Wealth manager sentenced for fraud drops FCA appeal

Added 14th July 2017

A wealth management firm has withdrawn its appeal against an FCA decision to cancel its permissions after its founder was found guilty of insurance fraud last year.

Wealth manager sentenced for fraud drops FCA appeal

Milton Keynes-based KWS Wealth Management had appealed its case to a tribunal after the regulator said it no longer considered it a “fit and proper person” and withdrew the firm’s permissions in April 2016.

The FCA’s decision came after the firm’s sole director Keith William Smith was handed a suspended 12-month prison sentence in October 2015 for failing to reveal his wife had been diagnosed with cancer while applying for a £200,000 life insurance policy.

The regulator said: “The authority has concluded, on the basis of the facts and matters and conclusions described in the warning notice and the decision notice, that KWS is failing to satisfy the suitability threshold condition due to its connection with Mr Smith, the sole director, sole shareholder (of shares with voting rights) and sole approved person at KWS.”

In its own representation to the FCA against the decision, KWS said Smith had never had any complaints against him during a long 25-year career.

It said his actions were the result of the "extreme, personal circumstances in which he found himself” and completely out of character.

“Mr Smith has previously always adhered to the standards of probity expected of an authorised person,” it added.

The FCA stood by its original notice but acknowledged Smith's actions “took place against the background of very tragic circumstances”.

“However, Mr Smith was convicted of a dishonesty offence and the Judge found that Mr Smith abused his position and his knowledge of the financial services industry by perpetrating the fraud,” the regulator said in a decision notice.

The KWS website reveals that Smith began his career in 1991 and held positions with HSBC, AXA, Legal and General and RBS before he established KWS Wealth Management in 2013.

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Louise Hill

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Louise joined Portfolio Adviser in December 2016 as one of the editorial team’s news reporters based in London. Originally from Liverpool, she is an NCTJ-qualified journalist and began her career in 2014 working on local newspapers.

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