South China Brokerage vice-chairman Howard Gorges has been banned by the Securities and Futures Commission from acting as a responsible officer for any licensed financial company for failing to enforce internal control of his own firms. The SFC action means Mr Gorges will need to resign from his current top post in five companies - South China Capital, South China Commodities, South China Fund Management, South China Research and South China Securities. He can reapply to take the role in the future but the commission will take into account his chequered past. The SFC also suspended Mr Gorges' licence to give advice on corporate finance matters for 18 months and fined him HK$250,000. Although being banned from taking the most senior position, Mr Gorges can stay on to give stock advice - a role that gives him the most media exposure - as he still has the licences to trade in securities and futures contracts, to give advice and to manage funds. Mr Gorges' supervisory lapses led South China Research to fail to follow a dealing policy to prevent conflict of interests in October 2003. Meanwhile, South China Securities also failed to meet financial requirement rules from May 2002 to October 2003. For these failures, the SFC reprimanded South China Securities and fined it HK$500,000. The SFC also said Mr Gorges had failed to ensure South China Capital perform proper due diligence when it acted as sponsor of a Growth Enterprise Market listing candidate from October 2002 to October 2003. The candidate's application was rejected by the stock exchange. The SFC has reached agreement with South China Capital, allowing the investment bank to hire an independent audit firm to review its internal control system. If the bank is found in violation within the next three years, the SFC will suspend its licence as a sponsor for 18 months. Mark Steward, the SFC's executive director of enforcement, said South China had agreed to put its internal controls under review and had taken action to improve its compliance culture.