The Financial Services Authority (FSA) has fined and banned former Royal Liver Assurance (RLA) finance director George McGregor £109,000 for entering into investment contracts without authorisation and for the benefit of a former employee.
The fine was reduced from £1m because it would have caused “serious financial hardship” and banned him from performing any regulated activity in the financial services industry.
According to the FSA, between May and November 2009 McGregor entered into companies controlled by a former Royal Liver Assurance employee.
“McGregor was negotiating the former employee’s bonus but thought that the amount he had agreed with the individual would not be approved by RLA’s board,” according to the FSA. “McGregor therefore sought to conceal the level of bonus by entering into the two contracts to pay substantial sums to the former employee’s companies.”
The regulator says McGregor abused his position and withheld information from the company and “circumvented systems and controls for approving contracts which he himself had been instrumental in implementing”.
The FSA reports that McGregor had falsified the signature of the firm’s chief executive to process monies relating to the contract, adding: “This resulted in RLA paying at least £3.6m to the two companies and incurring a possible contractual liability of up to £18m.” (article continues below)
Tracey McDermott, acting director of enforcement and financial crime at the FSA, says: “McGregor abused his position of responsibility and engaged in a dishonest, deliberate and sustained course of misconduct.
“McGregor failed to act with integrity and is not a fit and proper person to work in the financial services industry.”
She adds: “Those who take on the responsibility of being an approved person should be in no doubt about our commitment to take the strongest action to tackle behaviour which falls below the high standards we expect.”
McGregor qualified for a 30% discount on the financial penalty after co-operating with the FSA and agreeing to settle at an early stage.