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FCA sets aside £1.7m for Clifford Chance’s insurance industry probe

The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) has set aside £1.7m for the independent inquiry being conducted by Clifford Chance (CC) into the regulatory body’s botched announcement of an investigation into the insurance industry, a freedom of information request has revealed.

The FCA in March commissioned an independent inquiry into events leading up to and following the publication of its intention to review certain long-term life assurance products on the 27 and 28 March – a plan that was revealed to The Daily Telegraph, causing billions of pounds to be wiped off the share price of some of the UK’s largest insurance firms.

The review was included in the FCA’s business plan, which was published on 31 March 2014 and is being led by CC’s senior commercial litigation partner Simon Davis.

A freedom of information request submitted by the BBC and broadcast on Radio 4 on Saturday 14 June revealed that the FCA set aside a provision of £1.7m for the costs based on a preliminary estimate. Clifford Chance (CC) has so far invoiced the body £116,845, excluding VAT, to carry out the review.

With the body’s annual accounts due to be published next month, the FCA will publish a final figure on total costs once the inquiry is completed.

The FCA has stated the aim is to publish the final report ‘as quickly as is reasonably possible, bearing in mind the time needed by Davis to complete his investigation and allow any individuals subject to potential criticism an opportunity to make representations in response to the inquiry’s proposed findings’.

Other recent high profile investigations run by CC include an independent inquiry for the Royal Bank of Scotland on the treatment received by small business customers in financial distress, following allegations that the bank deliberately drove them to collapse for its own gain.

Another high profile win saw Travers Smith lead the investigation into allegations of forex manipulation at the Bank of England alongside One Essex Court silk Tony Grabiner QC.