FCA slaps Alexander Stuart with £34,000 fine and bans him from performing any regulated activities

A trainee at life insurance company, St James’s Place (SJP) has been slapped with a hefty fine and banned from performing any regulated activity after he lied about his qualifications and forged learning documents.

The FCA described how Alexander Stuart misled the regulator, as well as the CII, by falsely claiming to have achieved level four qualification.

Stuart was approved by the FCA on 4 April 2014 to work at SJP through the appointed representative, London-based Clearwater Wealth Management.

Following the retail distribution review (RDR), all retail investment advisers needed a minimum of a level 4 qualification and a statement of professional standing (SPS) from an accredited body for independent verification.

Stuart was a trainee at the time, so he did not need an SPS, but was required to be supervised by an SPS holder.

Advisers are required by the FCA to achieve level 4 qualification within 30 months of starting employment in a trainee role.

In two meetings between December 2014 and April 2015, when asked, Stuart told his supervisors that he had passed both the R02 and R04 exams.

Then, later in 2015, he told the CII that he had passed the R06 exam and that he had received a learning statement which showed his exam history. He had done neither.

Stuart then forged a learning statement which falsely showed that he had passed R03, R04, R05 and R06, and gave a false statement to SJP asserting that he had attained the level 4 qualification.

In January 2016, the CII saw a copy of this forged statement and put the allegations to him, which he later admitted to in September 2016.

A spokesman for the advice business said: “SJP is committed to maintaining excellent professional standards and ensuring clients have access to the highest levels of knowledge and expertise. We take this responsibility very seriously and have stringent compliance procedures in place to address isolated incidents such as this.

“Action was taken to suspend Mr Stuart as soon as it became known that false statements and documents had been provided in relation to his qualifications. No financial detriment has been incurred by clients and he is no longer at the partner practice concerned.”