Posted on July 04, 2019

The Qatar Financial Centre (“QFC”) Regulatory Authority (the “Regulatory Authority”) announced that it had agreed a settlement with each of Mr John Hasberry and Mr David Howell to impose a financial penalty of USD$200,000 and a three-year prohibition from their performance of any function, or being employed by any authorised firm in the QFC for three years, owing to serious misconduct as approved individuals.

Both Mr Hasberry and Mr Howell were directors of Guardian Wealth Management Qatar LLC (in liquidation) (“GWMQ”) and approved individuals in the Executive Governance Function for GWMQ. 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 Mr Hasberry and Mr Howell’s conduct fell substantially below the Principles of Conduct for an Approved Individual in the Executive Governance Function. Mr Hasberry and Mr Howell’s contraventions included:

  1. 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;
  2. Failing to act with due skill, care and diligence in relation to his oversight of GWMQ’s compliance with the Governance and Controlled Functions Rules 2012 and General Rules 2005, the effect of which is that the Regulatory Authority has found that GWMQ failed to:
  • establish an appropriate corporate governance framework;
  • review the GWMQ risk management and internal controls framework appropriately and with sufficient frequency;
  • maintain effective systems and controls for record keeping; and
  • ensure that GWMQ’s business was managed effectively by its senior management; and
  1. 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 emphasises the standards required of directors of authorised firms to ensure effective governance standards and systems and controls to combat illicit finance.

The Qatar Financial Centre (“QFC”) Regulatory Authority (the “Regulatory Authority”) has decided to issue a public censure against Mr Vincent Jones, the Chairman and independent director of Guardian Wealth Management Qatar LLC (in liquidation) (“GWMQ”).  GWMQ was an insurance intermediary firm that sold mainly long-term savings plans in Qatar.

The Regulatory Authority has also censured Mr Jones under Article 58 of the Financial Services Regulations because Mr Jones’s conduct fell below the Principles of Conduct for an Approved Individual performing the Non-Executive Governance Function. Mr Jones’s contraventions included:

  1. Failing to exercise the requisite due skill, care and diligence in relation to his oversight of GWMQ’s compliance with the Governance and Controlled Functions Rules 2012, particularly:
  • GWMQ’s failure to establish an appropriate corporate governance framework;
  • Failure to review the GWMQ risk management and internal controls framework appropriately and with sufficient frequency; and
  • Failure to ensure that GWMQ’s business was financially sound and maintained transparency and disclosure;
  1. Failing to deal with the Regulatory Authority in an open and cooperative manner and disclosing appropriately to the Regulatory Authority any information that the Regulatory Authority would reasonably expect notice.

The action taken by the Regulatory Authority emphasises the standards required of directors of authorised firms to ensure effective governance standards, systems and controls.

Mr Jones provided evidence of significant mitigating circumstances, in the absence of which the Regulatory Authority would have imposed a financial penalty of USD$75,000 and a two-year prohibition.

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