The FSA says Heaney, who is a sole trader based in Northern Ireland, lacks integrity and is not competent to run an authorised firm.
The regulator found that Heaney entrusted the running of his business to an inexperienced employee and did not ensure that his advisers received adequate training and support.
The regulator says Heaney’s customers were exposed to the risk of entering into mortgage contracts which were unsuitable for them because advisers were unclear about the sales process, they were not properly supervised and their work was not properly monitored.
The FSA also saw evidence that some customers may have used the business to submit mortgage applications containing false or misleading information.
In its final notice the FSA says: “There was no formal gathering of management information at your business, which might otherwise have enabled you to review patterns of business and to identify anomalies and risks.
“You therefore had no formal means of reviewing whether your business complied with regulatory requirements, such as the requirement to treat customers fairly, the requirement to take reasonable care to ensure the suitability of mortgage advice, and the requirement to take reasonable care to establish and maintain effective systems and controls for countering the risk of your business being used to further financial crime.”
Heaney failed to take remedial action identified by two compliance consultants as well as the FSA and he did not have a complaint handling procedure in place.
He was made bankrupt on January 15, 2009.
FSA director of enforcement and financial crime Margaret Cole says: “This is a blatant example of a business man taking insufficient interest in the conduct of business written in his name and ignoring repeated warnings about its deficiencies. Put simply, Heaney failed to treat his customers fairly and we are holding him to account for it.
“This case also highlights the effectiveness of our small firms’ assessment programme where we engage with responsible small firms operating in the UK retail markets who recognise that they have obligations to their retail customers. But, to continue helping consumers, we must also continue to deal robustly with the firms and individuals who do not engage with us to ensure the fair treatment of their customers.”