Regulation  

'Substantial discrepancies' found in collapsed LCF records

'Substantial discrepancies' found in collapsed LCF records

Administrators of collapsed "mini-bond" provider London Capital & Finance have warned of "very substantial discrepancies" in the investor funds that were lent to third party debtors.

In December a High Court heard how almost £20m of bondholder funds were transferred "either directly or indirectly" to four men connected to LCF in the lead up to the firm's failure.

Before it entered administration in January the company raised in excess of £237m from more than 11,500 investors over the course of two years, and it has been embroiled in a scandal since. 

But in its latest report, which was submitted at the end of February and is set to appear on Companies House this week, LCF administrators Smith & Williamson said they were investigating why loan figures on the books did not match funds actually received by third parties. 

The joint administrators said: "Our observations from our review of the books and records of LCF, and of other relevant entities, primarily from a review of bank statements, are that whilst the loan figures have been recorded as set out in this report, it does not always follow that the debtor entity was the recipient of that amount of funds.

"Clearly, we are investigating the very substantial discrepancies which this analysis has highlighted." 

Smith & Williamson said it was unable to make a comparison with a director's statement of affairs, because since February 2019 principal director Andrew Thomson had claimed via his solicitors to be too unwell to cooperate with the process.  

Administrators have previously warned of a number of "highly suspicious transactions" involving a small number of connected people which led to large sums of bondholder's money "ending up in their personal possession or control".

In its latest report Smith & Williamson stood by previous estimations bondholders could claw back assets worth as little as 25 per cent of their funds, representing a loss of 75 per cent on their original investment. 

A dividend of 5 per cent is set to be paid to bondholders with outstanding claims this month.

In February the Financial Services Compensation Scheme confirmed it had paid almost £2.7m to LCF customers, in the first claims paid by the service. 

But the compensation was only paid to 135 investors in relation to 151 bonds invested following a transfer out of stocks and shares Isas - which is a regulated activity - and the lifeboat scheme is still reviewing thousands of claims for misleading advice.

rachel.mortimer@ft.com

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