Financial adviser fined £60k

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THE City watchdog last week fined a South Queensferry-based financial adviser £60,000 for selling clients unsuitable investments that put them at risk of losses.

Patrick Francis O’Donnell, sole director of P3 Wealth Management, was also banned by the Financial Services Authority (FSA) from carrying out regulated activities after advising clients to invest in non-mainstream vehicles that were “clearly unsuitable”.

The FSA said O’Donnell, who has been in the business for more than 20 years, according to his website, had advised 57 of his clients to put money in unregulated collective investment schemes (UCIS). They included a fork-lift driver and his wife who invested their whole pension fund in such schemes, which the FSA said should only be promoted to sophisticated investors and “high-net worth” individuals.

O’Donnell “may have honestly and sincerely believed” he was doing his best for his clients, said the FSA, but was found to have recommended that many of them invest almost all of their money into illiquid, complex and higher risk investments.

Tom Spender, head of retail enforcement at the FSA, said: “O’Donnell had absolutely no understanding of the regulatory restrictions in place which prohibit advisers from selling UCIS to the vast majority of UK retail investors. He also completely failed to make recommendations that were suitable for his clients’ individual needs and circumstances.”