Regulator hands out fine and bans to directors

The Financial Services Authority (FSA) has today taken action against two insurance brokers - Delwyn Way of Shield Insurance Consultancy and Adrian Shillaker of Griffiths McAlister Insurance Brokers - for "failing to adequately protect client’s money and assets".

Shield director, Way, has been fined £77,957 and banned from working in financial services for putting clients at risk by failing to ensure their insurance premiums were passed onto insurers.

The fine covers the estimated amount of client money and assets that Way embezzled from Shield’s client money account to fund business and personal expenses.

Griffiths McAlister’s director, Shillaker, has been banned from working in financial services with immediate effect for knowingly transferring client money to the firm's business account to fund its business expenses.

Shillaker also failed to ensure the client money was managed in accordance with the FSA’s Client Money rules including failing to segregate client money from other funds.

The FSA said Shillaker’s failings left customers at risk of losing their money and the regulator has also cancelled the firm's permission.

A financial penalty has not been imposed on Shillaker as he provided evidence this would cause him serious financial hardship. Shillaker has taken steps to ensure that monies owed to customers have been repaid.

The regulator said both cases demonstrate a lack of integrity and honesty on the part of both directors in that they both failed to take responsibility to protect client’s money and assets in compliance with the Client Assets Sourcebook (CASS) rules.

Margaret Cole, FSA director of enforcement and financial crime, said: “It is essential that customers have confidence their money and assets are safe and that firms holding their money have strong management oversight and control over their business. It is simply unacceptable that these two individuals have failed to ensure their clients have the appropriate protection in place and as a result we have taken firm action."

She added: “Firms must take their responsibilities to protect client’s money and assets very seriously and we have clearly set out our expectations in this area. In particular, firms must not mis-use client money, they must keep it separate from all other funds in an appropriate trust account, and client money must not be rendered vulnerable to loss or reduction.”