations provided by external compliance consultants hired by the advice firm.
The FCA told IA that, while it could not comment on individual firms, its supervision approach is split in two when it comes to applying restrictions: either voluntarily from the firm or handed directly by the regulator.
The FCA Register shows that, by 20 December, AES needs to provide the watchdog with a review of all its financial promotions, and amend or withdraw any promotions that “fail to comply with the relevant rules in the FCA’s Handbook”.
This will include notifying all the people who were clients of the firm when the restrictions came into effect.
Instone told IA that part of this was adding clarifications on AES’ website regarding the fact that UK rules and protection won’t apply to clients outside Britain.
Additionally, the company has been required to review all individuals performing designated senior management functions and to apply for approval for all those performing such functions who were not previously authorised and to provide the FCA with a “current staff structure chart, with full job descriptions, of all individuals performing designated senior management functions”.
Instone added that the UK watchdog required further explanation on why the company has two chief executives. As a result, the firm clarified that Instone is chief executive of the UK business, while Pippa Miller is chief executive of the Middle East arm.
All the information will need to be part of a written report to be sent to the FCA, including a list of clients to whom its has written as part of the restriction exercise.
Instone said they intend to provide the regulator with the written report by 5pm on 20 December 2022.