Jersey financial firm CEO banned for ‘lack of integrity’

The CEO of a Jersey-based financial services firm has been barred from working in the industry after acting with a “serious lack of integrity” and displaying “incompetence of the most serious kind.”

According to local reports, the Jersey Royal Court rejected David Francis’s appeal against the decision of the Jersey Financial Services Commission (JFSC) to bar him from practice.

The matter dates from 2010, when a company purportedly owned by Francis, bought a media company which Horizon was then appointed to administer. The JFSC statement says that this appointment was made despite Horizon being “devoid of media experience” and the purchase creating “numerous conflicts of interest.”

Following Francis’s buy out, a New Zealand limited partnership was set up through which investments purchased in the media company were sold at a higher price. Around £3.5m was paid to the debt-ridden media company.

Mounting concerns
Disregarding mounting concerns, in 2011 Francis signed off statements confirming he was “unaware” of circumstances which “undermined the value of the investment.”

The JFSC first issued a public statement on the matter in 2013, which criticised Francis’s actions while he was CEO of Horizon Trustees (Jersey) Ltd.

The JFSC concluded at the time that Horizon Trustees had breached seven principles of its code of practice. The statement said: “In all the circumstances, Mr Francis acted with a most serious lack of integrity and his displayed level of incompetence was of the most serious kind.”

JFSC chairman, Lord Eatwell, said the JFSC is content with the ruling: “The Royal Court accepted that the actions of the JFSC were justified and agreed with its finding that Mr Francis lacked integrity and was incompetent.”

“As the judgment makes very clear, there is no place in our finance industry for those that lack integrity and fail to treat their clients fairly.”

Christopher Copper-Ind
Christopher Copper-Ind is Editor of International Investment.

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