FSA ACTION: Wills & Co

The FSA censured Wills & Co, a London based stockbroking firm, for poor sales practices and not monitoring its advisers properly despite a fine and a previous requirement to take remedial action.

The FSA stopped Wills & Co from giving investment advice and it is required to write to all its customers to confirm this change. Wills & Co would have been fined £1.5 million had it not been in the process of winding down its business and had a large amount of customer redress due.

In October 2007, the FSA fined Wills & Co £49,000 for giving poor risk warnings and misleading information to its high risk penny share customers. 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 conducted a visit to Wills & Co, it found the same failings.  As a result, the FSA undertook a review of transactions and identified failings in all transactions and the risk that the customers may have been given unsuitable advice.

In order to protect consumers, the FSA required Wills & Co to engage an external consultant to retrain and monitor its advisers and then stopped it providing investment advice.

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