Thursday, 24 December 2015

Secured Energy Bond investors continue to battle to bring wrongdoers to account and get their money back

It is now almost a year since Secured Energy Bonds (SEB) defaulted on interest payments to bond holders and went into administration.
Some might wonder how far things have advanced in that time. There has been much effort from investors to get their money back with the formation of the Investors Action Group (IAG).
More than 100 MPs have been contacted, with government ministers, the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) and the Financial Ombudsman Service (FOS) all amongst those informed about the situation.
At present a number of investors await a decision from the FOS as to whether they can proceed to consider the case against Independent Portfolio Managers (IPM). The initial indications were that the FOS believe the case does come within their jurisdiction. However, IPM have challenged this. A new FOS adjudicator is now considering matters, prior to hopefully moving forward.
There is growing frustration amongst investors. The feeling that the authorities, regulatory and otherwise, are kicking the issue around amongst themselves to little effect. The hope is that there is an effort being made to find a just resolution for investors but the ongoing delays do not foster confidence. A little more from administrators Grant Thornton wouldn't go amiss either.
There has been some media coverage of the SEB case, with notable articles in the Guardian, FT and Independent but others have remained silent.
It has been surprising that newspapers like the Telegraph, Times, Sunday Times and Daily Mail seem so disinterested in the story. Possibly even more surprising is the lack of interest shown by the BBC Radio 4 programme Moneybox, which despite several approaches has done nothing to date.
The struggle for investors is trying to get over the nature of the offence they have been forced to endure. Even those that have covered the story do not seem to have written the headline big enough, namely that the Australian company CBD Energy took out £5 million plus of the money invested to buy solar panels for schools and used it for other purposes. This is the nub of the offence that most of the money invested in good faith was not used for the purpose that those investing the money intended and were led to believe it would be.

Even those writing about the case have contextualised the story in terms of it being a risky venture that could sink at any time. The reality is that it was not a risky venture, had CBD Energy not swiped most the money for something else altogether. It has been an outrageous injustice, that really should be getting a wider audience.
The IAG is fighting not only to get the money back of investors in SEB but also to ensure that the law and regulatory framework is changed so that such an injustice cannot be perpetrated on another bunch of innocent people in the future.
At present the wheels of justice seem to be moving extremely slowly but make no mistake the IAG are going nowhere and will continue battling until this wrong is righted and cannot be repeated.

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