An Ipswich-based independent financial adviser has pleaded guilty at Norwich Magistrates Court to a fraud that resulted in his clients and his firm losing more than £300,000 over a two-year period. He was an employee of a small local financial advisory practice at the time of his offences.

The precise nature of the fraud has not been made public, but the adviser’s charge sheet read:

“You were expected to safeguard, or not to act against, the financial interests of your clients. You dishonestly abused that position.”

On this occasion, the issues were identified by the firm rather than by the Financial Conduct Authority. Alex Couling, a director of the firm, commented:

“We are a small family business that my dad literally set up from our spare room and built into a success. Something like this puts our lives and livelihoods at risk and we could not distance ourselves from it further.”In November 2018 a member of our team identified an irregularity in a file that [name of adviser] had been working on. Further investigation followed with more cases of irregular behaviour being identified.

“We contacted the police and the relevant authorities and have fully cooperated with their investigations. [name of adviser] was suspended from duty immediately and his clients were advised that he no longer represented our firm.

“In the months that followed we contacted all affected clients taking appropriate steps to rectify their position.”

The adviser will be sentenced at a later date at Norwich Crown Court.

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