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A lack of integrity sees broker fined and banned

The Financial Services Authority has banned and fined a mortgage broker for failing to act with integrity.

Gareth Flanagan of Londonderry-based GMF Marketing Services has been fined £95,200 and banned from regulated activity.

He received a 30% reduction in his fine, which would have been £136,000, for settling early.

The FSA concluded that Flanagan had failed to act with integrity in carrying out his controlled functions by knowingly submitting mortgage applications through GMF in his own name containing false information.

The effect was to mislead lenders regarding his income, residence, employment status and proposed use of funds.

The FSA states that Flanagan also failed to take reasonable steps to ensure the business of GMF, for which he was responsible in his controlled functions, complied with the relevant requirements and standards of the regulatory system.

Flanagan submitted nine mortgage applications to lenders in his own name for five properties between December 2005 and November 2007.

Five of the applications completed and the funds obtained amounted to £1,325,722. The other four did not proceed to completion.

The FSA identified that eight of the applications submitted by Flanagan in his own name contained false or misleading information about his income.

In particular, in five of the applications, Flanagan declared a personal income which was substantially higher than the income that he had declared to HM Revenue & Customs.

Three of Flanagan’s applications contained false information in respect of his place of residence, three contained false information regarding his employment status and one contained false information about the purpose of the mortgage.


Joint representation cuts down on fraud

Conveyancing appears particularly vulnerable to fraud at the moment. Unscrupulous solicitors, valuers and brokers are using sophisticated methods to hijack property titles so it is vital to know your supplier and that maxim especially applies to conveyancers.


It has been a welcome return to normality after the madness of Budget week – although arguments are still rumbling on over Stamp Duty for those purchasing in company names, and the tax cut for the wealthy supposedly paid for by a bit of granny bashing.

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England vs Australia: pensions

Well, the cricket season is here, and England and Australia are stepping up to the wicket. Although we compete with each other in the sporting world, when it comes to pensions, Australia’s pension programme is held up as a model for our auto-enrolment initiative. Auto-enrolment was introduced because people weren’t saving enough into their pensions, and it is still early days but signs are positive. However, in Australia, saving into a pension is compulsory, and in fact employers are the ones who have to pay in. Employees in Australia can make additional contributions into their pensions, but they don’t have to. Should the onus be on the employer or employee to save? Well in the UK we think it’s both, but to get ‘adequate’ savings for retirement it’s the employee who has to pay more in.


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