The City watchdog has banned a former back-office manager at Seymour Pierce from working in financial services after finding that he defrauded thike broker and its clients out of nearly £300,000 ($432,000).
The FSA said on Tuesday that John White, who the broker employed for nine years, exploited his senior position to cover up a series of embezzlements over four and a half years.
The former settlements manager stole about £152,000 in 37 separate transactions between 2001 and 2006 and also hid in a dormant account £145,000 money that had been paid to his employer in error, the Financial Services Authority said.
“He exposed weaknesses in the firm’s systems and used them to his advantage,” said Margaret Cole, the FSA’s director of enforcement and financial crime.
In one instance, Mr White transferred a personal trading loss into a Seymour Pierce account. In others, he stole dealing commission and credit interest belonging to his employer, the FSA added.
Seymour Pierce, which has already been fined £154,00 for failing to establish effective controls to prevent a employee fraud, said it had “significantly strengthened all compliance and back office functions” since the affair and has returned assets to the victims.
Simon Morris, partner at CMS Cameron McKenna, said the findings “should come as a wake up call for smaller firms to be alert”.
He added: “A large institution that has a full internal audit function and a financial crime division is by no means immune from fraud but is going to have less low level and casual fraud that a smaller firm. It is better set up to detect than a smaller institution with less sophisticated risk management controls.”
It was not within the remit of the FSA to fine Mr White because he was not a “approved person” – an individual who has regulatory significant role.
The FSA declined to say whether or not it had referred the matter to the police. The City of London Police said that Mr White was not under investigation.
Get alerts on Financial services when a new story is published