Swinton execs fined and banned by FCA
The trio were fined £928,000 following an earlier ruling that saw Swinton Group fined £7.4m after it adopted an aggressive sales strategy that resulted in mis-sales of monthly add-on insurance policies.
Peter Halpin (former chief executive) is also banned from acting as chief executive of a financial services firm, while Anthony Clare (former finance director) and Nicholas Bowyer (former marketing director) are banned from performing significant influence functions at financial services firms.
Tracey McDermott, director of enforcement and financial crime at the FCA, said: “A culture was allowed to develop within Swinton that pushed for high sales and increased profit without regard to the impact on the firm’s customers.
“We expect firms to put customers at the heart of their business. These three directors should have recognised the risk to customers and redressed the balance so that the drive to maximise profits did not jeopardise the fair treatment of customers.
“Those with significant influence within firms are responsible for setting the tone and the culture; they set the example that others will follow.
“Today’s enforcement action should serve as a timely reminder to those at the very top of firms that the FCA is determined to hold individuals to account where they fall short of the standard we require.”
The FCA found that a sales-focused culture in Swinton was encouraged by Clare and Bowyer driving a business strategy that was designed to boost the firm’s profits in 2011.
The three former directors did not recognise the risk of this culture developing or take reasonable steps to prevent it.
Swinton’s participating directors (including these three directors) stood to gain a bonus of approximately £90m under the directors share scheme if operating profits reached £110m in 2011.
All three former directors settled at an early stage of the FCA’s investigation and therefore qualified for a 30% discount on their fines.