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Advisers struck off and found guilty of deceit by FCA

According to an enforcement notice from the City watchdog, Gary Hexley and John Cooper, former directors of Weston Financial Services in Sutton Coldfield, were convicted at Birmingham Crown Court on 23 October.

After an FCA ban in June 2011, Hexley carried on providing investment advice, and dishonestly concealed his lack of authorisation, bankruptcy and the FCA prohibition from his clients.

The FCA notice showed that Hexley also dishonestly concealed from clients that their funds were destined for a risky overseas fund. He was convicted of one count of giving investment advice without authorisation and five counts of dishonestly concealing material facts from his clients. He was acquitted of one count of each charge.

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Cooper was convicted of advising a client to invest £160,000 in the same fund without authorisation and dishonestly concealing Hexley’s prohibition. He was acquitted of three counts of concealing facts from his clients.

The charges related to the period from 25 May 2010, when Hexley was declared bankrupt, to 23 November 2011, when both were arrested.

Tracey McDermott, director of enforcement and financial crime for the FCA, which brought the prosecution, said: “Hexley and Cooper have shown utter disdain for a sector in which tens of thousands of authorised advisers work hard for their customers.”

The men will be sentenced on 14 November.