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FCA breached Freedom of Information Act over Keydata

The Information Commissioner’s Office has ruled the FCA breached the Freedom of Information Act by failing to respond to a FoI request on its investigation into Keydata.

In a decision published earlier this month, the ICO upheld a complaint against the FCA and ruled it must process the request within 35 days. Failure to do so could result in court action.

The unnamed complainant contacted the FSA in December 2012 requesting information relating to its 2007 review of Keydata’s traded life policy investments and their distribution by advisers.

The FSA responded last January to say a number of points would be outside the scope of the act.

The complainant then sent a revised application, which included requests for internal communications between the investigation team and senior management, and internal communications regarding the FSA’s decision not to publish the Keydata review.

The FCA says the request would exceed the cost limit of £450 per request as it would take too long to extract the information from documents.

But the ICO says the FCA could complete the request in the required time by releasing all relevant documents, rather than extracting information from them.

The FCA has the right to appeal the decision and take it to a tribunal.

A spokeswoman for the FCA says: “We will consider the judgment. No decision has been made on an appeal at this stage.”

The FSA came under fire from the Complaints Commissioner in May 2011 after sending out confidential information related to its Keydata investigation on unencrypted discs.

Facts & Figures Financial Planners managing director Simon Webster says: “The FCA has not covered itself in glory with its past actions on Keydata. It is important the regulator is as transparent as possible.”

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