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Broker fined over independence claim

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Marsh L.L.C. knew about a regulatory investigation into Bluefin Insurance Services when it acquired the brokerage earlier this year and took action to improve its practices, the brokerage said.

On Wednesday, Britain’s Financial Conduct Authority announced that it had fined Bluefin $5.4 million for presenting itself as an independent broker when it was owned by insurer Axa U.K. P.L.C., a unit of Paris-based Axa S.A.

The regulator said Bluefin called itself “truly independent” in the advice it provided and the insurers it recommended to customers between March 2011 and Dec. 31, 2014.

“Bluefin’s independence was compromised by its culture which promoted business strategies, including a policy which focused on increasing the business placed with its parent company, over treating customers fairly,” the FCA said in a statement.

Marsh, which bought Bluefin earlier this year, said in its statement, “We were aware of the investigation into these practices in Bluefin when we acquired the business at the end of last year.

“After the transaction closed we reviewed and, where appropriate, improved Bluefin’s practices and policies to align them with our own high, client-centric standards. During this time, we have also worked with the FCA to ensure that this case was fully resolved.”