The U.K. Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) issued a fine of 31,800 pounds (U.S. $40,000) against a former director at London Capital & Finance (LCF) for allegedly approving misleading promotions that led to investor deception.
Floris Jakobus Huisamen, who oversaw risk and compliance at the now-insolvent credit broker, will also be banned from serving in the financial services industry, the FCA announced in a press release Tuesday.
Huisamen received a 30 percent discount for agreeing to settle the case, the regulator noted. In October, LCF was censured by the FCA over the misleading promotions it used to market minibonds to investors. Huisamen allegedly approved the promotions.
The details: From February 2017 to December 2018, Huisamen negligently approved promotions without due scrutiny or challenge to senior management, the FCA claimed in its final notice.
In September 2017, Huisamen made inquiries about the asset ownership of certain corporate borrowers, noting in an email he had not seen evidence companies LCF was lending to owned any assets.
In two compliance reports he authored in 2018, Huisamen detailed the concerns he raised in his email but continued to sign off on at least 11 LCF financial promotions that included false information about assets of corporate borrowers, per the final notice.
“Mr. Huisamen should have ensured LCF’s financial promotions were ‘fair, clear, and not misleading,’” said Therese Chambers, joint executive director of enforcement and market oversight at the FCA, in the release. “However, under him, the approval process became an ineffective tick-box exercise. [A]s a result, thousands of investors were persuaded to invest on the basis of highly misleading statements.”
Compliance considerations: The FCA said it notified Huisamen on five occasions the LCF website was not in compliance with financial promotion rules, specifically the regulator’s Conduct of Business Sourcebook, which requires minibonds to be authorized by the FCA.
Huisamen responded to the FCA’s concerns by stating the improper authorization status would be amended or removed. Despite these claims, Huisamen repeatedly permitted misleading use of authorization status, per the notice.