FCA resumes disciplinary action against Keydata’s Stewart Ford

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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.