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FCA resumes disciplinary action against Keydata’s Stewart Ford


The Financial Conduct Authority has restarted disciplinary proceedings against Keydata founder Stewart Ford after he lost an appeal to have previous FSA investigators taken off the case.

Ford won a High Court judicial review against the FSA in October 2011 after a judge ruled the FSA had used legally privileged information as part of its investigation into the collapse of Keydata.

Mr Justice Burnett ruled two out of eight documents on which the FSA’s investigation was built should not have been passed to the FSA by Ford’s former lawyers Irwin Mitchell via Keydata’s administrators PricewaterhouseCoopers. The documents were subsequently destroyed.

Ford then launched a legal bid to exclude anyone who had seen the privileged emails from continuing to work on the regulator’s case against Ford and Keydata. This was turned down by the High Court, which Ford then applied for permission to appeal.

The Court of Appeal turned down the appeal application last week.

The FCA says: “We are now taking steps to restart disciplinary proceedings against Mr Ford and Keydata. We cannot provide further information about our investigation because of confidentiality restrictions on disclosure of information.

“Our ongoing investigation into Keydata and Mr Ford is at an advanced stage. This serious and complex investigation remains a priority for us and we are committed to concluding the matter.”

Keydata entered into administration in June 2009, and the collapse of the company prompted a £326m Financial Services Compensation Scheme interim industry levy in 2011.

Advisers who recommended Keydata are now fighting legal claims brought by the FSCS to recoup some of the money paid out in compensation to Keydata investors. 


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There are 4 comments at the moment, we would love to hear your opinion too.

  1. Disciplinary action?? Just get some money off him so that those who were unwise enough to use his products will have the Hebert Smith Hounds called off.

    Anything else is just stable door tactics. You won’t get very far with him in Switzerland. He should worry if you ban him from UK financial services. My bet is you’ll also be lucky to squeeze a penny out of him as most of his assets are in Caribbean Trusts. So what in effect will you achieve?

    Just more expense (which we have to pay for) with practically nothing to show for it. Even if you did fine him – where does the fine money go? Not for the benefit of the regulated. So all in all it just seems to be a jobsworth exercise. I thought the FCA was to be a new broom?

  2. Why are they chasing Ford when Herbert Smith says it is the advisers fault, as everything with the name keydata on it was missold?

  3. If ever a horse has bolted it is this one. The money has long ago been placed out of reach. This now smacks of “we’ll get you if it kills us Mr Ford” and the cost of inquiry will be met from our captive levy payers.

  4. This disciplinary process needs to be completed. We have been waiting for that for three years.

    Until it is we have been told that there can be no inquiry into the unbelievable farrago of the Keydata/Lifemark/associated others affair.

    We who have lost our savings (or part of) need to know what really happened here.

    Why – for example – was £350M of our savings – mostly UK pensioner’s – allowed to disappear into a Luxembourg black hole (Lifemark SA) when the Directors of the associated UK Company (Keydata) were aleady under FSA enforcement – and those same directors – right under the supposedly beady eye of the FSA – were creaming off extortionate and undeclared “commissions and fees” out of our savings through Lifemark? (and other associated offshore Companies) And how much of our savings was really spent on the assets which were supposed to have been purchased for us? Why were no accounts – or any sort of financial report – ever published during the 4 years during which Lifemark was under Administration?

    I can think of several more key questions which the FSA/FCA should be called upon to answer within the framework of a proper inquiry but in summary I would like an answer to the following conundrum –

    If a sufficient and fair proportion of our savings was indeed used to purchase appropriate assets – who is responsible for losing (or appropriating) 85% of their value of their value since Keydate was taken into Administration June in 2009?

    And – if that was not so – in other words we were defrauded – why has no criminal action been taken or is planned against those responsible for that?

    The publishing of the disciplinary findings of the FSA/FCA will not be the final chapter in this saga if I have my way.

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