UK's Financial Services Authority (FSA) has fined Close Investments (CIL) GBP98,000 for failing to properly protect and segregate client money.

According to FSA, between January 2008 and January 2010, CIL failed to hold client money in segregated accounts with trust status. The firm also failed to implement and maintain adequate controls over its client money as required by FSA rules.

In particular, for two years CIL failed to verify that certain accounts had been appropriately set up as client money accounts.

Margaret Cole, director of enforcement and financial crime division at FSA, said: “Customers should be able to assume that authorized firms have the right systems and controls to safeguard their assets. CIL put clients at risk of significant financial loss by failing to segregate client money appropriately for a period of two years – this is simply unacceptable.

“It is essential for firms to adhere to our client money rules and recent action in this area shows that our focus has intensified. Firms should be in no doubt that if they fail to get their house in order in this regard we will take action against them.”