PIA says it will name firms it turns down

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The Independent Online
THE PERSONAL Investment Authority, the fledgling retail investments regulator, is to publish the names of companies that it rejects for membership together with an indication of why they have been turned down.

So far 4,159 firms have applied for membership of the PIA and 1,964 have been accepted. A spokesman said: 'No firm has yet been turned down for membership but there will be a few.'

The PIA warned yesterday that members of Fimbra and Lautro, the superseded regulatory bodies, that had not applied for membership by 30 September would cease to be authorised.

'A firm which conducts investment business without being authorised commits an offence and is liable on conviction to two years' imprisonment and/or a unlimited fine,' it said.

Fimbra, the regulator for independent financial advisers, recently wrote to 1,000 members reminding them to apply.

In a separate development Knight Williams, a firm specialising in advice to retired investors, learnt that it is still the subject of regulatory scrutiny despite a record pounds 50,000 fine handed out by Fimbra earlier this month for regulatory breaches. Knight Williams has applied for membership of the PIA but has yet to be accepted.

Members of the Knight Williams Investors Action Group met yesterday at the Securities and Investment Board, the chief City regulator, to discuss how they should proceed.

The SIB said it planned to monitor closely how complaints are dealt with by the company. The action group has more than 250 members and has submitted a report to the Treasury.

The Consumers Association attacked the fine levied on Knight Williams and called on the PIA to reject its application for membership.