Financial adviser banned and fined for promoting high risk investments

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A FINANCIAL adviser has been fined £117,330 and banned from working in the industry for selling high risk products which were unsuitable to his clients.

Martin Rigney, of Topps Rogers, based in Sheffield and Hope, was a partner and the only adviser working at Topps Rogers.

The Financial Services Authority said under Rigney’s watch, 94 customers invested more than £12 million in high risk products.

Rigney promoted and advised retail customers to invest in Unregulated Collective Investment Schemes without assessing their eligibility or explaining why his recommendations were suitable, the FSA ruled.

As a result of his advice, customers invested a substantial proportion of their investment portfolios in high risk products when they were unlikely to be suitable.

One of his customers invested 89 per cent of his investment portfolio in UCIS.

The authority also found Rigney advised a retired couple to put 80 per cent of their investment portfolio in UCIS to provide an income for their retirement.

The FSA said he showed a ‘serious lack of integrity’.

In May 2010, after he had agreed to stop promoting and advising on UCIS, he arranged a UCIS sale when he attempted to transfer two existing customers’ holdings in a UCIS to a new customer.

He did not tell his customer the UCIS he was recommending had been suspended in 2008.

He switched customers’ investments into UCIS without notifying them or obtaining their signatures prior to making the transactions.

Topps Rogers is now in liquidation and Rigney is bankrupt.

Tracey McDermott, Director of Enforcement and Financial Crime at the FSA, said: “Martin Rigney demonstrated a serious lack of competence by promoting complex, high risk products to his customers when they were clearly not right for his clients’ needs.

“He also acted without integrity by continuing to promote UCIS when he had no permission to do so, and arranging UCIS sales without his customers’ knowledge.

“His actions show a fundamental disregard for the interests of customers.”