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FSA bans partner of Sipp firm embroiled in fraud claims

FSA bans partner of Sipp firm embroiled in fraud claims

The Financial Services Authority (FSA) has publicly censured and banned Michele King, a partner at Sipp firm HD Administrators.

The regulator said King failed to discharge her responsibilities as an approved person through her lack of understanding the nature of HD Administrators' business and its regulatory responsibilities. 

It said she did not keep herself involved in, or informed about, the management decisions at the firm.

King became a partner at Sipp operator HD Administrators in August 2008. She had previously been employed as an accounts administrator and, before becoming a partner at HD Administrators, had performed some minor administrative tasks at the firm.

In March this year the FSA took action to stop HD Administrators from operating, and prevented the firm from paying out any funds, on the grounds directors King and Kathryn Clark did not appear to be fit and proper.

The regulator’s move followed the arrest of Clark on suspicion of fraud by false representation and money laundering in relation to an unauthorised investment firm called Arck where she was one of two managing members.

The other managing member, Richard Clay was also arrested.

Today the FSA said its case against King was part of a wider investigation into the events at HD Administrators which led to its winding up in June 2012

HD Administrators operated the HD Sipp scheme which comprised approximately 420 members. HD Administrators was wound up on 14 June 2012. 

HD Administrators is now in the hands of an official receiver in Manchester.

The FSA said King would have been fined £20,000 were it not for evidence that the penalty would have caused her serious financial hardship.

Bill Sillett, the FSA’s head of retail enforcement, said: ‘While we have not imposed a fine because it would place her into serious financial hardship, Michele King should be under no illusion about the seriousness of her wrongdoing.

‘What we have found shows that King was totally out of her depth in her role as partner at HD Administrators and failed to take her responsibilities seriously. Further, her lack of involvement in the decision making at HD Administrators meant she was a bystander while events at the operator got out of hand.’

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