Sunday, January 10, 2010

FSA wakes up in 2010

After years of rather tepid action, the UK's Financial Services Authority has shown signs of life in 2010. The Times reports that the regulator has issued summons to former directors of iSoft, including Patrick Cryne, its founder and former chairman. Others implicated are Timothy Whiston, the former chief executive, and former directors Stephen Graham and John Whelan. They are required to appear at a Magistrates Court to answer charges for conspiracy to make misleading statements. If convicted, they face up to 7 years in jail. Here are more details:
The regulator began investigating iSoft in 2006 after it told the London Stock Exchange that it had been booking profits relating to its work on a giant NHS computer project when the contracts were signed rather than when it actually received payment. The revelation forced iSoft, which was worth £1 billion at its stockmarket peak, to restate its accounts by £174 million and led to the resignation of several key executives.
This is small fry. The FSA has to act against the big fish in order to be taken seriously. Otherwise, it will continue to be regarded as a poor cousin to the SEC.