‘Regulator’s errors helped fraudsters steal my £44k’
Lax record keeping by the City watchdog has left responsible consumers vulnerable to fraud, warns Adam Williams
It is supposed to arm consumers with vital information about which companies are safe to do business with, yet its mistakes have enabled fraudsters to steal thousands of pounds from innocent investors. The City watchdog, the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA), is responsible for maintaining a register of companies and individuals who are authorised to offer financial services and advice. The Financial Services Register is designed to be a gold standard of information on which consumers can rely to find out whether a firm is reputable.
If a firm or individual is no longer authorised, or has been banned from trading, this should be clearly displayed on the register so that customers know to avoid the company. However, it has emerged that errors in the FCA’s database are leaving consumers at risk of fraud.
In one case, a consumer lost tens of thousands of pounds after investing his pension in a company that the regulator said was fully authorised. In reality, scammers had taken advantage of the FCA’s poor record-keeping and used the name of a closed company to defraud innocent victims.
Following Telegraph Money’s involvement, the Treasury Select Committee said it would raise this issue with the FCA at a meeting later this year.
When questioned by this newspaper, the watchdog was unable to answer basic questions about how many complaints it had received regarding the register or how much compensation it had paid to victims.
James Daley, of consumer campaign group Fairer Finance, said: “The FCA