Darren Newton banned by the FCA for misusing client money
The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) has published a Decision Notice to ban Darren Lee Newton, the owner of debt management business, from working in any regulated activity in the financial services sector. The investigation conducted by the FCA found that in October 2013 Mr. Newton funded the purchase of a debt reduction service First Step from Christine Whitehurst with £322,500 of client money, when he should have used his own funds. After purchasing the shares of Christine Whitehurst, he became a director of the First Step as she resigned on the same day. The previous owner of the First Step were Christine Whitehurst and her husband, who were also banned by the FCA for misappropriating over £6 million of company’s money. The FCA found that Newton knew the money should only be used to pay clients’ creditors or to be returned to clients, but despite this, he still allowed the funds to be taken from First Step and paid to the Whitehursts. In the decision notice, the regulator states that Mr. Newton acted with a ‘serious lack of honesty and integrity’ and caused a serious risk to customers investments. One of his responsibilities was to protect clients and maintain the integrity of the UK financial system. Since failing to maintain his commitment, he got a prohibition order from the FCA. Currently, Mr. Newton is trying to dispute the decision of the FCA and referring the issue to the Upper Tribunal.