Non-exec director banned by FCA over conflict of interest

Written by Oliver Wade
14/12/2018

The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) has banned Angela Burns from acting as a non-executive director (NED) and fined her £20,000 for failing to act with integrity at two mutual societies.

Burns, an experienced UK investment professional and the chief executive of her own investment firm, was a NED at two mutual societies and served as the chair of their investment committees between January 2009 and May 2011. The FCA revealed that both mutual societies were seeking investment manager services and looked to Burns for her expert advice and guidance.

She participated in discussions about Vanguard Asset Management, an established US investment manager that had just opened UK offices at both mutual societies. Burns was simultaneously soliciting work from Vanguard by referring to her NED positions at the societies, while providing them with what they assumed was impartial advice.

However, she failed to disclose to either mutual society that she was simultaneously seeking consultancy work with Vanguard.

FCA executive director of enforcement and market oversight Mark Steward said: “Directors have a duty to disclose or avoid conflicts of interest so they can be addressed by the board.

“In this case, Ms Burns placed herself in a position where her duty as a non-executive director may have conflicted with concurrent opportunities she was pursuing. This was neither disclosed nor, as a consequence, could it be addressed by the board. This was inappropriate and inconsistent with the standards of integrity expected from senior managers.”

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