George Popescu has been banned from acting as a company director in the UK for 12 years for selling his firm, Boston Prime, without disclosing the sale and that ‘adjustments’ of $3.33million (about £2.5million) to clients’ trading accounts were disputed.
The demise of North American brokerage technology firm Boston Technologies and associated liquidity provider Boston Prime following the Swiss National Bank’s decision to remove the 1.20 peg on the EURCHF pair in January 2015 was one of the many high profile casualties of exposure to negative client balances.
Some companies weathered the storm and took their businesses back to full strength via excellent management that we have come to expect at the higher end of the FX industry these days, and unfortunately some were unable to meet the commitment to their own prime brokerages, and subsequently went west.
Boston Technologies and Boston Prime were a much vaunted case in point, largely because its founder, George Popescu, had garnered a reputation in the retail FX industry as being a very intelligent but highly flamboyant character.
His academic mettle was renowned, as was his blustery charisma and sheer nerve, which was regarded by many as the byproduct of his cognitive genius, and by others as, well, a downright cheek.
Mr Popescu, since founding Boston Technologies in 2007 had built the firm into a household name, and since its demise in February 2015, has joined the board of many new initiatives, in the fields of cryptocurrency, sports gaming, automation and, believe it or not, craft brewing.
Currently, some degree of litigation continues, as Mr Popescu was sole director of prime services for the firm.
This month, however, the British authorities demonstrated their dim view of Mr Popescu’s business ethic, putting an end to him acting in a senior capacity in the commercial world for a substantial period of time.
On August 4, the Insolvency Service announced that Mr Popescu had been banned from acting as a company director for 12 years. It said he had sold his firm, Boston Prime, without disclosing the sale and that ‘adjustments’ of $3.33million (about £2.5million) to clients’ trading accounts were disputed.
Meanwhile payments totalling $6.2million were made without explanation, much of the cash going to a company connected with Mr Popescu himself.
Yet according to the FCA register, Mr Popescu is still fully authorised as an investment boss without a stain on his character.
Mr Popescu has been recently operating a peer to peer lending firm in New York called Backed, which was operated from a co-working space at 212 Broadway in Midtown, and offered startups a chance to borrow from crowdfunded loan providers to advance their business at a time during which venture capital equity investors were staying shy of startups.
Earlier in 2016, Mr. Popescu founded a website which reports daily news, analysis and data for peer to peer (P2P) and marketplace lending executives.
Under the name Lending Times, Mr. Popescu adds a journalistic aspect to his existing interests in venture capital provision to startups, his activities having including an affiliation with no financial interest until earlier this year with LunaCap Ventures, which is a venture-debt investment company, as well as his firm Backed, which is an online marketplace aiming at lending capital to responsible young borrowers.
These interests may appear as good credentials alongside his illustrious history as a very well regarded academic, however being banned from operating a company in one of the world’s most important commercial jurisdictions for 12 years is a blot on Mr Popescu’s copybook that could prevent institutions accepting him as a board member across the corporate spectrum.
It is very hard to keep a true entrepreneur down, however. Mr Popescu owns Lampix, which is involved in ICO (Initial Coin Offering), giving investors access to the features of a particular project starting at a later date.