U.K. Regulator Fines Individuals a Record $20 Million in 2011

Dec. 19 (Bloomberg) -- The U.K. Financial Services Authority issued a record 12.9 million pounds ($20 million) in fines to individuals in 2011, an increase of 47 percent from last year.

The watchdog fined both firms and individuals a total of 65.5 million pounds this year, less than the 88.4 million levied last year, according to research by law firm Reynolds Porter Chamberlain LLP. The figures differ from the FSA’s own table of fines on its website, which lists 63.4 million pounds in fines.

The watchdog fined Jaspreet Ahuja, a former client adviser at UBS AG’s wealth-management unit in London, 150,000 pounds on Dec. 16 for helping a client break Indian law through an offshore fund. HSBC Holdings Plc received the biggest single fine in 2011 and must pay 10.5 million pounds for abusive sales of investment products to elderly customers.

“The FSA is targeting high profile individuals in hard to prosecute cases,” Richard Burger, a lawyer at RPC, said in an e-mailed statement. FSA’s strategy “is to bring regulatory issues closer to home for company directors and other approved persons.”

The 2010 figures were boosted by the FSA’s largest ever fine. JPMorgan Chase & Co.’s London unit paid out a record 33.3 million pounds in June for not properly separating client money from the firm’s accounts.

To contact the reporter on this story: Ben Moshinsky in Brussels at bmoshinsky@bloomberg.net;

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Anthony Aarons at aaarons@bloomberg.net.