Adviser banned and fined for fabricating RDR qualification certificates

Former retail investment adviser, Ewan King, has been fined £19,900 and banned by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) from undertaking any regulated activity, after it was discovered that he had fabricated Statements of Professional Standing.

These Statements prove that an adviser is qualified to the minimum standard put in place by the Retail Distribution Review (RDR), which reformed the investment advice market. Mr King is the first adviser to be banned by the FCA for fabricating these Statements.

The FCA has found that Mr King is not a fit and proper person, lacking honesty and integrity, and poses a risk to consumers and to confidence in the financial system.  

Tracey McDermott, director of enforcement and financial crime at the FCA, said:

"Pushing up professional standards was a key objective of the RDR. Thousands of advisers have met those standards. Mr King failed not only to achieve the qualifications required by RDR but then acted dishonestly and continued advising customers.  His conduct fell woefully short of the standard that we, and consumers, demand of those who work in the financial services industry."

Mr King was an appointed representative, which meant that he had a contract with a principal firm allowing him to perform certain activities regulated by the FCA. In early 2013, Mr King led this firm to believe that he held a Statement of Professional Standing issued by the Chartered Insurance Institute (CII), one of the bodies accredited by the FCA to verify that advisers are qualified to the right level. When challenged to produce his Statement, Mr King sent two fabricated documents.

The FCA later checked the validity of Mr King’s Statements to be told by the CII that Mr King had not applied for, or been issued with, a Statement because he had not reached the right level of qualification. Mr King later admitted to his principal firm that he had failed the relevant exams and his contract was subsequently terminated.

The FCA has made no findings against Mr King’s former principal firm.   

Mr King agreed to settle at an early stage of the FCA’s case and so qualified for a 30% discount. Were it not for this discount, the FCA would have imposed a financial penalty of £25,734.

Notes for editors

  1. The Final Notice.
  2. Following an investigation by the CII, Mr King was expelled from membership of the CII on 18 October 2013.  The CII withheld publication of this matter so as not to prejudice the FCA’s investigation.
  3. More information on the professionalism standards for advisers
  4. The rules ensure that investors are able to participate directly in the governance of the companies that they own, and receive timely and clear information that enables them to make active and properly informed decisions.
  5. On the 1 April 2013 the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) became responsible for the conduct supervision of all regulated financial firms and the prudential supervision of those not supervised by the Prudential Regulation Authority (PRA).
  6. The FCA has an overarching strategic objective of ensuring the relevant markets function well. To support this it has three operational objectives: to secure an appropriate degree of protection for consumers; to protect and enhance the integrity of the UK financial system; and to promote effective competition in the interests of consumers.
  7. Find out more information about the FCA.