The public censure of Capita Financial Managers (CFM) by the Financial Services Authority (FSA) is a damning indictment of the firm's failings - and a vindication of advisers' pleas.
The FSA's final notice against Capita lists failing after failing by the firm during its tenure as authorised corporate director of the Arch Cru fund range.
As far as I can see, there is not one area of its responsibility in regards to the Arch Cru fund range it discharged correctly.
How could advisers who recommended the Arch Cru funds to clients have known Capita would be so negligent? The answer is, without the benefit of hindsight, they couldn't.
FSA censure shows IFAs not to blame over Arch Cru
If Capita had done its job properly, the problems with the fund would have been flagged earlier, saving many investors - and advisers - the years of grief that have followed Arch Cru's suspension in March 2009.
Today's revelation of the catalogue of failures by Capita vindicates what many advisers who recommended Arch Cru have been saying for years - all of the due diligence Capita should have done it didn't, and now advisers are being made to pay for it.
And the price is huge. The FSA has pushed back the publication of the final details of its proposed £110m Arch Cru redress scheme - which would be paid for by advisers - due to the overwhelming response to the consultation, no doubt from advisers pleading their businesses just won't survive the hit.
None of the failings that led to the suspension of the Arch Cru fund range were advisers' responsibility - the FSA has said as much by levelling such a list of failures at Capita.
The fund range failed - but not because advisers recommended it.
Advisers were not in control of pricing the funds - they used the information Capita gave them. Advisers shouldn't be punished for not knowing information outside of their remit. How much due diligence of Capita were they supposed to have done realistically?
The FSA decided not to fine Capita because it could not have afforded such a penalty as well as contributing to the £54m investor compensation pot.
However, a severe financial punishment will be levelled at many advisers for merely recommending the funds if the FSA's £110m redress scheme goes ahead. It seems it is still not a level playing field when it comes to apportioning blame for this fiasco and advisers will once again face the harshest pain.
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