Regulation  

FCA investigation into Ford is at “advanced stage”

Last week, the Court of Appeal turned down Mr Ford’s application for permission to appeal a High Court decision in a judicial review, which was related to the regulator’s use of two specific documents in its investigation.

Mr Ford won a judicial review brought against the FSA in October 2011, after arguing successfully that two out of eight documents passed to the FSA for investigation were subject to professional privilege. However, the court also rejected calls for a warning notice against Mr Ford to be quashed.

A ruling by the court last April ordered the FSA to destroy the documents. A statement by Mr Ford’s law firm, Withers LLP, said at the time: “We are pleased that the court has recognised that our client’s right to legal privilege has been infringed and has ordered the FSA to take steps to rectify matters.”

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A spokesman for Withers said this week that it was no longer representing Mr Ford.

Mr Ford subsequently launched another legal bid to ban anyone who had seen the documents from working on his investigation, but the High Court ruled against him last June.

With his appeal now proving unsuccessful, an FCA statement said the regulator could restart the investigation into Mr Ford and the failed structured product provider, adding: “This serious and complex investigation remains a priority for us and we are committed to concluding the matter.”

The statement added that the FCA could not currently provide further information on the investigation because of confidentiality restrictions on disclosure.

Background
Keydata entered into administration in June 2009, with PwC appointed as administrators. The collapse of the provider saw the Financial Services Compensation Scheme hit the advisory community with a much derided industry levy of £326m in 2011. Advisers who recommended the investments have since been fighting legal claims against the FSCS as its seeks to claw back some of its compensation funds. The scheme offered out of court settlements to advisers which recommended the investments but had lower claims last february.

Adviser View

Simon Mansell, managing director of Worcester-based IFA firm Temple Bar, said: “The FCA has picked up the mantle where the FSA left off, confirming in the eyes of many that we have all been duped into the false belief that we lived in a democracy subjected to the rule of law, where no man/woman or regulatory body is above the law.”