Tribunal upholds FSA case against solicitor

Amanda Jarvis

April 5, 2006

The Tribunal stated that Mr Elliott’s history shows that “he is not able and willing to comply with requirements placed on him by professional rules and obligations” and that he was not open and honest in his dealings with regulators.

The Tribunal found that Mr Elliott “poses a risk to the protection of consumers and a risk to the reputation of the market” and it concluded that a Prohibition Order was necessary “in order to protect consumers from risk and … to maintain market

Mr Elliott is not authorised by the FSA, but he operates an unregulated mortgage investment scheme through his company FMD Trustees Plc. He obtains client referrals and introductions from authorised financial advisers who may be unaware of
his history.

Margaret Cole, Director of Enforcement at the FSA, said:
“It is important that regulated firms who are considering doing business with Mr Elliott are made aware of the risk he poses to consumers. We urge all members of the industry to consider carefully the Tribunal findings against Mr Elliott when considering introducing any client to his unregulated mortgage
investment scheme.”

In 2002, the Solicitors Disciplinary Tribunal (SDT) struck Mr Elliott off the Roll of Solicitors for misconduct primarily arising from his operation of a previous mortgage investment scheme. The SDT found that Mr Elliott had acted in a systematically dishonest manner, involving secret profit and fees, adding up to hundreds of thousands of pounds over a period of three years, which were not properly disclosed to clients. The SDT found that marketing information was misleading and Mr Elliott had neither assessed the suitability of the investment recommended for clients’
particular circumstances nor taken reasonable steps to ensure his investor clients understood the nature of the risks involved in his investment scheme.

This is the first FSA case in which the Tribunal has based its decision on the findings of another disciplinary tribunal. The case sets a precedent for the FSA which means that it may rely on the conclusions of other Courts and Tribunals when considering whether individuals are fit and proper to undertake regulated activities.

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