Semperian plead guilty to an offence under section 191(3) of the Financial Services and Markets Act 2000 by acquiring an authorized firm before it had received the necessary approval of the FSA. Semperian notified the FSA in mid December 2008 that it proposed to acquire the authorized firm but failed to wait for FSA approval before completing the deal 3 weeks later.
The Deputy District Judge imposed a penalty of £1000 and said that Semperian had taken a calculated risk that the FSA would not prosecute. In determining the level of the penalty he took into account that the maximum fine that could be imposed, given the date of the offence, was £5000. The law changed on 21 March 2009 so that the courts now have the power to impose an unlimited fine for change in control offences committed after this date. He also took into account the fact that Semperian had pleaded guilty at the earliest opportunity and that there had been no adverse impact upon consumers.