FSA fines and bans Pacific stockbrokers

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The Independent Online

The chief City watchdog has fined and banned two former senior executives at collapsed stockbroking firm Pacific Continental Securities (PCS) over "serious failures" at the group.

Steven Griggs, PCS's former chief executive, was fined £80,000 and banned from taking on management roles, while Charles Weston, who was the group's finance director, was fined £95,000 and similarly banned.

The Financial Services Authority said it had identified "serious failures in the company which led to customers buying high-risk shares without suitable advice". Charges included advisers using high-pressure sales tactics and exceeding client trading limits.

The FSA said the pair had acted "without integrity" between April 2005 and June 2007 and failed to ensure customers were treated fairly. PCS itself would have been fined £2m were it not now in liquidation, the regulator added.

Margaret Cole, the FSA's enforcement director, said: "PCS treated its customers appallingly and Mr Griggs and Mr Weston must be held responsible for putting innocent customers at risk."

The company was declared in default by the Financial Services Compensation Scheme yesterday, paving the way for former customers to begin claiming redress.