The FSA has banned sole trader Joseph Masi, trading as Select Mortgage Services, for breaching a settlement agreement with the regulator and providing false and misleading information to it.
Following an FSA investigation into the systems and controls at Masi's firm, and the suitability of the advice it provided to customers, Masi signed a settlement agreement which required him to obtain sign-off from an external compliance consultant for all mortgage sales for a period of six months from 3 September 2007.
During a visit to the firm in March 2009, as part of the FSA assessment programme for small firms, Masi provided records that stated only one regulated mortgage application had completed in that six month period, and without following the agreed external sign-off process.
After obtaining further information from mortgage lenders, the FSA discovered 18 regulated mortgage applications which were submitted by Masi's firm had in fact completed during the period, and at least 48 had been submitted.
There is no evidence any of these applications were approved by an external compliance consultant.
The FSA concluded that Masi acted without honesty and integrity, demonstrating he is not a fit and proper person, and has therefore banned him from working in the financial services industry because he presents a risk to consumers.
Margaret Cole, director of enforcement and financial crime at the FSA, said: "Masi not only breached his agreement with the FSA, but also failed to be truthful with the FSA by deliberately providing false information in an attempt to cover up the breach.
"This raised a number of serious questions as to his integrity and the risk he poses to customers. The FSA relies on the firms which it regulates being open and co-operative, and providing accurate information.
Where we find that is not the case, as with Masi, we will take appropriate action. The decision by the FSA to ban Masi serves as a warning to individuals who try to mislead the FSA or who fail to comply with our rules."
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