In its first Final Notice of 2014, the financial services watchdog, the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA), banned Acomb, North Yorkshire-based financial adviser Michael Bains from working in financial services, after concluding that he is not a fit and proper person. It is perhaps not surprising that the FCA has taken this action, as Mr Bains pleaded guilty in July 2013 to six counts of fraud at York Crown Court, totalling £160,500, and he is currently serving an 18 month prison sentence at HMP Northallerton. Mr Bains committed his illegal actions over a three-year period from April 2009 to March 2012.
Mr Bains has previously been an appointed representative of Bright Future IFA Ltd; and companies he has held the CF30 function for include City House Investors Ltd, Investors Ltd and Financial Ltd. Bright Future suspended Mr Bains from acting on their behalf in June 2012.
Mr Bains did not refer the FCA’s decision to the Upper Tribunal.
North Yorkshire Police told the court that Mr Bains had gambling debts of over £100,000, and that in response to these debts, he started signing clients up for non-existent property development and investment schemes in order to repay his debts and fund his continuing gambling habit. He also sought funding for his lifestyle, which included regular visits to escorts. His four victims included a 58 year old Hertfordshire woman who lost her entire life savings of £100,000. All the victims lost at least £15,000 at Mr Bains’ hands.
Detective Sergeant Dave Edwards, of North Yorkshire Police’s financial investigation unit, commented: “Bains has used his position to convince people who trusted him to invest their life savings wisely. He has cynically used their hard earned cash to indulge his obsession for gambling and escorts – there was no investment scheme – only other victims to repay.”
When passing sentence, Judge Michael Mettyear said: “These are people that knew you and to a greater or lesser extent trusted you, put their faith in you.”
Mr Bains has now been declared bankrupt, which reduces the chances of his victims receiving compensation for their losses.