Financial Conduct Authority  

FCA delay causes mini-bond probe hold-up

FCA delay causes mini-bond probe hold-up

The High Court judge leading the investigation into the regulator's handling of the London Capital and Finance scandal has said there had been delays in the watchdog producing documents.

Speaking at a bondholders meeting yesterday (January 23) Elizabeth Gloster said the regulator had cooperated with requests for documents and information and the collection process was nearing a close. 

But she added there had been delays in producing this information.

Dame Elizabeth said: "I am not sure the FCA appreciated the scale of the task from the outset, particularly in light of the technical difficulties in data production which the FCA has told us it has encountered."

London Capital & Finance entered into administration in January owing more than £230m and putting the funds of some 14,000 bondholders at risk. 

In April last year it was announced an independent investigation would review the FCA's handling of the firm's supervision and failure.

 

Dame Elizabeth said the communication her team had received from bondholders detailing their losses had made for "very distressing reading". 

She added: "I am personally very conscious of the huge personal and financial impact on many of the LCF investors as a result of the collapse.

"We have received letters and emails from a large number of bondholders, some of which make very sad reading."

Tunbridge Wells-based London Capital and Finance allegedly signed clients up to fixed-rate Isas promising 8 per cent interest, with investors' capital then invested into mini-bonds used to issue loans to small businesses.

Last month a High Court heard almost £20m of bondholder funds were transferred to four men connected to the mini-bond provider in he lead up to is collapse. 

At the beginning of this year the Financial Services Compensation Scheme confirmed it would pay out to 159 of the bondholders, but said it was yet to review thousands more cases involving potentially misleading advice.

rachel.mortimer@ft.com 

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