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Mortgage adviser fined £30,000 for giving poor info

PUBLISHED: 18:44 22 October 2008 | UPDATED: 15:35 25 August 2010

A MORTGAGE adviser has been fined £30,000 for giving home buyers advice exposing them to risk during the credit crunch.

A MORTGAGE adviser has been fined £30,000 for giving home buyers advice exposing them to risk during the credit crunch.

William John Evans was personally fined along with a fellow director of Abbey Mortgages Ltd, in Church Road, Bexleyheath, by the Financial Services Authority (FSA) last Thursday.

The fine was one of two imposed by the FSA in the same day, signalling a crackdown on mortgage advisers whilst banks were still reeling from their own unscrupulous lending.

The non-governmental watchdog found that Abbey Mortgages Ltd had not met its standards in a sample from 113 cases between January 2006 and April 2008.

The FSA said Mr Evans should have made more of an effort to check his clients had the income they claimed to have, to prevent clients taking mortgages they could not afford.

The firm could not pay the FSA's standard £50,000 fine, and instead the directors agreed to pay for the costly independent review.

The watchdog could also have forced each director to pay over £42,000 had they not agreed to pay the fine as quickly as possible.

Mr Evans, who oversaw operations in Bexley, said: "The cases they were concerned about we have to pay for an independent company to do a full review to make sure there was no detriment to our clients.

"This couldn't have come at a worse time with the market in the state it is. We're not short of enquiries, we're just short of mortgages for them."

On the same day as fining Abbey Morgages Ltd, the FSA also fined a Doncaster-based broker £34,500 for similar 'exposure to risk' through insufficient advice and checks.

Georgina Philippou, FSA head of retail enforcement, said: "Obtaining and clearly recording the right information from customers is not just about process.

"It is an important step in preventing financial crime and giving customers the right advice and treating them fairly. This is always important but is especially important in difficult economic times."

The FSA found no evidence that the company had been reckless or breached its rules deliberately.

Abbey Mortgages Ltd is due to close in January 2009. Mr Evans and Mr Howes plan to spend six weeks retraining and before relocating to King's Hill.

jules.cooper@archant.co.uk

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