Financial Conduct Authority regulations say financial service advisers could be breaching hospitality rules. The warning relates to receiving free invitations to sports events or social dinners.
FCA UK: The Financial Conduct Authority is a United Kingdom watchdog.
They operate from their agency headquarters in the main business district of London at Canary Wharf.
The FCA regulates more than 56,000 firms in the United Kingdom. There is one principal aim of the Financial Conduct Authority.
They ensure UK financial markets work 'efficiently' and provide their consumers with a fair deal.
FCA have powers to assess and consider whether these business operations meet adequate prudential standards for industry. The organisation protects the consumers they serve by safeguarding that:
People working in the financial service sector must avoid breaching FCA hospitality rules. Otherwise, the Financial Conduct Authority can ban or fine the individuals.
Their powers also help them ensure the intentions of unethical financial services advisers. They should not get swayed into recommending a particular product to their clients. A company's over generous hospitality must not over rule impartiality.
Note: An overhaul of tipping practices (e.g. receiving a fair day's pay for a fair day's work) looks set to ensure all tips to go to staff - enhancing the rights of some two million workers in Great Britain and Northern Ireland.
The watchdog made some suggestions about giving customers a better service. They said all hospitality events must improve their understanding and knowledge about a product. Upon further investigation the FCA commented that this was not always the case.
They also went on to make a case about some corporate individuals. It appears they had participated in sporting events, concerts, and social gatherings.
It was not uncommon for finance advisers and representatives to receive offers of 'special incentives'. They got free spectator invitations to top sporting events such as tennis, rugby, and golf.
Reiterating the FCA hospitality rules, the financial services watchdog gave out a warning. Accepting free invitations to events of this nature are not conducive to conducting proper and ethical business discussions.
The major concern was the venue chosen for productivity meetings and business dealings. They pointed out that there are more appropriate venues than corporate hospitality rooms.
The FCA did not mention any specific competitions. But, the 6 Nations Rugby tournament and Wimbledon Tennis Championship both featured. These competitions have been well known for many years in corporate hospitality services.
"The instances relate to sporting activities like playing golf or attending rugby games. They provided after participation in training events. Evening dinners were not themselves designed to enhance the quality of service to clients. They were also provided to local attendees after conferences."
The financial regulators blamed the root cause of the problem on many years of miss-selling financial products. They particularly highlighted mortgages, pensions, and loan insurance.
As a result, the FCA have already introduced some significant and supplemental rules. The new hospitality regulations aim to counteract the miss-representation and conflicts of interest.
The new measures include banning commission on sales of retail products. There is now a requirement for sales staff to log all hospitality invitations received and accepted.
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FCA Hospitality Regulations on Invitations to Sporting Events