Ex-UBS adviser banned and fined £150k

The Financial Services Authority (FSA) has banned and fined Jaspreet Singh Ahuja, a former UBS adviser, £150,000 “for failing to act with integrity” and for not being a “fit and proper person”.

Ahuja was judged to be in breach of the first principle of the regulator’s Statements of Principles and Code of Conduct for Approved Persons.

Ahuja, a former client adviser within the international wealth management business, used a pre-existing fund to enable an Indian resident to breach Indian law.

The customer invested more than $250m (£161m) in the fund between January 2006 and January 2008, which breached UBS guidelines.

The former adviser was said to have taken steps to conceal the “true nature” of the customer’s investment, “mainly by the deliberate and repeated provision of false and/or misleading information to the UBS Legal and Compliance department and other parts of UBS”.

Tracey McDermott, acting director of enforcement and financial crime at the FSA, says: “Ahuja’s failings were significant. He exploited his position of trust and repeatedly lied to his compliance department while helping a customer circumvent Indian law. This sort of behaviour has no place in the financial services industry.

“This substantial fine and the ban from working in the financial services industry are significant penalties and should serve as a reminder that such behaviour is woefully short of that expected of approved persons and will not be tolerated.”

In response, Jaspreet Ahuja says: “I accept today’s decision by the Financial Services Authority. I am relieved that the FSA recognises that, by my actions, I did not gain personally, or seek to gain, in any way. I am also relieved that none of my clients suffered any losses. Three years after the events at issue, I am encouraged to have the continued support of my clients, with whom I maintain close working relationships.

“The FSA has recognized that the relevant investment structure was utilized by UBS prior to my arrival at the bank. The culture at the bank encouraged its wealth managers to take steps to maximise profits for its clients.”

He adds: “I recognise that this culture affected my better judgment for a short period and over rode my responsibility to raise concerns. I sincerely regret that I failed to do so.

“I am also glad that the FSA confirms that I have no connection with the FX Trading Investigation initiated at the India Desk in UBS in 2008, and that none of the customers compensated by UBS in that connection were clients of mine.”

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