Former Seymour Pierce Manager Is Banned by Financial Regulator for Fraud

A former manager at Seymour Pierce Ltd., a London-based investment bank, was banned by Britain’s financial regulator for defrauding the company and clients out of nearly 300,000 pounds ($429,000).

John White, a former settlements manager, stole 152,372 pounds from Seymour Pierce over a five-year period and hid a further 145,000 pounds, the Financial Services Authority said in a statement today. The investment bank has already been fined 154,000 pounds by the FSA for not having strict enough controls to detect White’s fraud sooner.

“We expect people who work in the financial services industry to behave with honesty and integrity, yet White’s conduct was anything but,” said Margaret Cole, FSA enforcement director, in the statement. “As this case demonstrates, we are committed to deterring behavior of this kind by punishing anyone found to have committed such misconduct.”

The FSA has pledged to be a tougher regulator in the wake of the financial crisis, with more stringent penalties and a more robust check on companies’ business plans. Part of its enforcement powers will be merged with other prosecutors to form an economic-crime agency, the new coalition government said last week.

White didn’t have a lawyer on the case, according to FSA spokesman Toby Parker. A call to the number listed for White in the telephone directory wasn’t answered. A call to Seymour Pierce’s external spokesman wasn’t immediately returned.

White, who left Seymour Pierce in 2006, stole company and client money through 37 different transactions between 2001 and 2006, the FSA said in its investigative report, published today. The 145,000 pounds had been mistakenly transferred to the investment bank, and White used the money to cover up earlier frauds, the FSA said.

White changed client data and used dormant accounts to facilitate the fraud, according to the regulator, transferring losses from his personal dealing account to Seymour Pierce, and stealing trading profits.

To contact the reporters on this story: Caroline Binham in London at cbinham@bloomberg.net

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