ACCA penalises Thomson Morely Jackson

An ACCA disciplinary committee has imposed fines and costs totalling #25,000 on the firm of ACCA council member Robert Jackson for backdating Norwich Union policy applications in order to obtain free shares.

The committee reprimanded Manchester-based firm Thomson Morely Jackson this week. It also levied a #5,000 fine and ordered it to pay costs of #4,000. Jackson and fellow partner Andrew Brown were severely reprimanded and ordered to pay costs of #4,000 each.

Two other partners in the firm, Ernest Thomson and David Wainwright, were reprimanded and each ordered to pay #4,000 in costs.

The committee handed down its sentence on Monday after finding the firm and four partners guilty of professional misconduct at the end of last month.

In a three-day trial, the committee heard how the four partners and staff at the firm had submitted 67 backdated applications for NU insurance policies in the days surrounding the insurance giant’s announcement of its flotation in October 1996. Of the applications, 32 related to partners and staff at the firm and their families.

The committee had the power to impose a range of penalties on the firm and partners involved, including expulsion from ACCA and individual fines of up to #50,000.

ACCA said this week it could not comment until it had become clear whether or not the firm and partners were going to appeal.

In a robust defence of its actions, Thomson Morely Jackson had argued that it had acted in accordance with NU guidance. It said through its solicitor, Susan Dunnett of law firm Hammond Suddards, this week that it was considering whether or not to appeal, which it has to do within three weeks.

Dunnett said: ‘It is emphasised that Thomson Morely Jackson acted at all material times pursuant to its genuinely held view as to the construction of NU’s announcement. We are pleased that this appears to have been recognised in the orders made by the disciplinary committee.’

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