Minibond investors get £2.5 million back from failed scheme

London Capital and Finance trapped around £237 million worth of investor money when it collapsed

Coronavirus – Wed May 20, 2020
Coronavirus – Wed May 20, 2020

Officials in charge of compensating ripped off investors have paid out another £2.5 million to more than a hundred individuals who thought they had lost their money to a failed bond scheme.

The Financial Services Compensation Scheme said that it had found a further 146 investors in London Capital and Finance who could claim money back after being given misleading advice by its representatives.

It brings the total paid to £5.2 million to 281 investors.

These payments are still only a fraction of the £237 million that investors ploughed into their accounts with the business in hopes of eeking out a decent return.

Schemes like LCF found they had a receptive audience since the financial crisis as interest rates in regular savings accounts languished close to rock bottom.

It allowed the scheme to attract around 11,600 investors, hoping that its bonds would sure up their retirement savings, or would be a good place to put a windfall.

The compensation will bring much-needed relief to some of the investors. But in what is proving to be a slow process, many still have no more clarity.

The FSCS still has a mountain of claims to trawl through, and the process has proved time consuming.

In February officials said they had approved payouts worth £2.7m to 135 LCF customers. It has since approved another 146 cases.

In January, it announced that 283 applications had been turned down because the investors had put money into LCF before it was authorised.

Since then it has not rejected a single application, FSCS told the PA news agency.

On Thursday, investigators said they had got their hands on around 100,000 emails from LCF’s servers, meaning it will need more time to review the evidence than first thought.

Officials are now unlikely to hit the September deadline they had set for assessing a majority of the claims from LCF bondholders.

But in the delay, FSCS saw good news for customers.

“This new evidence is also likely to lead to an increase in the number of LCF customers that will be eligible for compensation,” it said in an update to bondholders on Thursday.

It promised to set a new deadline before the end of July.

The news came just a day after the Financial Reporting Council announced a probe into three audits of LCF’s accounts.

It said it will investigate audits performed by EY, PwC, and Oliver Clive & Co.

The Financial Conduct Authority itself is facing a probe by a former Court of Appeal judge over its handling of the scandal.

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