Firm disciplined for breach of rules

Evans Harris, of 202 Monument Road, Birmingham, was severely reprimanded and fined £5,000 and ordered to pay £3,250 in costs.

The tribunal found that between 1 March 1998 and 31 July 1998 the firm, of which the sole practitioner is Graham Leslie Evans, had carried out investment business ‘outside the limits which apply to its category of authorisation, in breach of Investment Business Regulations’.

As an authorised body under the Financial Services Act 1986, ‘the tribunal stated that they regarded compliance with the Investment Business Regulations as fundamental to the position of the Institute’.

The defendant’s disciplinary record includes fines for breaching the Investment Business Regulations for advising a client to place £12,000 into a personal pension plan. The firm was fined £5,000 in January 2001 and ordered it to pay costs totalling £7,497 by an ICAEW disciplinary tribunal.

In January 2001 the firm faced another tribunal for failing to provide details to enable a client to understand the basis upon which a bill had been prepared and six breaches of the Investment Business Regulations. The firm was fined £8,500 and ordered to pay costs of £2,937.

The Financial Services Authority this week published guidance on the supervision of accountancy firms that carry out investment business advice.

Firms conducting investment business advice are exempt from FSA regulation, but are supervised and regulated by the ‘designated professional bodies’ appointed by government.

Safeguards in place to protect consumers dealing with firms, including solicitors and actuaries, that are not directly regulated by the FSA include:FSA powers to ban a firm from taking advantage of the exemption; rules that ensure such firms’ clients are aware that the firm is not authorised and a requirement for the DPBs to keep the FSA informed of these firms’ activities.

The FSA will receive its full powers of supervision in November 2001.


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