Tuesday, 26 May 2015 00:00

FCA to fine former Keydata chief executive £75m

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The FCA has announced it intends to fine the former chief executive of Keydata £75m.

A decision notice on Stewart Ford was published this morning, along with two other senior managers, all of whom have referred the case to the Upper Tribunal.

Mark Owen, a former sales director and Peter Johnson, former compliance officer, face penalties of £4 million and £200,000 respectively.

The regulator will ban all three from performing any role in regulated financial services if the tribunal upholds the decision.

Mr Ford, Mr Johnson and Mr Owen applied unsuccessfully to the tribunal for an order preventing the FCA from publishing the notices.

The Tribunal may uphold, vary or cancel the FCA's decisions.

The FCA statement read: "In the FCA's opinion Mr Ford, Mr Owen and Mr Johnson failed to act with integrity and also misled the then Financial Services Authority on a number of occasions in relation to the performance of the investment products.

"The Decision Notices set out the FCA's view that the three individuals permitted Keydata to continue to sell the Lifemark-backed products to retail investors when the individuals were aware that it was highly likely the products did not comply with the ISA regulations, that the financial promotions were unclear, incorrect and misleading, that the due diligence on the products was inadequate and that there were problems with the performance of the portfolio ultimately underlying the products.

"Further, the Decision Notices set out the FCA's view that Mr Ford and trusts set up for the benefit of his family received some £72.4 million in fees and commissions on sales of the Lifemark products and that Mr Owen received commissions on sales of the Lifemark products in the amount of £2.5 million. In the FCA's opinion, Mr Owen's commissions were not properly disclosed, nor was Mr Ford's conflict arising from the payment of these fees and commissions adequately managed.


"In the view of the FCA, with regard to the SLS-backed products, Mr Ford deliberately concealed the problems with the portfolio underlying these products from investors, IFAs and the then FSA.

"It is the FCA's view that Mr Owen recklessly relied on assurances from Mr Ford that he would resolve the problems with the portfolio's performance and solvency and agreed to Keydata funding the income payments to investors (which should have been funded by payments from SLS to Keydata) from Keydata's own resources although he was aware this would conceal the portfolio's solvency problems."

FCA officials said the trio had made "false representations to the FCA in compelled interviews about the performance of the investment products, having failed to disclose to the FCA problems with the SLS portfolio which impacted on the SLS products' performance".

Mr Johnson "failed to ensure the FCA was aware of problems with the products and their financial promotions, identified by Keydata's professional advisers", the statement said.

It added: "Mr Ford and Mr Owen failed to disclose to the FCA the significant personal benefits and commissions they received from the sale of the Lifemark products, when they were aware of the FCA's concerns around their involvement in Lifemark and the commissions they received."

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