FSA bans managing director of General Finance Centre

Prior to GFC’s liquidation Thommes was the managing director and majority shareholder at the mortgage broker firm in Dorset and while in this role he failed to put in place adequate controls to prevent his firm being used as a vehicle for mortgage fraud.

Bill Sillett, head of retail enforcement, said: “While we did not find that Thommes personally committed mortgage fraud his failure to put in place adequate controls meant his firm was used by others for this purpose.

“Thommes’ conduct was significantly below what we would expect from someone in his position particularly since the failings were brought to his attention by the FSA and he did not take adequate steps to address them.”

The FSA found that a significant proportion of GFC’s files contained blatant inconsistencies and discrepancies in relation to income, occupation and other relevant information but these were not picked up by Thommes or others at the firm.

Sillett added: “As a managing director Thommes failed to fulfil his role and meet his regulatory obligations. Although Thommes is not currently involved with regulated mortgages it is appropriate to ban him from all significant influence functions in order to protect consumers and the industry.”

Thommes also failed to adequately oversee the conduct of the firm, monitor staff or ensure that GFC’s charging structure was fair to customers. In particular GFC did not communicate clearly to customers about how much they were being charged.

Even when the FSA brought these concerns to Thommes’ attention he failed to address them adequately.