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By Donia O'Loughlin | Published May 08, 2012

FSA cancels second adviser firm in two months over PI lack

The Financial Services Authority has removed all of West Yorkshire-based Wood Financial Management’s permissions to carry out regulated activities as it does not have premium indemnity insurance.

In a first supervisory notice published on the regulator’s website, the FSA said Wood’s part IV permission no longer includes advising on investments, arranging deals in investments or agreeing to carry on any regulated activity.

The watchdog says it has concluded that its resources are not adequate in relation to the regulated activities it has had permission to carry on as it has failed to maintain PI cover, “despite having had a reasonable opportunity to do so”.

Wood has been authorised by the FSA since 3 December 2008 to conduct designated investment business, the FSA says in the notice.

The FSA adds that that Woods must within 14 days notify in writing all clients for its regulated activities that it does not have PI and that it is no longer permitted by the FSA to carry on regulated activities.

It must also provide the FSA with a copy of the written notification sent to all clients for its regulated activities.

This is the second firm that the regulator has varied permissions for due to a lack of PI cover, following a supervisory notice issued on 2 April that cancelled London-based broker Equifund Ltd from carrying out regulated business.

This was followed later the same month with a final notice for the firm after it failed to pay fees and levies totalling £1,891 owed to the FSA and failed to submit a Retail Mediation Activities Return for 31 October 2010, 30 April 2011 and 31 October 2011 despite repeated requests to do so.

Separately, the FSA today (8 May) announced that it has fined wholesaler insurer Mitsui Sumitomo £3.3m for serious corporate governance failings and it has also imposed a ban and fine of £119,303 on its former executive chairman, Yohichi Kumagai.

Mitsui historically supplied wholesale insurance cover only to Japanese firms operating in Europe and the Middle East. From 2007 it expanded into non-Japanese business and by the end of 2010 half its premiums were coming from this source, much of it from branches in France and Germany, the FSA said.

In April 2009, Mr Kumagai was seconded from the Japanese parent company and appointed as executive chairman of Mitsui.

Shortly after his appointment the FSA wrote to Mr Kumagai and Mitsui stating that expansion into European markets would need “careful and focused oversight from an appropriately skilled and experienced board”. The firm’s systems and controls would also have to be improved to identify and address the risks inherent in this new area, the FSA said.

Overall the FSA found that Mitsui had significant failings in corporate governance and control arrangements, which resulted in it being poorly organised and managed across its business as a whole.

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