Financial Conduct Authority  

Connaught review delayed as Covid-19 concerns loom

Connaught review delayed as Covid-19 concerns loom

The independent investigation into the regulator's handling of the Connaught Income Fund Series 1 has delayed its first report by two months. 

Last year barrister Raj Parker was commissioned to lead a long-awaited investigation into the Financial Conduct Authority's handling of the fund and that of its predecessor the Financial Services Authority - he was expected to submit his first draft to the FCA this month. 

But in an update on the FCA's website today (March 20) the regulator confirmed the first draft of Mr Parker's report had been delayed until May. 

The watchdog said the extended timeline would allow the "most thorough possible review" of materials and evidence. 

But the FCA added: "It is also anticipated that there may be disruption to the Review as a result of Covid-19.

"The precise impact that any Covid-19 measures may have on the review remains to be seen, but if the timing is further affected, an announcement will be made as soon as possible."

According to today's update Mr Parker and his team had held 30 meetings with various Connaught stakeholders and both former and present members of FCA staff. 

The Connaught fund was an unregulated collective investment scheme run by operators Capita Financial Managers and Blue Gate Capital from March 2008, providing short term bridging finance to commercial operators in the UK property market.

The fund went into liquidation in December 2012, with investors losing £118m in the process.

The investigation launched a call for evidence in October last year, asking investors what they thought the regulator could have done differently in its handling of the Connaught scandal. 

Last year it was confirmed FCA employees would not be forced to meet with Mr Parker regarding the investigation, in a stance similar to that applied to the ongoing independent review into the regulator's role in the London Capital & Finance collapse. 

rachel.mortimer@ft.com 

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