FCA bans adviser for misappropriation of premiums

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The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) has fined and banned Ralph Whittington, of Savesure Limited, from any function related to regulated activity, after premiums paid by clients were misappropriated.

The FCA also withdrew his approvals to perform controlled functions at Savesure Limited, an intermediary firm of which he was a shareholder.

In January 2014 Whittington informed the FCA Savesure had ceased trading, in July 2014 the intermediary firm went into voluntary liquidation.

When Preston-based Savesure went into liquidation it owed £63,107 to insurers and underwriters for outstanding premiums.

Between March 2012 and December 2013, Whittington misappropriated premiums paid to Savesure, by transferring more money from Savesure's client premium bank account to its business account than Savesure was entitled to as commission.

During that period Savesure received £208,612 of client premiums, earned £43,716 in commission and transferred an additional £50,889 into its Business account.

Paying businesses expenses was the primary use of the misappropriated premiums, some were used to repay funds Whittington paid into Savesure from his personal finances, or funds raised through creditors.

The fine imposed of £42,111 was subject to a 30% discount as Whittington agreed to settle at an early stage of the FCA investigation.

In a Final Notice of the fine and ban, the FCA said: "Mr Whittington has explained to the Authority that Savesure identified how much it was due in commission by reviewing the statements provided by the insurers/underwriters.

"Nonetheless, Mr Whittington used the money from the Client Account to provide Savesure with additional funding when there was a need for money in the business and to repay funds he had injected into Savesure, with the knowledge that the sums of money transferred significantly exceeded the amount due to Savesure in commission and that neither he nor Savesure had any legal entitlement to that money."

The Final Notice added: "Mr Whittington has stated that this practice resulted in debts accumulating with insurers/underwriters and Mr Whittington had planned to repay those debts through third party investment or a sale of the business which he had been attempting to secure before Savesure ceased trading in January 2014."

Further reading:

Govt and FCA launch major review of financial advice market

‘Outraged' IFA petitions FCA for independent review of adviser regulation

AXA PPP welcomes CMA fine for Consultant Eye Surgeons Partnership

 

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