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FCA fines and bans Chester broker

The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) has banned a Chester-based broker from undertaking any regulated activity.

David Wren, who served as the chief executive of Astbury Wren & Company, was also fined £70,000 after he was found to have taken £630,909 in premiums paid by his clients, which he used to cover the company’s business expenses.

Astbury Wren paid premiums it collected into a client account to pay for the firm’s expenses and overdraft.

Between March 2009 and February 2012 over £630,000 more was transferred than had been earned by Astbury Wren in commission, according to the FCA.

During the relevant period, Astbury Wren received £10.7 million of client premiums and earned £2 million in commission on those premiums received.

It then transferred £2.7 million from the trust accounts, which held the client money, to Astbury Wren’s office account.

Astbury Wren therefore transferred £630,909 more than it was entitled to transfer as commission to its own account.

Astbury Wren ceased trading on 20 February 2012, owing £1.4 million to insurers in unpaid premiums.

Three customers had to pay their premiums again, which £9,021, or face the cancellation of their policies.

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