FCA sets out broad approach to assessing LCF Complaints

Update: 5 October 2021

On 5 October, we received the Financial Regulators Complaints Commissioner’s Preliminary Report on the London Capital & Finance (LCF) complaints that have been referred to the Office of the Complaints Commissioner (OCC). This is not the Final Report and so it would not be appropriate for us to publicly comment on the Report in its preliminary stage. However, in line with existing practices, we will consider the Preliminary Report and respond to the OCC in due course.

If you have a complaint about the FCA, there are several ways you can contact us. You can find further details about how to contact us by visiting www.fca.org.uk/about/complain-about-regulators. We will continue to consider all LCF complaints individually and in line with the broad approach set out below.

The Treasury has today announced details of the Government’s compensation scheme for investors in London Capital & Finance (LCF). The Financial Services Compensation Scheme (FSCS) has already paid more than £57 million to around 2,800 LCF bondholders. Because of the extraordinary circumstances in this case, the government will establish a compensation scheme, which requires new legislation, and the scheme will be available to all LCF bondholders who have not already received compensation from the FSCS.

Together with the Serious Fraud Office (SFO), the FCA is continuing to investigate the circumstances surrounding the sale of mini-bonds issued by LCF.

Following the publication last year of Dame Elizabeth Gloster’s report into the FCA’s regulation of LCF we published our response. We acknowledged that LCF’s collapse has had a significant impact on the lives of many individuals who invested money they could not afford to lose. We are very sorry for the errors we made in our handling of this case. We accepted, and have committed to implementing, each of the recommendations which Dame Elizabeth Gloster made for the FCA in her review.

Today we are confirming our broad approach to assessing complaints made specifically to the FCA in relation to LCF, reflecting what we consider is likely to be appropriate in individual cases in accordance with the approach set out in our Complaints Scheme, our remedies statement, and the statutory framework within which we operate.

As part of this process, we have conducted an initial review of LCF investors’ direct communications with the FCA over the period between 1 April 2014 and 10 December 2018, the date of the FCA’s first regulatory intervention. As noted in Dame Elizabeth Gloster’s report, we have identified investors who were given incorrect information in these direct communications with the FCA which may have led them to conclude their investment would be safer than it was. While we do not believe this was the primary cause of these investors’ losses, those direct communications may have been a factor in their decision to invest, or to remain invested. While each case will be given individual consideration, given the exceptional circumstances the FCA intends to offer ex gratia payments to the small number of investors who fall into this category who have not already been compensated by the FSCS.

We will be contacting those investors directly to discuss the details of the payments and how they will interact with the government compensation scheme and any payments made by the FSCS. We will contact investors in this group irrespective of whether they have yet made a complaint to the FCA.

Complaints by other investors will be considered individually in accordance with the Complaints Scheme. Whilst we do not expect to make ex gratia compensatory payments to these investors, we will be writing to the majority of complainants, acknowledging the errors we made in relation to LCF, reiterating our apology and ensuring they have full information about the government scheme.

We anticipate being able to provide a response to complainants by the end of June.

We are making good progress in implementing the recommendations in Dame Elizabeth Gloster’s review and continue to reform the way the FCA operates through our transformation programme, to better protect consumers in future.

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05/10/2021: Information added Update: 5 October 2021.