FSA bars financial adviser

Amanda Jarvis

February 16, 2006

The FSA took the action in the light of Mr Townrow's failure to treat his customers fairly in his handling of the Pensions Review. His firm's approach was described as “a shambles” by the Financial Services and Markets Tribunal, which dismissed Mr Townrow's reference of the FSA's decision to prohibit him.

 Jonathan Phelan, Head of FSA Retail Enforcement Department, said: “The case relates to the conduct of Mr Townrow and his firm JMTA in connection with the Pensions Review in the late 1990s. At a key point in the process Mr Townrow failed to treat his customers fairly by not investigating properly the quality of pensions advice given at the time, compounded this by not reaching a decision on that issue and then failed to pay compensation due. Later he showed a complete disregard for the regulator and for the regulatory system.

“After hearing the evidence, the Tribunal has handed out the ultimate sanction of prohibition and its Written Decision made some severe criticisms of Mr Townrow and his firm JMTA in connection with the Pensions Review, describing JMTA's conduct of the review as “a shambles”. Mr Townrow's conduct fell well short of the standards required of an Approved Person. In line with its consumer protection objective the FSA will continue to see that individuals, such as Mr Townrow, who demonstrate a lack of honesty, integrity and competence and a failure to comply with the FSA's prescribed principles for Approved Persons are not allowed to carry out regulated activities.”

The Tribunal's written decision stated that, in its judgement: “The facts disclose very serious shortcomings in Mr Townrow's openness and honesty in dealing with consumers and regulators and in his ability and willingness to comply with requirements placed on him by or under the Act as well as with other legal and professional obligations and ethical standards.  We also consider that he presents a severe risk to consumers, as illustrated by his cynical disregard for the interests of customers whom he should have compensated in relation to their pensions. His history of relations with regulators has been unsatisfactory over a long period”.

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