Stockbroker slapped again by FSA over continued sales failings

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London stockbroker Wills & Co has been censured by the Financial Services Authority for poor sales practices and failing to monitor its salespeople properly.

This is the second time the stockbroker has faced FSA enforcement action, and the regulator said it would have been fined £1.5m if it hadn't been in the process of handing over its accounts to larger rival firm The Share Centre. In October 2007, the FSA fined Wills & Co £49,000 for giving poor risk warnings and misleading information. It was also required to correct the failings identified with its sales and compliance practices. Two months later, Wills & Co told the FSA that the necessary changes had been made.

However, when the FSA visited Wills & Co, it found the same failings. "It is shocking that despite previous action, Wills & Co still failed to put its customers' interests first," said Margaret Cole, the FSA's director of enforcement. "What makes this case particularly serious is that the firm was fined by the FSA and promised the FSA that its treatment of customers had improved when that was plainly not the case." The FSA also issued statements of misconduct against Darren Lansdown, Wills & Co's sales director, and Katharine Prichard, its compliance director, for failing to ensure that the business was run properly.

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