FCA week in review March 18 – 22, 2024

The regulator published its annual business plan, warned on debt collection, and sought information on pensions advice.


Convicted money-launderer and ex-solicitor Dale Robert Walker finally paid the outstanding £33,500 ($42,159) of a £716,719 ($901,980) confiscation order imposed in 2017 after being sentenced to 62 days in prison for failure to pay.

Walker was prosecuted in 2015 for helping to source land and then undertaking conveyancing, registration and consultancy services for plots of land being sold as part of an unauthorized collective investment scheme that ultimately defrauded consumers of over £4.25m ($5.35m).

A confiscation order to recover £887,000 ($1.12m) of criminal proceeds was issued against Walker in February 2017, later varied to £716,719 ($901,980) and he was told he faced three and a half years in prison if he failed to pay. In May 2023, he tried to argue he had no more assets with which to pay the outstanding amount at that time of £38,750 ($48,766).

Some further monies, but not the full amount, were paid by February 23, 2024, leading to the threat of a 62-day sentence. All monies were finally repaid by a family member on February 29, 2024.

Steve Smart, joint executive director of enforcement and market oversight, said: “We welcome the court’s decision to impose a further custodial sentence on Mr Walker sending a clear message that non-payment is a serious matter and that the courts will use all appropriate tools to enforce these orders. It’s clear that this did finally persuade Mr Walker to find the means to pay.”

After receiving a £5.96m ($7.50m) fine and industry ban in a cum-ex case, Nailesh Teraiya has referred his decision notice to the Upper Tribunal.

Any findings in the Decision Notice are therefore provisional and reflect the FCA’s belief as to what occurred and how it considers his behaviour should be characterised.

Four men have been charged with multiple counts of conspiracy to commit fraud by false representation. Bruce Rowan, David Simmons, Robert Sweeney and Justin Russell are alleged to have run an unauthorised investment scheme, which defrauded investors out of £3.9m ($4.91m).

The scheme was run through two companies, Hanover Merchant Capital UK Ltd and Liberty House Capital Ltd, and investors were told their money would fund water extraction and bottled water production.

An update on work relating to the administration of Philips Trust Corporation (PTC) was published. PTC went into administration in April 2022, affecting a significant number of consumers.

PTC was not regulated by the FCA, but the regulator had been asked if it could act against the building societies that introduced customers to PTC’s predecessor companies. The FCA has concluded that it can’t, and set out its reasoning in full.

Rules and consultations

The FCA linked with Ofgem, Ofwat and Ofcom to issue a strong warning on debt collection practices. This comes as growing numbers of people feel the strain of the cost-of-living crisis.

The joint letter set out expectations that firms should:

  • make sure customers in debt do not receive excessive communication;
  • use supportive language;
  • clearly signpost free debt advice;
  • make it easy for debt advisers to contact them on behalf of clients.

The FCA is to carry out a review of how firms treat customers in vulnerable circumstances. This forms part of the work to ensure compliance with Consumer Duty. Findings will be shared by the end of 2024.


A letter has been sent to chief executives of financial advice firms asking for a review of processes around retirement income advice. The FCA is concerned that some firms are not taking sufficient account of customer needs.

Sarah Pritchard, the FCA’s Executive Director of Markets and International, said: “Decisions for consumers approaching retirement are complex, with the potential for risk. We want to support a sector that can help consumers access pension benefits, invest with confidence and have a sustainable income when they retire.

“Some firms are getting this right and making a real difference to their customers. However, others are not even getting the basics right and putting their customers’ futures at risk. We urge all firms to take on board our findings and review their own processes. Where they do not, we will act.’”

Speeches and media

The regulator set out its business plan for the final year of its current three-year strategy. Details include plans to put a crypto market abuse scheme for the UK in place, following up on the implementation of Consumer Duty, and improving the use of data.

A brief statement on the FCA’s policy for appointing members to its panels was published.