FCA hits British market maker WH Ireland with £1.2 million fine for failing to address market abuse issues

British financial markets regulator, the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) has issued a £1.2 million fiscal penalty to wealth management firm WH Ireland, imposing sanctions on the firm’s corporate broking division which prevents it from onboarding new clients for 72 days. The FCA, which took this action relating to a period of time within WH Ireland’s operations between […]

London, Canary Wharf from Thames

British financial markets regulator, the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) has issued a £1.2 million fiscal penalty to wealth management firm WH Ireland, imposing sanctions on the firm’s corporate broking division which prevents it from onboarding new clients for 72 days.

The FCA, which took this action relating to a period of time within WH Ireland’s operations between January and June 2013, has stated that the company did not have the correct controls in place to prevent market abuse from taking place, or to ensure that it was detected internally.

A substantial £1.2 milion fine has been issued, and the company, which provides investment management for retail customers, as well as brokerage services which includes research, market making and fund raising capabilities to quoted small/mid-cap companies, which is the division of the company that is subject to a prevention of taking new clients for two and a half months.

Despite the shortcomings being highlighted by the FCA two years ago as a result of their discovery in 2013, FCA concluded that the company did not implement the required changes within the timeframe set by the regulator.

Making a public statement on the matter, FCA Director of Enforcement Mark Steward explained:

“We expect all firms to have the right controls in place to mitigate risks and protect their clients and the integrity of the markets.,In this case, WHI’s failings were aggravated by the failure to implement adequately the skilled person’s recommendations. It is one thing to be given a chance; for the chance not to be taken up is especially culpable.”

WH Ireland chief executive Richard Killingbeck also made a statement:

“As the FCA has noted we have made, and continue to make, wholesale changes to our management team and our systems and controls. We regret that we fell short of the FCA’s expectations but since the beginning of my tenure in early 2013, significant changes have been made at the company and new specific oversight functions have been created.”

As is commonplace when dealing with fines from the FCA, WH Ireland received a 20 per cent settlement discount on the original fine of £1.5m, and the restriction on new clients was reduced from 90 days to 72.

 

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