SFA expels broker for 'breaches of rules'

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The Independent Online
THE SECURITIES and Futures Authority, which regulates organised City investment markets, yesterday said it was expelling Lovell & Co, a private client broker in securities and traded options based in Newcastle, for 'serious and widespread breaches of SFA rules'.

The breaches include using client money to buy a company, a matter under investigation by the police; dealing for clients in unsuitable contracts; and misleading advertising.

The directors also permitted employees to recommend that clients buy shares in a company the firm was planning to merge with.

Investors in Lovell & Co have been paid more than pounds 650,000 in compensation since 1990, when the Investors Compensation Scheme declared the firm in default.

Thomas Lovell, chairman, John Hickey, compliance and finance director, and Robert Foster-Moore, director of traded options, were found guilty of serious breaches of the rules by an SFA tribunal earlier this month.

They and Richard Hexton, a representative in the firm's traded options department, were given severe reprimands, but no financial penalty in view of their financial circumstances, the SFA said.

Mr Lovell and Mr Hickey abused client money regulations by permitting funds to be withdrawn from clients' bank accounts to purchase a financial services company. The Northumbria Police Fraud and Commercial Squad is investigating.

Mr Hickey permitted other unsuitable withdrawals of client funds. Clive Stone, director of dealing, was severely reprimanded.