Q. What caused the investigation to take place?
A. On 22 May 2019, following a request from the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) Board, the Economic Secretary to the Treasury directed the FCA to carry out an independent investigation into the circumstances surrounding the collapse of London Capital & Finance (LCF).
Q. Who appointed Dame Elizabeth Gloster?
A. Dame Elizabeth was appointed by the FCA to carry out an independent investigation into the events and circumstances surrounding the failure and placing into administration of LCF. The Treasury announced its approval of the proposed appointment of Dame Elizabeth on 22 May 2019.
The investigation is independent of the regulator and the FCA is required to share the investigator’s findings and recommendations with HM Treasury.
Q. If Dame Elizabeth was appointed by the FCA, does this mean the FCA will be able to interfere with the investigation?
A. No. The investigation is independent of the FCA, as is Dame Elizabeth and her team.
Q. What is the aim of the investigation?
A. The investigation will consider whether the FCA discharged its functions in respect of LCF in a manner which enabled it effectively to fulfil its statutory responsibilities. Please find a more detailed explanation here.
Q. How long will the investigation take?
A. The investigation was originally expected to take approximately 12 months, and was scheduled to deliver its report by 10 July 2020. On 25th August 2020, Dame Elizabeth Gloster announced a second revised timeframe for the delivery of her report. Assuming there are no further significant developments, the revised date for completion of the report will be on or before Monday, 23 November 2020.
This follows an initial change to the delivery date in June from 10th July to 30th September, which was due to delays in receiving documents and information from the FCA, which, in turn, impacted the investigation team's timetable to interview FCA employees. These delays were further exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic.
The revised timeframe is as a result of the following reasons:
- The FCA disclosed approximately 3,500 documents in mid-July which should have been provided previously and have required members of the investigation team to set aside time from their ongoing work on the report to review and consider their import to the investigation.
- Interviews with senior employees were only made possible from mid-June and took much longer than anticipated. These raised important new issues requiring substantial additional work as well as further interviews.
In the circumstances, to allow proper consideration of these issues, and assuming there are no other significant developments, Dame Elizabeth has notified the FCA of the revised timeline for delivering her report.
The FCA protocol sets out that the FCA will arrange for the final report to be submitted to HM Treasury. It is then for HM Treasury to decide whether to publish the report in full or whether part of the report needs to be redacted (in accordance with Section 82 of the Financial Services Act 2012). HM Treasury requires the FCA to set out the FCA’s response to the investigation’s findings, conclusions and recommendations. It also requires the FCA to include any lessons that it should learn from the investigation and make any recommendations as the FCA considers appropriate.
Q. How will Dame Elizabeth Gloster “investigate” and what will this entail?
A. Dame Elizabeth Gloster will determine the methods of investigation.
Supported by an independent team whom Dame Elizabeth has approved, the investigation will take into account all matters which Dame Elizabeth considers relevant to the question of whether the FCA discharged its functions in a manner which enabled it effectively to fulfil its statutory responsibilities.The investigation will have full access to all relevant documentation in the FCA’s files and proposes to question relevant individuals about the conduct and discharge of the FCA’s regulatory responsibilities.
Q. Will there be an interim report?
A. No. There will be one final report, which is scheduled to be delivered on or before Monday, 23 November 2020. Any updates in the meantime will be found on this website.
Q. I’m a Bondholder. Will I get my money back?
A. The Administrators are working to maximise returns to Bondholders. For information regarding the administration of LCF, please visit https://smithandwilliamson.com/en/
Q. Will I be compensated by the Financial Services Compensation Scheme (FSCS) as a Bondholder?
A. The purpose of this investigation is to review the FCA’s actions, policies and approach when regulating LCF, and is not to determine whether individual bondholders are entitled to compensation. Anyone who thinks they may be eligible for compensation should contact the FSCS.
Q. Will individuals responsible for the collapse of LCF be prosecuted?
A. The Serious Fraud Office (SFO), working in conjunction with the Financial Conduct Authority, is investigating individuals associated with LCF. Details can be found here.
Q. I have proof of what I think is FCA misconduct regarding the collapse of LCF. What should I do with this?
A. Individuals impacted by the failure of LCF are invited to provide the independent investigation with any relevant information via email. To provide this information, please email the investigation at IndependentInvestigation.LondonCapitalFinance@fca.org.uk.
Q. I contacted the FCA with concerns about LCF. Why were these not acted upon?
A. Please contact the investigation at IndependentInvestigation.LondonCapitalFinance@fca.org.uk with any information regarding contact you had with the FCA about LCF or your concerns. These are the type of issues which the investigation is addressing.
Q. I’ve read that the investigator will not be able to force FCA employees to attend interviews and give their account of the collapse. Is that true?
A. Under the relevant statutory provisions relating to this type of investigation, the investigator does not have power to compel attendance on the part of individuals. However, it is anticipated that relevant individuals currently employed by the FCA will attend voluntarily.
Q. I’m a Bondholder and have read that I may have to pay tax on the mini-bonds. Is that true?
A. Please speak to an accountant or financial adviser with any questions regarding tax liabilities.
Q. Will the investigation consider the wider concern of mini-bond regulation?
A. The investigation’s specific role is to review the FCA’s conduct in relation to LCF. However, the investigation may consider it appropriate to make recommendations for others to consider in their own investigations.
The FCA is required to share the findings and recommendations of the investigation with HM Treasury, which is tasked with a review of the wider policy questions raised by the case of LCF.