West Riding Personal Finance Solutions managing director and IFA Neil Liversidge has expressed frustration with the FCA after sending a warning letter to it in 2015 regarding London Capital & Finance (LC&F).
The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) was warned about LC&F by Liversidge after he was contacted by a potential investor interested in putting money into their mini-bond schemes. While the client was advised by the IFA not to invest, Liversidge also sent a letter in 2015 to the regulator explaining how he would not class this as a suitable investment for the "unsophisticated retail market".
Liversidge said it was an "habitual issue" with the FCA not getting back to people. He said he had, on several occasions, contacted the regulator with different issues and it has failed to get back to him. He added that he did once receive a phone call from the FCA regarding another case, but the watchdog requested he take the issue elsewhere.
"I do not know what their [FCA] thought process is," he said. "Whether somebody just gets it [the letter] and thinks 'oh god this looks like a load of aggravation' and just sticks it straight in the bin."
He said the FCA has only responded after he has taken previous stories to the press: "It took the media getting involved to get something done."
The letter sent to the regulator in November 2015 had previously been reported on by several media outlets earlier this year, including the FT and the BBC. In the letter Liversidge said: "If LC&F can reach them [investors] then they can reach a lot more and, from what I see, I would not class this as a suitable investment for the unsophisticated retail market. Additionally, the obviously unprofessional character of this promotion gives me cause for concern as to how safe or otherwise will be any funds clients place with them."
LC&F collapsed in January this year for mis-selling some £236m worth of mini-bonds to thousands of investors. In April, the FCA called for an independent investigation into the issue raised by the collapse, which included its own supervision of the firm.
Earlier this month (6 December), LC&F and Lloyds Banking Group victims protested outside the FCA headquarters asking for help from FCA chief executive officer Andrew Bailey. Investors had lost their money and businesses and therefore wanted answers from the watchdog. Bailey invited the protestors into the offices and listened to their questions and grievances.
The FCA declined to comment.
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