The Financial Reporting Council (FRC) have announced an investigation into the audits by Grant Thornton of the accounts of Interserve (IRV) in the years 2015-2017. Interserve was a large outsourcing company with most of its business from Government contracts. It ran out of cash and went into administration on the 15th March with debts of £738 million. Readers will no doubt be aware that Grant Thornton were also the auditors of Patisserie Holdings and Globo, both cases where very substantial fraud took place.
I received a rather odd letter recently from a company called Investment Recovery Services Ltd. It suggested that I might have been mis-sold an investment in the Arc EIS 5 Growth Fund promoted by Arc Fund Management Ltd in 2006. The letter was odd for two reasons:
- I have never invested in that EIS fund or indeed with Arc Fund Management.
- Civil claims are time barred after 10 years so it seems unlikely that claims from 2006 could be pursued.
I know nothing about Investment Recovery Services Ltd although they seem to have been in existence for some years.
As regards Arc Fund Management Ltd the company itself was dissolved in 2017 but Arc Fund Management (Holdings) Plc changed its name to Consolidated Asset Management (Holdings) in 2008 and it subsequently delisted from AIM in late 2009. It again changed its name to SUSD Asset Management (Holdings) in 2011 and seems to be now a property development business with assets of £4.6 million.
I suggest anyone else who received such a letter and thinks they might have a potential claim should be very wary of such an approach. The key is never to pay money up-front on the basis that a claim will be pursued and it seems highly unlikely to me that such a claim could be pursued at this late date.
Roger Lawson (Twitter: https://twitter.com/RogerWLawson )