UK regulator rules sporting hospitality out of bounds

The FCA has powers to ban or fine individuals working in financial services and wants to ensure that advisers are not swayed by generous hospitality into recommending a particular company’s product to their clients.


The watchdog said hospitality events must improve knowledge about a product in order to give customers a better service. This was not always the case, it found.

“Individuals from firms had participated in or spectated at sporting or social events, for example golf, tennis, concerts,” the FCA said.

Such events were not conducive to business discussions or more productive talks could take place in other venues, the watchdog said.

The Wimbledon tennis championships and Britain’s Six Nations rugby tournament have long featured in corporate hospitality, although the FCA did not name any specific events.

“There were instances of sporting activities like playing golf or attending rugby games provided after participation in training events,” the FCA said.

“Evening dinners, which were not themselves designed to enhance the quality of service to clients, were also provided to local attendees after conferences.”

Regulators in Britain are trying to draw a line under several decades of mis-selling financial products such as pensions, mortgages and loan insurance.

New rules banning commission on sales of retail products and for managing conflicts of interest have already been introduced.

Sales staff are required to log all hospitality received but this was not done each time, the FCA said.

(Reporting by Huw Jones; Editing by Keith Weir)