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Regulator takes tough stance on clients' money


A former chief executive at broker Berry Birch & Noble Insurance Brokers has been fined by the United Kingdom insurance regulator for failing to implement proper systems and controls regarding clients' money.

The disciplinary action sends a signal to all brokers in the U.K. that the regulator is serious in its efforts to crack down on the mixing of a broker's own money with that of its clients, according to a spokesperson for the Financial Services Authority.

Paul Harrison, former chief executive officer at BBNIB was fined £17,500 by the FSA. The regulator found that Mr. Harrison, for the period in which he was chief executive at BBNIB, failed in his responsibility to make sure that his firm complied with FSA's client money rules.

A spokesman for the FSA said that the action "sits with [the regulator's] strong emphasis on client money." He added that the regulator will fine brokers over breaches of client money rules, from the biggest commercial brokers, right down to the small high-street firms.

Margaret Cole, FSA director of enforcement, said: "Mr. Harrison was an Approved Person who failed to carry out his controlled functions, which included chief executive of his firm, with due skill, care and diligence. His failure meant that BBNIB did not provide adequate protection for its clients' money. The client money rules are designed to ensure that money belonging to customers is protected and those responsible for firms which hold client money should appreciate that they are responsible for ensuring that the rules are complied with."