The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) has banned Darren Newton from working in the financial services sector. The FCA discovered Newton used customers’ money for the purchase of the debt management firm, First Step Finance Limited. This showed a serious lack of honesty and integrity. The FCA has decided that he is not a fit and proper person.
Newton purchased First Step, through his company, from Christine Whitehurst and was the sole director between 18 October 2013 and 28 May 2014 of
ewton knew these monies from
The firm went into administration on 28 May 2014 with a shortfall of £7,156,036 from over 4,000 customers. Customers are not able to recover compensation for their losses from the Financial Services Compensation Scheme.
Mark Steward, Executive Director of Enforcement at the FCA said “Mr Newton blatantly used customers’ money to fund the purchase of
“He is not a fit and proper person and poses a serious risk to consumers. This is the strongest action we can take and will prevent him from operating in financial services again.”
First Step was a debt management firm offering a debt reduction services to its customers. First Step collected and held client monies before making full and final settlement offers to customers’ creditors.
After the purchase of First Step on 18 October 2013 customers were meant to be transferred to Debt Help and Advice, from that date. However, the transfer of customers did not take place. First Step continued to receive payments from existing clients until it was placed into administration in May 2014.