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Release Date: 29th October 2014

To access the original FCA document, click here.


Sesame Ltd, the UK’s largest network of financial advisers, has been fined £1,598,000 by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) for engaging in ‘pay-to-play’ arrangements that contravened the Retail Distribution Review (RDR) regulations. These regulations, implemented in December 2012, prohibit commission payments to advisers in an effort to ensure unbiased financial advice based on the quality and suitability of investment products, rather than on the commission those products generate.

The FCA found that Sesame compromised the integrity of these regulations by operating a scheme where the inclusion of products on its restricted advice panels was influenced by the amount of money providers were willing to pay for additional services from the Sesame Group. This practice led to a conflict of interest between Sesame’s commercial benefits and the interests of its clients, with some providers being told they would need to increase their payments significantly to secure a place on the panels.

The key issues identified were:

Key Takeaways for Other Firms:

Sesame settled the case early, qualifying for a 30% discount, otherwise, the fine would have been £2,282,902. This case marks the fourth occasion the FCA has fined Sesame, underscoring the necessity for ongoing vigilance and improvement in compliance practices within the firm.

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