Broker banned and fined for misappropriating premiums

David Wren, formally the chief executive of Astbury Wren & Company Limited (Astbury Wren), was found to have taken £630,909 in premiums paid by his clients for his firm’s use.

The FCA concluded that Wren breached a fundamental regulatory principle, which is a requirement to act with integrity.

Astbury Wren paid premiums it collected into a client account. As chief executive, Wren was solely responsible for then transferring the commission the firm was entitled to into Astbury Wren’s office account.

However, the FCA found that between March 2009 and February 2012 over £630,000 more was transferred than had been earned by Astbury Wren in commission.

Instead of paying insurance premiums with the money, Mr Wren used it to cover office expenses.

Astbury Wren ceased trading on 20 February 2012, owing £1,408,890 to insurers in unpaid premiums. Three customers had to pay their premiums again (totalling £9,021) or face the cancellation of their policies.

Wren’s fine was reduced by 30%, as he settled the case at the first opportunity. However, the FCA judged the failings to be so severe that it did not reduce the fine as a result of financial hardship.