FSA bans Essex mortgage broker

Nia Williams

November 30, 2009

The permission of Antoinette Davis, trading as Ability Mortgage Solutions, has also been cancelled.

Davis had previously been an adviser at another firm but, when its proprietor was made bankrupt, agreed to set up Ability Mortgage Solutions and act as a sole trader and continue servicing her previous employer’s client base.

The FSA concluded that Davis failed to:

* establish appropriate systems and controls;

* take reasonable care to ensure suitable advice is given;

* understand the standards the FSA requires of authorised persons; and

* prove that she was providing sound mortgage recommendations.

Davis employed a compliance consultant but when it identified areas of serious concern, Davis failed to act on its recommendations promptly.

The FSA also found that Davis failed to ensure sufficient information was obtained from customers before recommending a product opening up the possibility that customers were offered unsuitable advice or even sold inappropriate mortgages.

Davis acknowledged that the letters sent to customers documenting why a mortgage recommendation was suitable were generic and not tailored to the specific needs of the individual.

Tom Spender, FSA head of retail enforcement, said: “Being an authorised person requires a responsible and competent approach. Davis lacked both of these qualities which is why we have banned her and cancelled her authorised status.

“By failing to put suitable systems and controls in place, such as effective compliance monitoring and staff training, Davis demonstrated a lack of competence and capability, proving that she is not fit to perform a role of significant influence at an authorised firm.”

Davis traded as Ability Mortgage Solutions and was authorised by the FSA to sell regulated mortgage contracts; Ability Mortgage Solutions is based in Westcliff-on-Sea in Essex.

The FSA has banned over 70 mortgage brokers in the last three years.

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