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Client conflict costs Martin Currie £9m

The FSA has fined Martin Currie Investment Management and Martin Currie Inc £3.5m for failing to manage a conflict of interest between two of its clients.

The firm has also been fined £5.15m by the Securities and Exchanges Commission in the US, bringing the total fine to £8.65m. The conflict of interest arose when Martin Currie caused one client to enter into an ill-advised transaction which rescued another client from serious liquidity concerns.

The FSA says the firm’s misconduct breached its principles on skill, care and diligence, management and control and conflicts of interest.

FSA acting director of enforcement and financial crime Tracey McDermott says: “Effective identification and management of potential conflicts of interest between clients is a core requirement. This transaction gave rise to an obvious risk of a conflict which Martin Currie was slow to identify and then failed to manage adequately.”

Martin Currie chief executive Willie Watt says: “The issue relates to three unlisted investments that originated back in 2007 in a specialist part of our business. We compensated the affected client and returned all related fees earned. Following our comprehensive review, significant improvements have been made to our business.”

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