Financial services adviser banned indefinitely

The Central Bank has imposed an indefinite ban on a financial adviser for misappropriating client funds, after an investigation began following a protected disclosure.

The regulator said it issued a prohibition notice to Paul Tarpey, "from carrying out any controlled functions, including pre-approval controlled functions" in any regulated financial service provider for an indefinite period.

Galway-based Mr Tarpey is a former partner of Costello & Tarpey Financial Services, which has now been dissolved.

The prohibition arose from a Central Bank investigation into the misappropriation of client funds by Mr Tarpey during his time at Costello & Tarpey Financial Services, the regulator said.

Director of enforcement and anti-money laundering at the Central Bank, Seana Cunningham, said Mr Tarpey's ban was the most serious outcome under the fitness and probity regime.

She said: "The misconduct detailed in the statement of undisputed facts clearly demonstrates Mr Tarpey's failure to act honestly, ethically and with integrity. This case should serve as a reminder that the Central Bank will prohibit people who act dishonestly."

Ms Cunningham said the outcome was also notable as the first time the Central Bank exercised its discretion to publish full reasons for a prohibition.

The regulator said its whistleblower desk became aware of an allegation in November 2016 regarding Mr Tarpey that he had misappropriated funds from a client.

The investigation revealed Mr Tarpey misappropriated two cheques given to him that were intended for a client's pension, as well as the client's spouse.

He lodged the cheques to his own bank account, the Central Bank investigation found.

When Costello & Tarpey wrote to clients informing them it was to dissolve the firm, the client realised there was a discrepancy in his bank balance.

Upon being confronted by the client, Mr Tarpey admitted altering the cheques and lodging them in his own name, the Central Bank investigation said.

Some €31,711 of misappropriated funds was subsequently paid back, as well as an additional €13,289 to compensate for lack of tax relief plus interest and penalties payable by the client.

Decision-maker on the investigation, Martina Kelly said in her report: "Given the serious breach of trust...I am satisfied that the behaviour, which has been admitted by Mr Tarpey, falls at the higher end of the seriousness scale."

The Central Bank said it was the sixth prohibition notice it had issued, with four indefinite periods being served and one lifted after two years.

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