The FSA has banned three mortgage brokers from working in regulated financial services and fined a fourth £17,500 for mortgage fraud and advice failings.
The three banned mortgage brokers are Jason Phillips, of Colne in Lancashire and a former partner of Lancaster House Mortgages, Ashok Sharma, of Ash Commercials in Uxbridge, and John Apicella, trading as Mortgages 4 You.
Noel Smith, director of Andrew Copeland Mortgages, has been fined £17,500 and had his FSA approval to perform management functions withdrawn.
Phillips was banned for submitting nine mortgage applications using false employment information and inflated salary figures
Sharma has been deemed to be not fit and proper to work in regulated financial services after failing to notice that two mortgage applications had obvious discrepancies in them which should have alerted him to the risk that the customers were using Ash Commercials to commit mortgage fraud.
He also provided mortgage advice when not qualified to do so and failed to comply FSA requirement to provide it with a report from a third party on the quality of the advice he gave to customers.
Newbury-based sole trader Apicella has been banned for lack of competency by leaving his business open to the risk of involvement in financial crime. The FSA found that Apicella failed to meet the minimum standards required of a mortgage broker by not always completing a fact find document for new customers or taking the time to research their attitude to risk.
In addition, Apicella did not carry out due diligence on a mortgage introducer from whom he subsequently accepted seven mortgage applications.
In Smith's case, the FSA decided his poor management controls and compliance monitoring led to 224 customers being exposed to the risk of receiving unsuitable advice and left the firm open to abuse by mortgage fraudsters.
Margaret Cole, the FSA's director of enforcement and financial crime, said:
"Mortgage fraud is a crime and we take any failings that put customers or lenders at risk of it very seriously. While the details are different from case to case, all of these individuals failed to demonstrate that they were fit and proper.
"A number of these cases came as a direct result of our Information From Lenders scheme which allows lenders to report suspected cases of fraud to the FSA. To date this has resulted in 700 alerts and numerous fines and bans, and has gone a long way towards making the mortgage market a safer place both for lenders and customers."
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