The new review will involve a series of interviews with key individuals from firms where it identified failings in the sale of these products, followed by potential further regulatory action.

"The failings may point to deficiencies in the management and control architecture of firms, so wealth management businesses can expect to see continuing and increasing supervisory focus," the FSA said in a statement.

The statement said the FSA would also be conducting a direct assessment of firms’ systems and controls.

In June 2011 the FSA wrote a letter to the CEOs of hundreds of firms offering wealth management services to retail clients, following a review of a sample of these firms.

The Dear CEO letter pointed out widespread failings which the FSA feared were endemic across and outside of the sample.

These perceived failings included a series of mis-selling and management errors, putting clients into inappropriate or high-risk investments.

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The regulator also handed down a series of heavy fines to these groups at the time.

The FSA has launched the new round of reviews as it is concerned that firms have failed to heed their warning since last year, continuing to mis-sell products and expose clients to high levels of risk.

In its 2012 Retail Conduct Risk Outlook, the FSA said that the current low interest rate environment was a strong incentive for firms to sell products that offer higher returns without adequately disclosing the risks.

In November last year, Coutts was fined £6.3m ($10.2m) for failing to provide adequate advice to clients about the risks associated with AIG Life bonds.


Source: Private Banker International