The FCA has the power to ban people it does not deem fit and proper from working in the financial services industry, even if the offences are not directly linked to their jobs © Jonathan Goldberg/Alamy

The UK’s financial regulator has banned three men convicted of sexual offences from ever working in the financial services industry — the first time it has used its enforcement powers in relation to this type of crime.

On Thursday, the Financial Conduct Authority announced that it had prohibited Russell David Jameson, Mark Horsey, and Frank Cochran from carrying out any function related to a regulated activity, having deemed that they were not “fit and proper” and posed a risk to consumers. The three had been found guilty of serious indictable offences while working in the financial services industry.

Jameson was a financial adviser who ran his own firm and was an appointed representative of Lombard Wealth Management, approved by the FCA to hold various customer-facing functions. On March 9, 2018, he pleaded guilty at Chelmsford Crown Court to serious criminal offences involving the making, possession and distribution of indecent images of children — “including films and images of the utmost severity”. Reports of his trial stated that police officers investigating him had required counselling as a result of the material they had to look at.

Jameson was sentenced to five years’ imprisonment, ordered to sign the sex offenders register indefinitely, and included in the list of individuals barred from working with children or vulnerable adults.

Horsey was a director of the authorised financial advice firm Harrison Gray and authorised to conduct investment business. In September 2018 he was convicted of voyeurism, contrary to the Sexual Offences Act 2003 at Guildford Crown Court after watching and video recording without consent a person taking a shower.

He was sentenced to nine months’ imprisonment suspended for 18 months, required to complete 100 hours of unpaid work and 25 days of rehabilitation activity, and required to sign the sex offenders register. 

Cochran was a director of FSC Investment Services, with permission to advise on pensions, mortgages and investments. In April 2018, he was convicted of sexual assault, engaging in controlling and coercive behaviour, under the Protection from Harassment Act 1997. Cochran was sentenced to seven years’ imprisonment and required to sign the sex offenders register.

Under its enforcement powers, the FCA has always been able to ban people it does not deem fit and proper from working in the financial services industry — even if its concerns, or the individuals’ offences, are not directly linked to their jobs. In recent years, it has used these powers to ban former BlackRock managing director Jonathan Paul Burrows, after he admitted to repeated rail fare dodging, and former Co-op Bank chairman Paul Flowers, after he pleaded guilty to drug possession.

However, its latest bans are the first of authorised individuals convicted of sex offences. Announcing the action, Mark Steward, FCA executive director of enforcement and market oversight, said: “The FCA expects high standards of character, probity and fitness and properness from those who operate in the financial services industry and will take action to ensure these standards are maintained.”

Legal experts said the decision made clear the regulator was focusing on all aspects of conduct in the industry. “Banning not one but three individuals from working in financial services as a result of convictions for serious sexual-related offences sends a powerful message,” said Jill Lorimer, a partner at law firm Kingsley Napley.

“It leaves no doubt about the high standards of character and integrity expected of the individuals operating in the regulated financial sector.”

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