* FCA plans to fine investment firms, publicly censure two
* FCA plans to fine, ban five directors
* Directors appeal to Upper Tribunal
* 2,000 people put 76 mln stg in unsuitable products -FCA
By Kirstin Ridley
LONDON, May 9 (Reuters) - Britain’s financial regulator plans to fine and ban five investment company bosses, alleging their reckless behaviour prompted more than 2,000 people to invest 76 million pounds ($99 million) in risky and unsuitable pension products.
The Financial Conduct Authority said on Thursday it also planned to fine investment company Bank House Investment Management just under 312,000 pounds and publicly censure two other companies, Financial Page Ltd and Henderson Carter Associates, which are both now in liquidation.
Financial Page director Andrew Page and Thomas Ward, who the FCA called an unapproved “de facto” co-director, Henderson Carter director Aiden Henderson and Bank House bosses Robert Ward and Tristan Freer face fines of between 52,725 and 416,558 pounds, the FCA said.
The five company directors and Bank House are challenging the decision by appealing to the Upper Tribunal, which hears such disputes, the FCA added. The tribunal has the power to overturn FCA decisions or impose tougher penalties.
Lawyers for the directors and companies named by the FCA were not immediately available for comment.
The FCA said the companies outsourced functions to unauthorised third parties, leading to recommendations that clients switch and transfer pensions to high risk, illiquid and unsuitable products.
Around a thousands customers have so far received 26.8 million pounds from the Financial Services Compensation Scheme (FSCS), the British ‘s safety net and compensation fund of last resort for customers of regulated businesses.
The FSCS is investigating further claims. ($1 = 0.7696 pounds) (Reporting by Kirstin Ridley; Editing by Alexander Smith)