Neville Russell has been fined #15,000 by the English ICA for failing to meet its deadline for providing information on pensions transfers and opt-outs between 1988 and 1994.
The institute’s Financial Services Authorisation Committee fined the Group A firm after it failed to identify problem areas, the first step of a full review.
John Mellows, the firm’s national senior partner, said the firm decided to pay the fine rather than attend a disciplinary hearing, ‘costing far more in terms of time and money’.
But he added there was no issue of mis-selling.
He said the firm encountered difficulty in locating files and is now seeking statements from life insurance companies to meet further information requests. But Mellows said the fine reflected greater determination by the institute to discipline those failing to provide information. He said: ‘The institute has to show its teeth and is prepared to make an example of somebody.’
Roland Cryer, head of investment business at the institute’s professional standards office, was disappointed by Neville Russell’s failure to produce the information. He said the firm should fulfil the institute’s requests by July: ‘We expect firms to be ahead of the game,’ he added.
Cryer did not confirm whether the committee will impose further fines if Neville Russell does not produce its findings by the deadline. But he hinted repercussions could be possible if Neville Russell failed to file a full report by the end of the year.