FCA starts year with hefty crackdown on rule-breakers

Commenting on January statistics from the FCA, Mary Stevens, manager of regulatory analysis, Europe, at Wolters Kluwer, said: “In January the FCA flexed its muscles yet further by issuing four financial penalties all very much focused on the integrity of firms and individuals.”

In January, the FCA issued four fines, totalling £38,545,300. Companies fined included State Street and Standard Bank.

The fines were for breach of anti-money laundering rules, market abuse, transaction mark-ups and unauthorised sales. The biggest fine was for unauthorised sales, of £19,900, incurred by an investment adviser.

She added: “We saw financial crime figure heavily, with penalties issued for anti-money laundering failures and market abuse as well as unauthorised sales.

“The unauthorised sales penalty against an individual was, in fact, the first penalty issued under the new RDR requirements and sends a very strong message across the financial adviser sector showing that if an individual does not comply they will be punished heavily and banned from working within the industry again.”

From 1 April to 31 December 2013, fines totalled £33, 842,447. During that time, most breaches of the rules were for misleading information and mis-selling (11) and market abuse (6), while there were five fines for breaches of senior management arrangements, systems and controls.

Banks and insurance companies were the two worst offenders between April and December 2013, with banks accumulating 91 per cent of all fines.

Mel Kenny, principal of Radcliffe & Newlands in London, said: “The message from the FCA is loud and clear. If you are still not putting the customer first, then you will most certainly wish you had.”

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