Santander UK plc has been fined £12,377,800 by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) after the regulator uncovered serious failings in the way it offered financial advice from its bank.
The FCA found there was a significant risk of Santander UK giving unsuitable advice to its customers, its approach to considering investors’ risk appetites was inadequate and, for some people, it failed to check regularly that investments continued to meet their needs - despite promising to do so.“Customers trusted Santander to help them manage their money wisely, but it failed to live up to that responsibility,” FCA director of enforcement and financial crime Tracey McDermott said.
“If trust in financial services is going to be restored, which it must be, then customers need to be confident that those advising them understand, and are driven by, what they need. Santander let its customers down badly,” Ms McDermott said. In agreement with the FCA, Santander will now contact all affected customers and, for any sales that were sub-standard, redress will be paid where due. When the FCA first put its concerns to Santander UK in late 2012, the firm immediately decided to stop giving financial advice in branches to prevent further problems occurring. Santander UK agreed to settle at an early stage of the investigation so its fine was reduced by 30 per cent.
Were it not for this reduction, Santander UK would have been fined £17,682,730.
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