The official Inquiry into the collapse of Woodford Equity Income Fund will not report this year, the FCA chief executive has said.
In a letter to the head of the Treasury Committee, Nikhil Rathi, the FCA’s chief executive, said that the investigation had made ‘substantial progress’ and that he was ‘confident the investigation work will be completed by the end of this year’.
However, Rathi added while current lines of enquiries were nearly complete, further steps will be needed with the possibility of re-interviewing witnesses that might give rise to additional lines of enquiry.
“For the reasons set out above, I am unable to give a precise timeline for any public indication of the outcome.”
“To date, we have conducted 14 witness interviews, with all key interviews now having been completed,” said the letter.
“The investigation team has also issued over 30 information requirements which have led to the gathering of over 20, 000 items of relevant material from all the key parties.”
“I appreciate it may be frustrating that I am unable to provide further details regarding the investigation. However, it is necessary to preserve the confidentiality of the matters that are under consideration,” Rathi added.
One time star Neil Woodford was removed as manager of the Equity Fund in October 2019 and shut down his investment business Woodford Investment Management shortly after.
Woodford Equity Income went into administration into 2019 with savers today still owed around GBP200mln.
The controversial investor sparked a new row earlier this year when it was revealed he was setting a new fund management firm in partnership with US biotech investor Acacia Research, the firm that bought many of the unlisted investments in the Equity Fund.
Rathi’s letter added: “In furtherance of our consumer protection objective, we remain in close supervisory contact with the firm and we will continue to engage with authorities in overseas jurisdictions about any potential future activities of the firm or its principals.”