Mis-sale and COB(S)

7th November 2014

Now I’m really cross.

Not as cross as a dear former colleague of mine who, in front of a dealing room of over 400 people, having smashed his phone in rage on the edge of his desk and then stormed the full length of the dealing room, a full 60 yards, then tried exit out of the left hand door of the double doors, which was always the one that was locked tight. “What is wrong with you people?” he screamed before hurriedly making his way through the right-hand door. We were ready for him on his return; over 400 of us standing on our desks, clapping and shouting out “what is wrong with you?”

What has made me cross this morning is news that in yet another redress meeting the Review Director has purportedly said “it’s not about COBS”. If I had been there I would have brandished the excerpts I have taken from the FCA’s website and emails received by us here at QA Legal, one’s which incidentally I have had laminated, and then nailed them to the desk.

If it’s not about COB(S) what is it about? Rules were in place covering the sales of derivatives products to private customers and (post Nov 2007) retail clients. These rules covered the “regulatory requirements”. Let me dwell on that for just a while. “Regulatory requirements” that is, the required regulations; the regulations that were required to have been met. Where the bank admits a mis-sale, or a sale “which did not meet the standards required”, it means that there was a breach of the regulatory requirements. What other barometer can there be? That the sale that did not meet the requirements agreed with the FCA was a bit naughty? That the sale that didn’t meet the requirements agreed with the FCA was more than a little unfair? Damn it; a sale that did not meet the requirements agreed with the FCA didn’t meet them because it transgressed the rules, the rules that were in place to protect Private Customers/retail clients, the regulatory requirements that form the statutory duties. Duties; a duty to perform; perform, to stick to the rules

If a Review Director seriously looks you in the eye and says the review has nothing to do with COB(S) hand them the laminate, ask the independent reviewer to confirm that they heard that, ask the independent reviewer whether they agree, go outside to cool off, but make sure you exit through the correct door first.

Now I am really cross. What is wrong with these people.

That’s rhetorical by the way.

Simon Jaquiss