Financial penalty against Richard Jones

LONDON: The Financial Reporting Council (FRC) has imposed a Severe Reprimand and a financial penalty of £100,000 (reduced to £65,000 for mitigation and settlement), on Richard Jones, in respect of Misconduct relating to the actuarial advisory services he provided to the Coats Group plc (formerly known as Guinness Peat Group (GPG) during the period September 2005 to March 2012.

During this seven-year period, Mr Jones provided ongoing actuarial advice to GPG, whilst also advising individual GPG executives in their capacity as trustees of three defined pension schemes of subsidiary companies within GPG, despite the obvious conflicts of interest that arose. GPG’s approach, regarded purely financially, favoured minimising contributions to the Schemes in order to maximise the profits of the company.

Over the same period Mr Jones received information and documents that were confidential to the trustee bodies of the relevant pension schemes, despite the conflicts of interest noted above, and without ensuring that disclosure to him had been properly authorised.

Mr Jones conduct was contrary to the Impartiality and Compliance Principles of the Actuaries’ Code (formerly the Professional Conduct Standards).

The sanctions imposed take into account that Mr Jones’ conduct was not dishonest and that he did not benefit financially as a result. The FRC also took into account Mr Jones’ good disciplinary record, his contrition for the Misconduct and his full cooperation during the course of the investigation.

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