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FSA bans two more brokers

The FSA has banned North Wales mortgage broker Stephen Jones and fined him £100,000 after finding he had exposed about 1500 customers to the risk of receiving unsuitable advice.

The FSA has also fined junior partner Simon Poole, who ran the partnership’s office in Chester, £7,000 for exposing 750 clients to the risk of purchasing unsuitable mortgages.

Jones, senior partner of Jones & Poole Independent Mortgage Specialists, failed to control his business effectively or to make sure that it met regulatory requirements and did not treat customers fairly when recommending mortgage contracts.

The regulator also found that before a visit from FSA staff Jones arranged for customers to sign and back date retrospective fact find documents for completed sales. He also provided a lender with false income information to support his own mortgage application.

Poole was fined for failing to record whether he had assessed clients’ ability to afford a mortgage. He also failed to implement changes recommended by a compliance consultant.

The partnership operated in practice as two separate businesses with each partner responsible for his own clients, sales and compliance arrangements and with the two partners having only very limited contact with each other.

FSA head of retail enforcement Jonathan Phelan says: “Mr Jones and Mr Poole exposed more than 2000 of the partnership’s customers to the risk of receiving unsuitable advice and losing money. Mr Jones’s fraudulent mortgage application and his dishonesty in attempting to cover up regulatory failings were completely unacceptable warranting a ban and a large financial penalty. Mr Poole’s failings were of a lesser order and although they were deserving of a fine he has not been banned.

“It was in effect a dysfunctional partnership. It is important that partnerships which carry on regulated financial services business are organised so they can be controlled as a single business with clear lines of responsibility and accountability.”

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