On February 8, 2016, the Upper Tribunal published its decision directing the FCA to reconsider its refusal to approve a firm for regulated activities based on the fact that its sole director, Mr. Ladele, had been charged with fraud, notwithstanding his acquittal. Mr. Ladele simultaneously applied for approval to perform certain controlled functions. In 2010, Mr. Ladele had accessed confidential customer information during his employment at HSBC. This information was used by one or more persons for fraudulent transactions. Mr. Ladele was acquitted in 2012 of the criminal offence of fraud by abuse of position relating to the fraudulent transactions. In 2014, the firm applied to the FCA for approval to carry on a range of regulated activities, including advising on pensions, arranging regulated mortgage contracts and arranging deals in investments. The FCA refused approval in 2015 on the grounds that Mr. Ladele, on the balance of probabilities, had been involved in the previous fraudulent activities, despite his acquittal. As a result, the FCA did not consider that the firm for which Mr. Ladele was sole director would satisfy the threshold conditions, in particular the suitability condition requiring the firm to be a fit and proper person. The firm referred the FCA’s decision to the Tribunal. The Tribunal found that the firm had been subject to an unjust accusation and directed the FCA to reconsider its decision.
The Tribunal’s decision is available at: http://www.tribunals.gov.uk/financeandtax/Documents/decisions/Abi-FolConsulting-Ltd-v-FCA.pdf.