Jon Frensham, formerly known as Jonathan James Hunt, was convicted of the offence in March 2017 and was sentenced to 22 months in prison, suspended for 18 months. He changed his name after the conviction and changed the name of his company to Frensham Wealth.
The FCA wanted to ban Frensham from working in financial services because the watchdog said he “lacked integrity”.
The disgraced adviser, who specialised in investment, mortgage, insurance and pension advice, was convicted for travelling to meet a girl he believed to be 15 years old after setting up a profile on a free website and sending her graphic messages. Although the website was for the use of people aged 18 and over, the girl told him she was 15 years old in her message.
He travelled two hours to her home but was met by an adult woman who had tricked him into arranging the date who then called the police resulting in his arrest. Frensham was already on bail under investigation for similar offence which he had not been charged for. According to the Evening Standard, the woman was part of an anti-paedophile vigilante group.
A decision notice about the ban was issued by the FCA to Frensham in March which he challenged in the Upper Tribunal.
Frensham argued that the FCA had wrongly applied the fitness and properness test to the facts of his conviction. He told the tribunal the FCA had let irrelevant considerations affect its decision such as the fact that he did not commit the offence at work, his conviction was not related to work as a financial adviser, and his job was not likely to bring him into contact with children. He also said his conviction was not for an offence of dishonesty.
The tribunal unanimously dismissed the appeal on 31 August and the FCA has enforced its ban.
The watchdog said Frensham had failed in his obligation to be open and transparent with the FCA by not informing them of his arrest, being remanded in custody in respect of the offence which led to his conviction, and his failure to inform the FCA of the decision by the Chartered Insurance Institute (CII) not to renew his Statement of Professional Standing and to expel him from membership.
In a statement the FCA said: “Given all of these circumstances, including his conviction for a serious offence, albeit one not connected to financial dishonesty, the FCA considers that Mr Frensham is not a fit and proper person to perform any function in relation to any regulated activity carried on by any authorised or exempt persons or exempt professional persons because he lacks integrity and good reputation.”