FSA bans Bolton broker

Nia Williams

January 20, 2010

Ahmad has been fined £5,000 and prohibited from working in regulated financial services for failing to act with competence and capability, which included failing to have suitable compliance and risk management processes in place at Finance.com.

Ahmad’s failings and the problems at Finance.com were initially picked up by an FSA team conducting an assessment focused on treating customers fairly as part of the FSA’s assessment programme for small firms.

The FSA’s investigation found that Ahmad was unable to demonstrate he had the competence required to be an approved person. Specifically he failed to:

• understand the responsibilities associated with running a regulated mortgage business;

• put in place adequate supervision arrangements, effectively leaving a mortgage adviser to run the business despite not holding any controlled functions;

• ensure that compliance failings were addressed by liaising with Finance.com’s compliance consultants;

• monitor the suitability of mortgage advice provided by Finance.com’s staff; and

• put in place adequate risk management systems to prevent Finance.com being used to further financial crime.

As a result of these failings, customers were put at risk of receiving unsuitable mortgage advice and mortgage applications were submitted to lenders containing inaccurate and misleading information.

Margaret Cole, director of enforcement and financial crime at the FSA said: “Ahmad failed to meet the minimum standards we require of an approved person; because of this we have concluded that he is not fit and proper to run a regulated firm.

“This action confirms our ongoing commitment to ensuring that customers are treated fairly and firms have the necessary procedures in place to make sure they are not open to being used for financial crime.

“When firms fall short of these requirements, we will not hesitate to take action and the worst offenders will be punished severely.”

Had it not been for Ahmad’s financial hardship, the FSA would have sought a fine of £17,000. As Ahmad is the sole director and only approved person at Finance.com, his ban means the firm is unable to continue trading. Finance.com and Ahmad became authorised and regulated by the FSA in August 2005.

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