Belfast Telegraph

Monday 1 September 2014

Mortgage adviser banned by watchdog

A Bangor mortgage adviser has been banned and his firm fined for providing false information to lenders which gave rise to at least 16 fraudulent mortgage applications being submitted.

James Shanks, a partner of Case Funding Centre, has been banned by the Financial Services Authority from conducting regulated activities, including the arranging of mortgages, the holding of investors' deposits and advising on investments and mortgages. Case Funding has been fined £35,000.

“Both Case Funding Centre and Shanks fell short of the standards we expect and they are being punished for their failings,” said Margaret Cole, director of the FSA’s enforcement and financial crime division.

An FSA investigation found that Case Funding did not have adequate systems and controls to prevent customers and staff submitting mortgage applications that used false income and employment information.

Both Case Finance and Shanks co-operated fully with the FSA inquiry — reducing what would otherwise have been a £50,000 fine.

Case Finance is marketed through the website of the Newtownards-based Milecross Group.

Ken Graham, the practice supervisor at Milecross, said: “They are a division of our group.”

But he declined to answer other questions in the absence of the group's lead business partner, who is on holiday in South Africa.

According to the Milecross website, the group has “offices based throughout Northern Ireland” and operates through the Case Funding Centre, Mortgage and Lending Associates and the Mortgage Advisory Group businesses. Ian Shanks is shown on the website as a board partner.

Shanks is the second Northern Ireland adviser in just over a month to be banned by the FSA, which is taking strong action to raise standards amongst financial services firms.

Lisburn mortgage broker Noel Heaney was banned in December after an FSA investigation found he “lacks integrity”.

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