FCA probe into River & Mercantile drags on

FCA probe into River & Mercantile drags on

The Financial Conduct Authority's investigation into River & Mercantile is continuing but the asset manager has reduced the amount of money set aside to pay any possible fine.

In a trading update today (6 July), River & Mercantile stated it was reducing the provision for any likely fine to £109,000, from £1m, following guidance from the regulator itself.

River & Mercantile is one of several firms, the others being Artemis, Hargreave Hale and Newton Investment Management, being investigated by the FCA for colluding on the price it would pay for shares coming to the market via initial public offerings (IPOs).

Mike Faulkner, chief executive of River and Mercantile, said: "The group continues to co-operate fully with the FCA in this complex matter and we will provide further updates when the FCA reaches its final decision in due course."

The FCA's investigation has already resulted in Newton sacking an unidentified employee.

River & Mercantile fund manager Philip Rodrigs also found himself sacked after conduct "incompatible with the high standards of conduct" River & Mercantile expects from its staff was uncovered by the more stringent systems and controls the company put in place following the probe - though Mr Rodrigs's conduct was unrelated to the investigation.

In its trading update River & Mercantile also revealed its assets under management have increased by 9 per cent to £33.8bn in the 11 months to the end of May.

Sales for the period were £5.4bn, including £1.2bn from equity solutions and £3.7bn from derivative solutions.

Mr Faulkner said: "The business continues to perform well. Flows and our forward pipeline - in particular in equities, derivatives and new investment strategy development - remain strong.

"We currently consider that we are in a downturn phase of risk markets and therefore have been advising clients to adopt more defensive positions. As a result we expect to see continued interest in structured equity strategies, along with our absolute return strategies, which include Global Macro."