Target chief executive David Marriott dipped into clients' money, says watchdog

The FSA has imposed a lifetime ban on insurance broker David Marriott over his handling of clients’ money.

Announcing the ban, the FSA said the former chief executive of insurance intermediaries, Target Underwriting Ltd (Target) and Professional Insurance Select LTD (PISL) failed to segregate and protect money from clients’ insurance premiums.

The FSA said Target and PISL were run as one business under the control of Marriott who used the client money to support the day-to-day finances at both failing firms.

He also used client money to give himself and his staff bonuses and salary increases and to purchase a £27,500 car for a fellow director and a £35,000 car for himself. These payments were made against a background of worsening trading positions and business being lost by Target. His actions led to a client money deficit of £570,841 in the firms.

Under the FSA’s client money rules, firms are required to keep client money separate from the firm's money in segregated accounts with trust status. This helps to protect client money in the event of the firm's insolvency.

Marriott also provided false and misleading information to the FSA in his applications for authorisation in order to cover up his misuse of clients’ money. He stated that client money was safe and that a client money audit had been conducted at the firms, when he knew both statements were false.

On 9 August, the Court of Appeal refused Marriott permission to appeal against the FSA Tribunal’s decision to give him a lifetime ban. .

FSA director of enforcement and financial crime, Margaret Cole said: “Marriott acted with complete disregard for his clients by using their money for his own benefit when he knew his firms were failing. He flouted regulatory requirements and deliberately misled the FSA about his activities.”