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Last week I led a debate in Parliament on a scandal that has seen thousands of people lose their life savings.

I was allocated a short “adjournment debate” as the last item of business at Westminster on Wednesday 30 June on the subject of “The Financial Conduct Authority and the collapse of Blackmore Bond plc”.

In just over two years from 2016 to 2018 Blackmore Bond plc raised £46 million in loans, sometimes called mini-bonds, from private investors. The company offered guarantees that they would get their money back, with interest. By 2019 it was obvious the company was in serious trouble and in April 2020 they went into Administration. By that time the £46 million had gone and the investors stand to lose all their money. One of my constituents is likely to lose his entire life savings.

Most investors were not wealthy individuals, they were people looking for a secure home for a redundancy or retirement lump sum. It was money they could not afford to lose and they should never have been encouraged to invest it in such a high risk scheme.

The Financial Conduct Authority which is supposed to regulate investment activities has claimed that Blackmore Bond’s activities were beyond the scope of their powers but they were warned in 2017 that there was something not right about what the company was doing, and there were court documents from 2015 that should have made them take these warnings seriously.

I was pleased to have the chance to put this information on the parliamentary record and to have a Minister from the Treasury respond.

This will definitely not be the end of the matter. There’s been a much wider failure of the whole regulatory system and I hope in due course to be able to highlight those as well. I’m aware of pension and investment scheme collapses that have cost ordinary people over £1 billion from their pensions or savings. If those responsible have broken the law they should be pursued relentlessly and made to answer in court. If what they’ve been doing is legal we need to change the law.

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