Brokers expelled over use of client assets

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The Independent Online
The Securities and Futures Authority, the City regulator, has expelled two brokers in unrelated cases of misappropriation of clients' assets.

Stephen Ball was responsible for administration, settlement and nominee services at the former Central Stockbrokers in Manchester. As well as being expelled by the SFA, as announced yesterday, he was also tried and convicted last November on five chargesof theft at Liverpool Crown Court, involving less than £25,000, and sentenced to 15 months in jail.

The SFA expelled Neil Campbell, who was a director in the Bristol office of the stockbroker Albert E Sharp, from all its membership registers and required him to repay some of the £50,000 involved, plus a contribution to the SFA's costs. The SFA concluded that Campbell abused his position of trust and acted dishonestly.

Two of Campbell's clients were the pension fund and retirement benefit scheme of a local company. The assets of the fund and scheme were held in Albert E Sharp's nominee and client money accounts. Sharp managed those assets on a discretionary basis, withCampbell as the account executive, the SFA said.

Campbell was also a trustee of the fund and scheme and was responsible for their administration. It came to light that Campbell had organised two loans from the fund and one from the scheme to organisations that SFA investigators established were his ownmanagement consultancy company and his own pension fund.

The SFA said that Ball, on at least three occasions, removed share certificates from his firm's safe custody, prepared transfer certificates for their sale, and either forged the signatures of authorised persons on the transfers, obtained signatures fromthose persons under a pretext, or entered his own signature when he was not authorised to do so. "He then sold the securities and credited the proceeds to the accounts of two friends who were clients of the firm. He arranged for cheques for the proceedsto be issued to the friends, having previously arranged with them that they would make cash payments to him." The SFA said he remitted other payments to his own bank account to pay for losses on his own share dealing.

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