A Northern Ireland-based investment adviser has been fined almost £30,000 and banned from financial services after he was found to have offered phony documents as his personal credentials.
Darren Cummings of DCC Financial in County Down was found to have faked two documents which he claimed had been issued by the Chartered Insurance Institute, the Belfast Telegraph reported.
In a statement, the Financial Conduct Authority said he had ‘acted dishonestly’ and ‘knowingly made numerous false and misleading statements to the authority concerning his qualifications and experience’.
‘Mr Cummings does not hold (and has never held) the requisite qualifications to be a retail investment adviser and has never been issued with a [statement of professional standing] by the CII or any other accredited body.’
The regulator served him with a £29,300 fine after ruling his conduct had ‘pose[d] a risk to consumers and to the integrity of the financial system’.
It rejected his plea that his diagnosed alcoholism and mental distress should be considered mitigating factors.
‘The authority does not dispute that Mr Cummings experienced mental health and alcohol dependence issues during the relevant period’ it said. ‘However, the authority considers its conclusion that Mr Cummings acted dishonestly is appropriate notwithstanding his mental health issues.
‘The breach was a sustained course of action, committed in a conscious effort to deceive the authority in order to obtain approval of the variation application and hence to expand Mr Cummings' business and to increase his income.’