The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) has banned Peter Howson and John Butterfield from performing any regulated activity after they submitted false and misleading information about customers’ high net worth status.
Howson and Butterfield, who were both directors of the now-liquidated Vanguard Wealth Management Limited, submitted the information to self-invested personal pension (Sipp) provider James Hay, which had no knowledge of their actions.
Vanguard Wealth Management Limited has no connection to the Vanguard Group.
Mark Steward, FCA executive director of enforcement and market oversight, said: “Both advisers knew, or should have known, that what they were doing lacked integrity and betrayed the high standards expected by the FCA. They have no place in the financial services industry.’
The financial regulator found that Howson deceived James Hay about the high net worth status of six customers by submitting fabricated information, including false figures for fictitious properties.
Between 26 February 2014 and 21 November 2014, Howson also “dishonestly submitted” 27 high net worth declarations in which he falsely claimed to have seen evidence of the customers’ net worth.
In addition, in July 2013 and April 2014, Howson “dishonestly submitted false information” relating to his own financial circumstances to the Sipp provider when submitting his own applications.
Also, the FCA found that between 6 March 2013 and 1 September 2014, Butterfield submitted 48 high net worth declarations in which he falsely claimed he had seen evidence of the customers’ net worth.
The watchdog said: “Mr Howson and Mr Butterfield knowingly and repeatedly made these false declarations, and thereby increased the number of Vanguard customers who purchased Elysian Fuels PLC shares through their James Hay Sipps.
“This generated substantial fees and commissions from which Mr Howson and Mr Butterfield benefitted. As a result of Mr Howson’s and Mr Butterfield’s actions, customers lost money.
“Mr Howson and Mr Butterfield lack integrity and have been banned from carrying out any regulated activities.”