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AXA UK fined for advice failures

AXA Wealth Services in the UK has been given a £1.8 million (A$3.07 million) fine after poor investment advice put customers of NAB-owned British banks at risk.

The UK Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) administered the fine after an investigation found the company had failed to prevent the provision of unsuitable advice.

A number of former customers of the NAB-owned Yorkshire and Clydesdale Banks will be compensated for losses, according to a statement from the FCA.

“AXA fell short of its responsibilities to its customers, many of whom were elderly, retired and financially inexperienced. Its failures resulted in an unacceptable risk of AXA selling products which were unsuitable for its customers,” FCA firector of enforcement and financial crime Tracey McDermott said.

“AXA’s failures were avoidable, coming despite repeated warnings from the FCA’s predecessor to the industry about investment advice.

“The FCA will continue to take tough action against firms who fail to comply with their responsibilities to ensure that consumers get a fair deal,” Ms McDermott said.

The investigation also found AXA had “failed to have effective control over the bonuses it paid to sales advisers” in contravention of the UK’s FOFA-like Retail Distribution Review (RDR) regulations.

AXA UK ceased its advice provision agreement with the Yorkshire and Clydesdale Banks in April.