The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) has banned Nigel Lewis and Susan Jones of West Wales Financial Services Limited (WWFS) from advising customers on pension transfers and opt outs.
Lewis has also been banned from holding any senior management functions in a regulated firm and must pay £26,800 to the FSCS while Jones must cough up £40,888 to the scheme to contribute towards the compensation owed to WWFS customers.
Between March and December 2017, WWFS (now in liquidation) provided unsuitable pension transfer advice based on the incorrect assumption that it would be in their customers’ best interests to transfer out of their secure defined benefit pension.
Jones advised 27 to 28 clients to transfer out of their DB pension scheme, 25 were members of the British Steel Pension Scheme (BSPS).
In total, £9,769,550 of pension funds were transferred to riskier defined contribution schemes.
Lewis was responsible for ensuring WWFS provided suitable advice which the FCA say he failed to do so.
To read more on this topic, visit: FCA bans adviser in regard to DB pensions transfers
The FCA intervened and stopped the firm from processing transfers for a further 141 customers who were all members of BSPS.
Had the regulator not intervened customers may have transferred out funds totalling £43,722,771.
Therese Chambers, joint executive director of Enforcement & Market Oversight, said: “Mr Lewis and Ms Jones performed a double act of carelessness and incompetence that put people’s hard-earned pensions at risk.
“They would have continued to provide bad advice to many more had it not been for the FCA’s timely intervention. People need someone they can trust to give them informed advice on their financial future – and it’s not these two.”