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Ascension Securities

Declared in Default January 2010 – Max Compensation £50k

Ascension Securities Limited (ASL) did not escape negative publicity or the wrath of the regulator, the Financial Services Authority (FSA). Despite filing accounts in April 2009 showing a turnover of just over £2m and assets of more than £500,000, ASL ceased doing business on 22 May 2009 and formally went into liquidation on 7 July 2009.

On 26 May 2009, ASL wrote to clients advising that as of noon on 22 May 2009, ASL voluntarily temporarily ceased carrying out regulated business whilst undertaking a full business review with the intention of providing a better and more efficient service.

This wasn’t strictly true. On 6 August 2009, the FSA confirmed in writing to ASL’s clients that ASL’s decision to cease regulated business was following a visit by the FSA and subsequent to discussions held between the firm and the FSA. This was due to the FSA identifying potential breaches of the rules and principles that govern regulated firms such as ASL.

ASL’s demise unsurprisingly mirrors that of other regulated smaller company stockbrokers. Director Gary Porter previously worked for Mansion House Securities Ltd. Co director Derek Leonard Scrivener had also been a salesman at Mansion House. Another director, Robert Joseph Fucilla, has worked at Pacific Continental Securities (UK) Ltd and Halewood International Futures (Halewood changed its name to Square Mile Securities Ltd after Mr Fucilla left to return to work at Pacific Continental). Staff included Rajan Aggarwal, who worked at both Mansion House and Square Mile, Costas Constanti who was at Pacific Continental and Square Mile, and Jonathon David Wicks, whose past jobs also included time at Pacific Continental and Square Mile. Another notable member of staff was Luc Jean Chaudhary. After over five years as a salesman at Pacific Continental, he joined Mansion House in 2006 and became a director. In March 2008, Mansion House was fined by the Financial Services Authority (FSA) £122,500 for breaches of the FSA Principles for Business and Conduct of Business Rules. Chaudhary left Mansion House in May 2008 and joined Ascension Securities Ltd.

On 13 January 2010, the Financial Services Compensation Scheme (FSCS) declared ASL 'in default'. This means that ASL is unable or unlikely to be able to meet its liabilities and as the UK statutory fund of last resort; the FSCS can step into the shoes of ASL and redress eligible claimants. (Subject to its limits).

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