Wilkins is no longer affiliated with Acordias, having left it this past summer, according to Acordias chief executive Owen Donnelly. Wilkins ceased to be a director of the company back in February.
Andrew’s twin brother Simon Wilkins continues to work in sales and distribution for Acordias, out of London, but is also no longer a director and is no longer based in the Isle of Man, where Acordias Offshore Ltd has been based since 2012, Donnelly added. Simon Wilkins had not been involved in the company at issue in the FCA case.
The FCA announced its decision to ban and fine Wilkins in October. In a statement, the authority said it had decided to fine Wilkins £100,000, and “prevent him from holding senior roles in [the] future”, for his role as a director of a company called Catalyst Investment Group, which marketed bonds issued by Luxembourg-based ARM Asset Backed Securities.
According to the FCA, Catalyst had been the primary distributor of two Dublin-listed ARM bonds that were “a form of traded life policy (TLP) investment” – a securitised investment product based on whole life insurance policies sold in the US – which were suspended in November 2010.
The FCA said it had decided to censor Wilkins and Catalyst's then-chief executive, Timothy Roberts, for failing to "act with due skill, care and diligence" in connection with the promotion of the ARM bonds, and said Roberts's conduct "demonstrated a lack of integrity". Roberts was fined £450,000 and banned from the industry.
The FCA also censured Catalyst, but did not levy a fine as the company is in default and would be unable to pay.
Reached by phone today, Andrew Wilkins said that although he couldn’t “speak too much about the detail, my team is very confident that we’ve got a very strong case” with respect to his appeal against the FCA’s decision, and stressed that he had removed himself from Acordias early on in order that the ongoing Catalyst case “wouldn’t impact on Acordias’s business”.
“That’s the reason I stepped down from Acordias so long ago,” he said.
The appeal process could, however, take until the end of next year, he has been told, Wilkins added.
The appeal is with the so-called Upper Tribunal, which will reconsider the Catalyst matter and either uphold, vary or cancel the FCA's decision, and announce its decision by publishing it on its website, according to the FCA.
Timothy Roberts could not be reached for comment, as his whereabouts are unknown, and Catalyst’s offices, which had been in London, are no longer open.
Isle of Man licence
Acordias, which initially offered clients a white-label platform service provided by Luxembourg-based Moventum through its UK operation, obtained a Financial Services Licence from the Isle of Man’s Financial Supervision Commission on 11 September for its Acordias Offshore operation.
In October, Acordias Offshore started trading on its own Isle of Man platform on behalf of five broker firms.
Since then it has taken on an additional eight broker firms, with another seven currently “going through terms of business” and expected to be taken on shortly, according to Donnelly.
Donnelly said the company would be making a “major announcement” early in the New Year, but declined to give further details.