Consumer watchdog hands out record fine to property agent

City A.M. Reporter
THE Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) yesterday fined a property agent nearly a million pounds for defrauding vulnerable people, the largest-ever fine for a sole trader in the consumer sector.

The FCA also banned Gurpreet Singh Chadda from working in the financial services industry for the way he conducted sale and rent back agreements that netted him £695,277 from seven transactions.

The agreements refer to where a homeowner, often in financial difficulties, sells and then rents the property back from the agent so they can still live there. The FCA’s £945,277 fine included the whole sum defrauded. “Chadda’s misconduct is the most shocking we have seen from a home finance arranger. He is a disgrace to financial services,” FCA director of enforcement, Tracey McDermott, said. “The unprecedented level of the fine for a sole trader reflects our determination to deprive him of the gains he made as a result of his misconduct.”

Following a probe of seven sale and rent back transactions, the FCA found that Chadda told customers he would be buying their home when in fact the purchasers were other people.