The FSMT has handed down its decision in the case of Asgar Ali Ravjani (trading as Astrad Finance) v Financial Services Authority, which involved the failure to disclose a discharged bankruptcy to the FSA.
The action was an application by Mr Ravjani to suspend the effect of the FSA's removal of his permission to carry on any regulated activities. The FSA had taken action because Mr Ravjani, when applying for authorisation as a sole trader to conduct mortgage and general insurance activities, had failed to disclose that he had been adjudged bankrupt in November 1995 . Mr Ravjani claimed that his failure to disclose had been a genuine mistake. He admitted recalling the bankruptcy but believed it was no longer relevant because he was discharged from bankruptcy in November 1998 and submitted the application almost eight years later, in July 2006.
The FSMT found that Mr Ravjani's failure to disclose his prior bankruptcy in the application form had been deliberate and, as a consequence, the decision to remove his permission to carry on the regulated activities was unavoidable. It pointed out that the application system did not call for self-assessment on the part of the applicant and that Mr Ravjani had nonetheless sought to assess his own suitability by ignoring the clear terms of the form. It concluded that he had misled the regulator and that the FSA's actions were therefore both appropriate and proportionate. This decision shows the importance of full and frank disclosure to the FSA of all relevant information at both individual and firm level.