FCA

Brexit Prevarication, The Company, Sarbanes-Oxley and Patisserie Holdings (CAKE)

Prevarication definitions: delaying giving someone an answer, or avoiding telling the whole truth. Theresa May’s suggestion for an extension of the Brexit transition period surely smacks of prevarication and all sides of the Brexit debate saw it for what it was. The result is some furious back-peddling by the Prime Minister. Putting off decisions usually does not make them any easier. It is not at all clear what the PM’s strategy is here. Was she perhaps hoping to put off Brexit ...

FCA investigations of hidden fees.

34 fund managers are being investigated for ‘hiding’ their fees according to a story in the Sunday Times on 7 October, see https://www.thetimes.co.uk/article/34-fund-managers-investigated-for-hiding-their-fees-l6kjwqhrz  An investigation has been launched into 34 pension and investment companies for failing to meet new rules that force them to disclose the true cost of their funds. This is the first time the City regulator, the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA), has taken action against firms for not adopting rules intended to make it easier for savers to assess and ...

Response to FCA on Platforms Study Sep 2018

Press Release 106 - Joint Press Release from UKSA and ShareSoc on behalf of individual investors about the FCA Investment Platforms Market Study Interim Report In a hard-hitting response to the Financial Conduct Authority, UKSA-ShareSoc demand a more fundamental review of how investment ownership is recorded (i.e. share and fund registration systems) needs to be undertaken and legislation put in place to reform it. The present systems appear to have been devised for the primary benefit of the platform operators and not their clients, ...

ShareSoc+UKSA demand firmer, faster action from the FCA in our joint response to Duty of Care consultation

In a considered joint response, the UK Shareholders Association and ShareSoc, said firmer and faster, transparent action against those who violate the integrity of the FCA standards, rules and guidance is needed. In practically every financial scandal or financial crisis, the FCA seems to have taken far too long to decide whether companies/firms/individuals have a case to answer and too often has concluded that nothing has gone seriously wrong. If this fundamental issue is not addressed, then no amount of debate ... Read more

Lax Regulation (Globo, GRG) and Japanese Trust AGM

Globo was one of those AIM companies that turned out to be a complete fraud. Back in December 2015 the Financial Reporting Council (FRC) announced an investigation into the audits of the company by Grant Thornton (GT). Even the cash reported on the balance sheet in the consolidated accounts of the parent company proved to be non-existent (or had been stolen perhaps). I have previously complained about the slow progress and the lack of any information on this investigation. But former shareholders ... Read more

Duty of Care or Fiduciary Duty to Investors?

The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) have published two papers on their approach to consumers (i.e. retail savers/investors in their terminology). These cover whether a new “Duty of Care”, or...

Investment Platforms Market Study

The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) have just published an interim report on their study of “investment platforms”. It makes for very interesting reading. That is particularly so after the revelations from Hardman last week. They reported that the revenue per assets held on the platform from Hargreaves Lansdown (HL) was more than twice that of soon to be listed AJ Bell Youinvest. HL is the gorilla in the direct to consumer platform market with about 40% market share. HL earns £473 ...

The Quindell Story and the FRC

5 years on and the FRC has fined KPMG for its performance over Quindell. It has taken far too long. The settlement received a huge amount of coverage in the press, e.g. https://www.ft.com/content/e8ce1a30-6d3d-11e8-852d-d8b934ff5ffa The FRC's official announcement can be found here: https://www.frc.org.uk/news/june-2018/sanctions-in-relation-to-the-audit-of-quindell-plc The KPMG fine of £3.15 million is derisory. It is absurd when compared with the (£2bn) shareholder losses as a result of being misled by the accounts. The average KPMG partner was paid £519k in 2018, and many were paid more. To ...

They Do Things Differently in the USA

Former Autonomy CFO Sushovan Hussain has been found guilty of 16 counts of fraud in a Federal Court in California. He was convicted on all 16 counts of wire and securities fraud. This case was based on allegations of false accounting to ramp up the value of the Autonomy business prior to its acquisition by Hewlett-Packard. The latter subsequently wrote down most of the $10.3 billion cost of that acquisition. More background on this case is given in a previous blog post ...

Aviva Preference Shares – FCA Announcement

Readers who take any notice of financial affairs will be aware of the furore over the threat by Aviva to redeem their preference shares by a “share cancellation” process – they claimed that is a different legal process, even though the shares were described as “irredeemable”. The shares concerned dropped in price to a significant extent because their high coupon interest rate meant they were trading at a premium when cancellation would have meant redemption at the original par value. Aviva ...