The former chief executive of Gracechurch Investments Limited Sam Kenny has been banned from working in the financial services industry and fined £450,000.
Gracechurch, a now dissolved stock broking firm, was guilty of a host infractions. The Financial Conduct Authority found Kenny had used pressure selling techniques and Gracechurch had routinely sold stocks through misrepresentation and unsuitable advice.
The FCA said Kenny had withheld from the regulator a non-compliant sales call recording it had requested and led Gracechurch's lawyers to provide the FCA with false dates of meetings of one of the broker's committees.
Between April 2008 and 2009 Gracechurch advised up to 340 clients to buy £4m of shares in small capitalised companies. A review of broker call showed brokers harrasing clients until they bought shares.
Georgina Philippou, acting director of enforcement and market oversight at the FCA, said:
As CEO of Gracechurch, Mr Kenny was involved in serious, repeated and at times deliberate misconduct. On a number of occasions this amounted to dishonesty. Mr Kenny’s behaviour impacted the customers of Gracechurch, who were pressured into buying risky stocks.
Mr Kenny has now been held to account for Gracechurch’s mis-selling and the lack of integrity in his dealings with the Authority. This significant fine and ban sends a strong message to those who run financial services firms, that they will be made to answer for misconduct and that we will take particularly seriously attempts to cover up misconduct by trying to mislead us with false information.