BusinessCompany NewsSFO eyes split investment

SFO eyes split investment

Accountants and other independent financial advisers could be in the firing line of a Serious Fraud Office examination of the split capital investment trusts scandal.

Although the SFO said it did not have an ongoing investigation into the debacle, it admitted its director Rosalind Wright was ‘very interested’ in allegations made against those involved in the investment industry.

The Financial Services Authority is currently carrying out its own investigation of the splits industry, which portrayed the highly complex investment funds as ‘low-risk’.

A spokesman for the SFO said: ‘If the FSA came to the opinion that there was criminal malpractice, we would be the agency to take that forward.’

Earlier this year accountancy firms were implicated in advising clients to use split investment trusts, which rely on investing in each other’s funds to maintain returns.

However, no specific allegations have so far been made.

Aberdeen Asset Management was recently savaged over the crash of split capital investment trusts by MPs on the Commons Treasury Select Committee. MPs were critical of the firm’s claims that the capital growth part of the investment trust, were low risk.

KPMG, PricewaterhouseCoopers and Deloitte & Touche were named in April by Class Law as having advised clients to invest in the trusts.

Many investors, which had several different types of share separating income from capital returns, face losses of up to 90% as a result of falling stock markets and a âmagic circleå of funds that invested in each other.

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