Qatar Financial Center Regulatory Authority (QFCRA) has banned both directors of Guardian Wealth Management Qatar, an insurance brokerage company that is primarily involved in selling long-term savings plans in the kingdom, and fined them $400,000.
The individuals are also prohibited from performing any function or being employed by any authorized firm in the QFC for three years, owing to "serious misconduct" as approved individuals. GWMQ was an insurance intermediary firm that sold mainly long-term savings plans in Qatar.
The Regulatory Authority settled the matter and imposed the financial penalty and prohibition following the completion of an investigation which identified that Howell's conduct fell substantially below the Principles of Conduct for an Approved Individual in the Executive Governance Function, failing to act with due skill, care and diligence in relation to his oversight of the GWMQ's compliance with the Anti-Money Laundering and Combating Terrorist Financing Rules 2010, particularly the systemic deficiencies in GWMQ's AML/CFT policies, procedures, systems and controls; Failing to give appropriate priority to his management responsibilities and failing to ensure that GWMQ's business was effectively supervised and controlled, and complied with Regulatory Authority Rules.
The action taken by the Regulatory Authority emphasizes the standards required of directors of authorized firms to ensure effective governance standards and systems and controls to combat illicit finance.
On 22 April 2018, the QFC Regulatory Authority issued a financial penalty against GWMQ for contraventions relating to the Anti-Money Laundering and Combating Terrorist Financing Rules 2010 and general regulatory contraventions.