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FSA Lost Appeal Against UBS Bankers in United Kingdom

By Look Right Subscribe to RSS | April 27th 2012 | Views:

In a rare successful appeal against a fine imposed by the regulator, John Pottage was cleared of misconduct by Britain's Upper Tribunal over compliance failings that occurred under his supervision at UBS's British wealth management business, which he ran. The Financial Services Authority (FSA) had sought to fine him 100,000 pounds ($161,000) for alleged failings as the unit's boss, even though he was not personally involved in the compliance issues.

The Upper Tribunal said that they think that the actions that Mr. Pottage in fact took prior to July 2007 to deal with the operational and compliance issues as they arose were reasonable steps. The bank itself was fined in relation to the control weaknesses at the wealth management division, and has said the failings were remediated by June 2009. The firm was an interested party in the Pottage case, not a defendant. Pottage has had the backing of UBS throughout the case and is still an employee of the firm in Switzerland.

With this judgment, the national financial watchdog has lost a key test of its powers to punish bankers for alleged supervision failures when a fine on a senior UBS banker was overturned by a court. On this, the FSA said that it accepted the decision, but was undeterred from pursuing disciplinary action against senior management. Tracey McDermott, acting director of enforcement and financial crime at the FSA said that they have always recognized that pursuing disciplinary action against senior management in large firms is very challenging. However, they also strongly believe that senior management must take responsibility for the businesses they run. UBS itself is still embroiled in a separate investigation after a rogue trader caused a $2.3 billion loss last year. The results of that probe are still not known. Although wins against the FSA are rare, other senior bankers are following this route. In early April, prominent JP Morgan dealmaker Ian Hannam was fined 450,000 pounds for market abuse, a punishment he is appealing. Apply with and avail a quick financial aid.

The Tax and Chancery Chamber of the Upper Tribunal, which has a financial services segment, is the standard port of call for appealing FSA decisions. Before the Pottage case, the FSA had only lost twice. The Upper Tribunal has had a former FSA official among its judges - Tim Herrington, former chairman of the regulatory decisions committee (RDC), which oversees verdicts on disciplinary action, from this year.

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