The Monetary Conduct Authority is below mounting strain to supply an replace on its ongoing probe into the collapse of Neil Woodford’s flagship funding fund, with members of the UK parliament’s influential Treasury Committee nonetheless awaiting data that they have been promised 4 months in the past.
With lower than per week to go till the FCA stated it might lastly present them with particulars of how its investigation was progressing, MPs have but to listen to any information.
The suspension of Woodford’s Fairness Revenue fund on 3 June 2019, prompted by Kent County Council’s request to tug its £240m, left greater than 300,000 retail traders trapped and unable to entry their financial savings.
An investigation was launched by the FCA in the identical month to look into the circumstances main as much as the fund, which held greater than £10bn in property at its peak, being frozen.
Virtually two years on, the monetary watchdog is but to publish any particulars of what it has uncovered.
In February, Treasury Committee chair Mel Stride known as on the FCA to supply a timeline for when it expects to finish its probe into Fairness Revenue, which was wound up in October 2019 when Woodford’s funding empire collapsed.
The regulator stated it might ship an replace to the committee by 31 Could.
Nonetheless, a spokesman for the committee instructed Monetary Information on 24 Could that there had been “no replace but from the FCA”.
The FCA declined to remark additional on its investigation or timing.
Robin Powell, an investor champion and campaigner on fund administration charges, stated two years was “greater than sufficient time” for the regulator to current its findings on the Woodford probe and supply particulars on its subsequent transfer.
“Many Woodford traders have misplaced life-changing sums of cash. They need to know whether or not the FCA will drive the responsible events to pay compensation, and whether or not every other penalties will probably be imposed,” stated Powell.
“The FCA has already stated that its inquiry won’t embody its personal position within the Woodford scandal, so no matter it says when it’s lastly revealed, the report into Woodford will solely provide partial reassurance to traders.
“Woodford traders need to know who knew what and when.”
The FCA has confronted rising criticism over its dealing with of its ongoing Woodford investigation, with distinguished campaigners Gina and Alan Miller earlier this yr demanding an unbiased inquiry into the demise of the as soon as best-selling fund.
The couple additionally known as for an inquiry to consider the FCA’s personal position overseeing the fund.
FCA chair Charles Randell responded to the request, saying the regulator can’t delegate obligations related to investigations into regulatory contraventions or potential enforcement motion to 3rd events.
Mark Steward, director of enforcement and market oversight on the FCA, stated in a 16 February assertion that its investigation was “appropriately resourced and is progressing”.
Nonetheless, he added there had been some impression on accessing sure paperwork and witnesses because of the Covid pandemic.
Woodford had been preserving a low profile because the closure of his funding enterprise 20 months in the past.
Nonetheless, he has since re-emerged with plans to launch a Jersey-based enterprise known as Woodford Capital Administration Companions that can goal institutional purchasers and concentrate on the biotech, British biosciences and healthcare sectors.
WCM Companions is already advising US-based Acacia Analysis on the portfolio of unquoted shares that it bought from Woodford’s now defunct Fairness Revenue fund, which have been offered off by authorised company director Hyperlink Fund Options final yr.
Nonetheless, the comeback announcement prompted a press release from the FCA that it had not been approached by Woodford for authorisation.
Jersey’s monetary regulator additionally stated it had not acquired an authorisation request from Woodford, including that it was “disenchanted” the fund supervisor had introduced plans for his new enterprise with out first in search of the suitable permissions.
In April, FN reported that Woodford’s enterprise accomplice, Craig Newman, has been based in Dubai gauging curiosity amongst traders of their enterprise.
To contact the creator of this story with suggestions or information, electronic mail David Ricketts