David Wren was approved to perform CF1, CF3 and CF8 controlled functions at Astbury Wren, an authorised insurance mediator. Astbury Wren was the wholly owned subsidiary of AWH, of which Mr Wren owned 78%.
Mr Wren approved transfers whereby an extra £630,909 in commission was transferred from Trust Accounts to the office account where it was knowingly used to pay the business expenses of Astbury Wren and reduce the office account overdraft.
In breach of Statement of Principle 1, the FCA found that Mr Wren failed to act with integrity in carrying out significant influence functions by being knowingly involved in the misappropriation of insurance premiums paid by clients to Astbury Wren.
As the relevant period spanned from 1 March 2009 to 20 February 2012, both the old and the new penalty regimes applied. In determining the penalty, it was acknowledged that although Mr Wren did not benefit from the breach, his misconduct enabled Astbury Wren to continue trading for longer than would have been possible, prior to entering administration on 20 February 2012.
Under the new regime, Mr Wren’s conduct was classed as Level 5, the most serious category. No mitigating or aggravating circumstances were found and the penalty was deemed sufficient for the purposes of credible deterrence. Under the old regime, consideration was given to the impact of the breach with a loss to insurance creditors estimated at approximately £470,000.
The FCA and Mr Wren reached agreement at Stage 1 of the settlement process and therefore a 30% discount was applied to the penalty of £100,000.
View FCA Final Notice 2014: David Lloyd Wren, 31 March 2014