'Financial Adviser' Simon Varley who worked at Dickinson’s Financial Management until January 2013 has been banned for life and fined by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA).
Following the introduction of the Retail Distribution Review in 2013, FCA rules require advisers to hold a minimum level of qualification at Level 4 (Advanced Diploma) to be approved for a CF30 (controlled function 30 e.g. regulated financial adviser).
Varley’s CF30 was originally approved but he requested it to be removed in January 2013 and then continued to advise retail customers between January 2013 and September 2017.
Varley was fined £68,300 for his lack of honesty and integrity. He repeatedly lied to conceal his own wrongdoings. Varley misled fellow directors at Dickinson's and provided false information in meetings, saying he had passed relevant exams and falsely claimed he had applied for CF30 approval to the FCA.
The FCA had said no application was ever made, whilst Varley said the regulator had not updated the financial services register.
Varley continued to falsify providing information to Dickinson’s professional indemnity insurance (PII) providers about the qualification he held, so he could be insured to provide advice to retail investors after 2013.
As part of Varley’s CF10 function he was required to provide regulatory information of the firm’s retail mediation activates to the FCA, however he discharged his responsibility and mislead the financial watchdog into believing that only one person at the firm was providing investment advice instead of 2 and concealed his own misconduct to the FCA.
The FCA said that the false information he provided to them and Dickinson’s PII providers potentially but consumers at risk as he was not qualified to provide advice and not insured.
Dickinson’s, due to Varley’s actions, was forced to move into voluntary liquidation.
Mark Stewart FCA’s executive director of enforcement and market oversight, said: “Varley’s deliberate lies about his position and his misconduct which continued for a few years could have potentially created a risk of loss to consumers, he abused his position of trust as a director and todays ban should act as a deterrent to other senior individuals who abuse a position of trust”.
A £68,000 fine is not enough. It should have been every penny that he earned as an adviser. At Roberts Clark, we pride ourselves that all advisers were already qualified above and beyond Level 4 when RDR started in 2013. All our advisers are Level 6 (1st Class Honours Degree), Chartered Financial Planners and for people to do the job that we do and claim to be qualified when they are not, when we have worked so hard to pass numerous advanced examinations to 1st Class Honours leaves a very sour taste in our mouths. See our qualifications.