FSA has banned the former Chief Executive and Finance Officer of Pacific Continental Securities UK Ltd for serious failings within the firm that meant customers bought high risk shares without suitable advice. It published details of the bans and fines on the same day FSCS declared the firm in default.  

FSA considered Stephen Griggs, the former CEO, did not ensure:  

  • advisers did not use high pressure sales tactics;
  • advisers did not exceed the trading limits on customers' accounts;
  • the firm’s claims about its research were honest and realistic; and
  • the firm had adequate compliance monitoring and training arrangements at the firm.  

It found Charles Weston, the former FD:  

  • knew the firm used high pressure sales tactics and knowingly allowed advisers to continue doing so;
  • knew advisers were recommending shares to benefit the firm, not its customers;
  • did not ensure customers' complaints were suitably handled; and
  • did not ensure the firm and its advisers were complying with their regulatory requirements.  

Both individuals also misled FSA over the firm’s involvement with a person involved in boiler room scams. FSA fined Mr Griggs £80,000 and banned him from any senior management position, and Mr Weston £95,000 and banned him from carrying on any regulated activity. FSA also censured the firm for misleading customers and allowing its advisers to use inappropriate sales practices when giving advice on high risk shares. It would have fined the firm £2 million if it was not in liquidation.