(Reuters) - Britain's Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) on Wednesday fined Bluefin Insurance Services 4 million pounds for presenting itself as an independent broker when it was owned by insurer AXA UK.
The FCA said it had fined Bluefin "for having inadequate systems and controls and failing to provide information to its customers about Bluefin's independence in a way that was clear, fair and not misleading."
Between March 2011 and Dec. 31, 2014, insurance broker Bluefin, which was then owned by AXA UK, called itself "truly independent" in the advice it provided and the insurers it recommended to customers, the watchdog said.
"Bluefin's independence was compromised by its culture which promoted business strategies, including a policy which focussed on increasing the business placed with its parent company, over treating customers fairly," FCA said.
It said customers therefore risked believing they were dealing with a broker who would "conduct an unbiased search of the market".
"It is also unacceptable that firms hold themselves out as independent when they are not," the watchdog said.
(Reporting by Noor Zainab Hussain in Bengaluru; editing by Jason Neely)