By Jonathan Davies
A City trader has been fined £75 million for misleading investors into buying "death bonds".
It is the single largest fine handed out to an individual by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA). Stewart Ford, former chief executive of a company called Keysdata which sold the bonds, is one of three men to be fined a combined total of £80m.
Linked to life insurance policies, the FCA said the way the bonds were sold was "unclear, incorrect and misleading".
Around 37,000 people are believed to have bought into the bonds, and those who purchased them between 2005 and 2009 are understood to have lost around £330m. However the investors are currently being refunded through the Financial Services Compensation Scheme (FSCS).
Mr Ford has denied the allegations and says he will fight the ruling in High Court and seek damages worth £650m against the FCA and accountancy firm PricewaterhouseCoopers.
The FCA said Mr Ford received £72.4m in fees and commission on sales of the "death bonds". He claims that the FSA (Financial Services Authority, the FCA's predecessor) overstepped its powers by closing down Keysdata.
"The past six years have been a nightmare for myself, my family and the former employees of Keydata," said Mr Ford.
"We were tossed aside by a regulator who was hell-bent on destroying a successful and well-run business in order to justify its continued existence."
Two other men have been fined. Former Keysdata sales director Mark Owen has been fined £4m and former compliance officer Peter Johnson was fined £200,000. Both have joined Mr Ford in appealing the ruling.