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FSA bans Liverpool mortgage adviser

John Cook of Stone Financial Management is banned

The UK’s Financial Services Authority (FSA) has banned John Cook from giving financial advice and stopped his Liverpool-based firm, Stone Financial Management (SFML), from conducting any further business.

In 2007 Mr. Cook voluntarily withdrew his approved status after the Financial Services Authority raised concerns about his failure to reveal facts relevant to his fitness and propriety. Following the withdrawal Mr. Cook could not hold senior management functions at Stone Financial Management.

According to the FSA, with his approved status removed, Mr. Cook appointed two consecutive replacement directors so that SFML could continue to function. The first director left in October 2007, and the second lacked the necessary skills to carry out the type of business in which SFML specialised. This resulted in Mr. Cook retaining day-to-day control of the business but without the relevant approval, demonstrating that he either did not understand the regulatory rules, or was not willing to comply with them.

The FSA also found that Mr. Cook had knowingly submitted mortgage applications with inaccurate and misleading information where his clients’ incomes had been inflated. As a result the FSA has now banned him due to the serious nature of his actions.

Jonathan Phelan, head of retail enforcement at the FSA, said: We will take action against individuals who ignore our rules by seeking to retain day-to-day control of a firm without the relevant approval to do so. The FSA’s view is that Mr. Cook poses a risk to consumers and to confidence in the financial system. In order to remove this risk Mr. Cook has been banned. And due to the close association with Mr. Cook, his firm SFML has been forced to stop operating.