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FCA bans and fines mortgage broker £63k for advising without PII

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The FCA has banned and fined a sole trader £63,000 for arranging mortgages without professional indemnity insurance and after his regulatory permissions had been removed.

Between May 2010 and August 2011 Essex-based sole trader Christopher Riches arranged at least 97 mortgages without holding PI cover, earning around £40,000 in fees.

The FSA first discovered Riches did not have PI cover in December 2009, and in January 2010 Riches agreed to stop performing regulated activities and had his regulatory permission removed.

FCA head of retail enforcement Bill Sillett says: “This case highlights the importance of being honest with the regulator.

“Because of Riches’ lack of honesty and integrity, and the inherent risk he poses to consumers and confidence in the financial system, we are banning him from performing any regulated activity.”

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Comments

There are 7 comments at the moment, we would love to hear your opinion too.

  1. Am I missing something here?

    The FCA bans somebody from doing something he already knew he was not allowed to do but was doing anyway.

    The FCA says he had no PI cover but in reality, if he is not trading any PI cover he did have would lapse anyway.

    The FCA has told him to pay it £63,000. That might work but given his track record for compying with what its predecessor told him what to do it may not prove to have been the most prudent investment of time and money.

  2. So a sole trader receives the following:
    Income 40k
    Fine 63k

    I do not condone the individuals conduct but can we look forward to the banks receiving fines based on a similar ratio for their failures?

  3. Whilst absolutely not condoning this bloke’s actions, the fine seems very odd indeed.

    Compare this to the most recent fine on Lloyds Bank. £4.3 million for failure to pay PII compensation promptly. Lloyd’s turnover? To 31 December 2012 – £38,906 million. Therefore the fine equates to 0.01%.

    What is the level of risk a sole trader poses to the market as a whole compared to a bank? How many complaints did this chap receive as a result of his unauthorised activities?

    Come on Mr Regulator, where is your transparency and openness you so heralded when you took over form the last lot of deadbeats?

  4. @ Harry
    a sole trader cannot offer an ex regulator £500,000 job

  5. @ Anon 4.38

    How very true!

  6. If he was not authorised what were the lenders doing by agreeing mortgages for him.

    Do they not have to check the FSA/FCA register when each case is submitted by an authorised mortgage broker, or am I missing something.

  7. I may be in the minority here but I look forward to seeing further fines been handed out to individuals who continue to give regulated financial advice while not holding authorisation.

    I also hope that the FCA extend any fines to websites, journalists and dare I say it other professional bodies like accountants and solicitors who offer financial regulated advice with out proper authorisation or listing on exemption register.

    The fact is the individual knew totally what he was doing and although the fine may seem disproportionate hopefully it will act as a warning to others who seek to profiteer from financial services without holding authorisation.

    After all we all pay for these individuals!

    I’d encourage the FCA to look at the journalistic exemption within the Financial Servicing Marking 2000 & 2012 as it seems to me that many individuals are using this exemption to operate websites as commercial businesses rather than journalistic operations.

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