Bankrupt firm fined for ‘high-risk’ investments

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A FINANCIAL services firm has been fined almost £100,000 after it invested more than £12 million of its customers’ cash in risky investments.

Topps Rogers Financial Management invested funds over a six-year period on behalf of 94 customers, who could now lose their money.

The Hope-based firm has been fined £97,600 by the Financial Services Authority (FSA) which investigated.

Martin Rigney, the company’s principal partner, was separately fined £117.300.

He has also been barred from carrying out any similar business transactions on the grounds he is not a fit and proper person.

Topps Rogers went bankrupt last November and the liquidators have decided not to pursue appeals against the verdicts on cost grounds.

One man involved in the case, who asked not to be named, said his relative had given money for investment to Topps Rogers - only to find the cash had been frozen and could no longer be accessed.

He said: “The money was invested in high-risk funds contrary to the wishes of the investors, some of whom handed over life savings.

“My relative has not got his cash back and, although we are happy with the penalty, there is a feeling it is nowhere near enough.”

In its ruling the FSA said Topps Rogers’ conduct had fallen below the standards of the regulatory system and breached customers’ trust by failing to ensure its investments were suitable.

A spokesman for Mr Rigney said he was of the view he had been fined twice by the FSA for the same matters.

The spokesman said: “Mr Rigney has been forced to accept the findings in both cases, but continues to appeal the fine against him and the firm, because they will cause hardship to him and his wife.”

He said clients who had lost out due to Mr Rigney’s advice were able to claim compensation from the Financial Services Compensation Scheme.