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Upper Tribunal backs FSA mortgage broker ban

FSA Letters 480

The Upper Tribunal has backed the FSA’s decision to ban a former mortgage broker from holding a senior industry position over inadequate controls to prevent mortgage fraud.

The FSA says it found a significant proportion of client files at Dorset-based mortgage broker General Finance Centre contained “blatant inconsistencies and discrepancies” in relation to income, occupation and other relevant information to clients’ mortgage applications.

GFC managing director Michael Thommes failed to pick up on these inconsistencies, and failed to oversee the conduct of the firm.

The FSA says Thommes also failed to monitor staff or ensure the firm’s charging structure was clearly explained to clients.

FSA head of retail enforcement Bill Sillett says: “While we did not find that Thommes personally committed mortgage fraud, his failure to put in place adequate controls meant his firm was used by others for this purpose.

“Thommes’ conduct was significantly below what we would expect from someone in his position, particularly since the failings were brought to his attention by the FSA and he did not take adequate steps to address them.”

GFC was placed in liquidation in November 2008 and was dissolved in February 2011.

The FSA banned GFC operations director Martin Lafrance in March.

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