The FSA has issued Final Notices prohibiting Ivan and Valerie Richards from performing certain controlled functions relating to regulated activities.

Mr and Mrs Richards owned and managed an independent financial advice company in Swindon known as Alexanders. Alexanders had provided advice on the transfer of employees from membership of a final salary pension scheme of one company to a group personal pension scheme of another company following a takeover.

The FSA took action as a result of serious systems and controls and oversight failures, which led to 650 people being exposed to the risk of significant financial loss arising from advice to transfer their pensions from deferred membership of a final salary scheme into a personal pension plan.

The FSA found that Mr Richards was personally involved in the failures at Alexanders, which included putting in place a flawed advisory process which led to the transfer of occupational pension benefits when this was potentially unsuitable for clients and exposed them to the risk of significant loss and detriment.

The FSA also found that Mrs Richards was unclear as to her responsibilities as a partner of Alexanders. She failed to appropriately inform herself about the pension transfer business conducted by Alexanders and failed to take adequate steps to ensure that such business was conducted in a compliant manner.