CompaniesDec 18 2015

WH Ireland prepares for ‘substantial’ FCA fine

Search supported by
WH Ireland prepares for ‘substantial’ FCA fine

WH Ireland Group’s directors have admitted they are expecting a “substantial fine” from the Financial Conduct Authority, following a review into its business last year.

A trading update this morning (18 December) stated: “We continue to discuss, and are seeking to achieve, a negotiated settlement with the FCA in regard to the previously communicated contingent liability referencing the period January - June 2013.”

It added that the directors feel it is likely that there will be a substantial fine imposed by the FCA.

This relates to a review into control procedures at the private client stockbroker back in April 2014 in relation to activities during a six-month period starting in January 2013.

The regulator’s concern focused on whether the firm breached principle three of its rulebook, which stated that “a firm must take reasonable care to organise and control its affairs responsibly and effectively, with adequate risk management systems”.

Meanwhile, the update also noted that management fee income in its private wealth management division increase by about 35 per cent from the previous year.

The statement for the financial year ended 30 November also revealed recurring revenue across the company has continued to grow and now represents nearly 37 per cent of total revenue.

The statement continued total revenue for the year will see a marginal increase on that reported a year earlier, “which is a reasonable performance”, given the more challenging trading environment since the half-year end.

It noted the business was hit with the reduction in transaction fees and market making revenue in the corporate broking division was more than offset by the continued growth in recurring fee income from wealth management.

Assets under management and administration on an adjusted basis - allowing for announced office closures and business line exits - rose by 2 per cent over the year to £2.5bn.

Of this total, discretionary assets rose by 6 per cent to about £770m.

Despite the “significant repositioning” of the business during the past year, WH Ireland expects to report an increase in operating profit for the year, when compared with that reported in 2014.

It is anticipated the full year figures will be released on 29 February 2016.