FCA bans former Worldspreads CEO from performing any roles linked to regulated activity

Maria Nikolova

The regulator publicly censured Conor Foley, the former Chief Executive Officer of Worldspreads, for market abuse.

The UK Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) has today published a Final Notice in respect of Conor Foley, the former Chief Executive Officer of Worldspreads, publicly censuring him for market abuse and banning him from performing any roles linked to regulated activity.

As FinanceFeeds has reported, the FCA published a Decision Notice in July 2020 that also imposed a financial penalty of £658,900 on Mr Foley. Mr Foley has subsequently provided evidence of his serious financial hardship. Accordingly the FCA has imposed a public censure in lieu of the financial penalty. Mr Foley has also withdrawn a reference to the Upper Tribunal seeking to review the FCA’s Decision Notice.

Mr Foley, the ex-CEO of WorldSpreads Limited (WSL), and its holding company WorldSpreads Group plc (WSG), was involved in drafting admission documentation ahead of WSG’s flotation on the Alternative Investment Market of the London Stock Exchange in August 2007.

These documents contained misleading information and omitted key information that investors would have needed to make an informed decision about the company. In particular, the documentation did not mention that some WSG executives had made significant loans to WSG and its subsidiaries. This was also never disclosed in the annual company accounts.

It also did not mention an internal hedging strategy by which certain of WSG’s subsidiaries hedged considerable trading exposures internally with company executives. This was not disclosed in the annual accounts until at least 2009.

Between January 2010 and March 2012, large spread bets were placed on the shares of WSG on the trading accounts of WSL clients on terms which made statements in WSG’s Annual Accounts as to its credit policy false and misleading. In addition, large spread bets were carried out on two clients’ accounts by Mr Foley himself without the knowledge of the clients and this had the effect of giving the appearance of greater demand for WSG shares than in fact existed.

Mr Foley is the third and last executive of WSL against whom the FCA has taken action following its collapse in March 2012.

The FCA fined and banned WSL’s CFO, Niall O’Kelly, and its Financial Controller, Lukhvir Thind, in April 2017 for falsifying critical financial information concerning WSL’s client liabilities and its cash position, which was passed to the company’s auditors. By 31 March 2011, these misstatements amounted to £15.9 million. WSL was unable to meet this client money liability which ultimately led to its collapse.

Read this next

Retail FX

Italian watchdog red flags Olympus Brokers, UnicoFX and Allfina Group

Italy’s Commissione Nazionale per le Società e la Borsa (CONSOB) has shut down new websites in an ongoing clampdown against firms it accuses of illegally promoting investment products in the country.

Retail FX

XTB revenues hits zł1.45 billion in 2022, Q4 earnings disappoint

Poland-based Forex and CFDs broker, XTB has reported its final results for Q4 of 2022 and the full fiscal year ending on December 31, 2022, showing one of its most successful corporate years.

Executive Moves

Lirunex Limited recruits Waleed Salah as head of MENA sales

Maldives-based brokerage firm Lirunex Limited has secured the services of Waleed Salah, who joined the company in the role of its head of sales for the MENA region.

Executive Moves

Trading 212 parts ways with co-founder Borislav Nedialkov

Trading 212 has a void to fill at its FCA-regulated business in London, following the departure of two key players, Raj Somal and Borislav Nedialkov.

Digital Assets

Binance acquires troubled crypto exchange GOPAX

Binance, the world’s largest digital asset trading platform, has reportedly acquired a majority stake in the troubled South Korea-based cryptocurrency exchange GOPAX.

Digital Assets

Kraken exits Middle East, closes UAE office

Digital currency exchange Kraken will close down its operations in Abu Dhabi, UAE and lay off the majority of its team focused on the Middle East and North Africa.

Industry News

CFTC comments on ION Cleared Derivatives issues after Russian-linked hack

“The ongoing issue is impacting some clearing members’ ability to provide the CFTC with timely and accurate data. As this incident unfolded, it became clear that the submission of data that is required by registrants will be delayed until the trading issues are resolved.”

Industry News

FCA took down 14 times more misleading ads in 2022 thanks to technology

The FCA has made significant improvements to the digital tools it uses to find problem firms and misleading adverts. These improvements have enabled it to work through a much larger number of cases compared with 2021.

Executive Moves

HKEX appoints ex-Goldman Sachs Matthew Cheong to lead platform’s focus on derivatives

“He has worked for a number of the world’s leading investment banks and his experience will be invaluable to HKEX as we continue to enhance our derivatives product offerings and build on our innovative and robust platform business, connecting capital with opportunities.”

<