An entity called DeVere Group Hong Kong Ltd has been fined a total of the equivalent of US$335,245 (£236,447) by Hong Kong’s Confederation of Insurance Brokers, for eight infractions that include allowing a person who was not registered as a technical representative or chief executive” to provide advice on an insurance policy”.
Failing to nominate a chief executive within 30 days was another infraction, while five of the infractions had to do with the company in question failing to provide certain, undisclosed information to the CIB.
A spokesman for the major global advisory firm known as the deVere Group, headed up by Nigel Green, said the company named by the HK CIB was a shell company that deVere had sold to new owners in 2014, and that the entity listed and the infractions mentioned “relate to the new owners of the shell company, not [us]”.
The news of the fines was revealed in a series of filings posted last week on the HK CIB’s website.
It had experts (and deVere rivals) in the international advisory industry scratching their heads, not only because it was understood that the deVere Group had sold DeVere Group Hong Kong Ltd, but because this Hong Kong entity reportedly had its licence suspended by the Hong Kong insurance regulator in May 2015, according to the South China Morning Post.
In Hong Kong, the Nigel Green-owned deVere Group looks after clients through its Acuma operation, acquired in 2013.
In a statement, the deVere Group said that while it had “accepted the CIB’s ruling of, and the fine for, historical administrative failings from nearly 10 years ago, the other, [recent] rulings, including the failure to appoint a new CEO within the deadline and the failure to reply to the CIB in particular, relate to the new owners of the shell company, not the deVere Group.
“Following its thorough and detailed investigation, the CIB is wholly satisfied with the business practices of the deVere Group and its chief executive, Nigel Green.
“Through its Acuma brand, the deVere Group looks forward to continuing its demand-driven expansion in Hong Kong.”
No one from the CIB was immediately available for comment.
The Hong Kong CIB is the entity which oversees the self-regulation of Hong Kong insurance brokers.