Rotten apples removed

We live in a strange world ‘chock full’ of some very strange people with some strange views on what is and is not acceptable regarding how you conduct your life.

This escalates into a different level when those behaving badly are found out to be working in positions of trust or authority.

The quote from Abraham Lincoln is worth recalling. He said that You can fool some of the people all of the time, and all of the people some of the time, but you cannot fool all of the people all of the time.”  

The press has highlighted this week some of the latest extraordinary examples of deception that do beg the question about how gullible people actually are.

Policewoman Rachel Hewitt claimed to her employer that her teenage daughter was seriously ill with cancer, and of course in this world of employee rights outweighing any employee responsibilities, her employer did all they could to make sure she was given time, understanding and support to deal with the problem.

This involved compassionate leave, convenient shift patterns and due to her depression caused by her daughter’s illness, time off too.

Her employers did not ask for proof, relying on the integrity expected of her as a serving police officer. She was found out after two years in October 2011 but as yet we are not aware of how. The outcome was 18 months inside.

Also this week we hear of bride Danielle Howard, a PA at the FSA, who had, it is alleged, managed to get well-wishers and complete strangers to contribute £5,000 toward a wedding and £6,000 for specialist cancer treatment that was not available on the NHS. Although she has denied any wrongdoing, she was ‘outed’ as a result of an announcement on Twitter that she was now cured and pregnant. The outcome for her is uncertain but Essex police commented “a 22 year old woman has been bailed until August 6th while we continue with our inquiries”.

With these examples, we often ask what is it that makes normally sane and intelligent people embark on a journey of fantasy for reward? So it was with some sense of regret that we also noted this week that the FSA has fined Adrian Mosley a Yorkshire-based IFA £10,500 and prohibited him from holding a significant influence function or acting as a sole trader over a number of compliance failings.

The FSA found that Mr. Mosley made potentially misleading statements to customers about their rights, telling some of his customers that his services were ‘execution-only’ when they were clearly not and sought to exclude or restrict his duty of care to customers, encouraging them to sign a waiver declaring that they “could see no wrongful advice now or in the future”.

Nice try Adrian, IFAs are have a pretty testing time and although the great Satan’s incarnation on regulatory earth is seen as being the banks, it is clear that even after years of regulation there are still some IFAs determined to try and buck the system and behave very badly.

Although actions of this kind are thankfully rare, the fact that they still happen is of great concern when IFAs are trying to build public confidence in the adviser “brand”.

Bill Sillett, head of retail enforcement at the FSA, said: “In taking this action, we are protecting the public from an IFA who misled his customers and was neither competent, capable nor qualified.”

On this occasion praise is due to the FSA for doing what they should be doing rather than planning and carrying out and awful lot of what they should not.

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