CITY WHISPERS: City regulator FCA shuns probe into Home REIT scandal

CITY WHISPERS: City regulator FCA shuns probe into Home REIT scandal

Exasperated shareholders in Home REIT have approved a change to the firm’s investment policy that effectively abandons its focus on providing housing for vulnerable people.

The company has also admitted that Knight Frank, the real estate firm which performed the initial valuation of its portfolio, had quit in May because it couldn’t stand behind its own figures.

The ongoing farce has sparked calls for the FCA, the City regulator, to join the officials and law firms investigating Home REIT to see if it misled investors – or at least to delist its still-suspended shares from the stock market.

Change of direction: Exasperated shareholders in Home REIT have approved a change to the firm’s investment policy

But so far the regulator is keeping quiet, telling Whispers it is ‘not able to comment either way’ on whether it will launch a probe into the matter.

With the firm’s business model now completely overhauled and a new board member due to arrive to try to salvage the situation, one wonders if the watchdog has lost some of its teeth.

Inflation and drug epidemics fuel US shoplifting surge 

The UK media was recently abuzz with reports of would-be looters amassing in London’s Oxford Street expecting a TikTok-inspired mass robbery. 

But the situation here is a world away from the US where inflation and drug epidemics have led to a surge in shoplifting. 

The American sporting goods chain Dick’s warned last week that the ‘increasingly serious’ crime was contributing to ‘item losses’, also known as…ahem, ‘shrinkage’. 

Brics alliance not in best shape 

While most finance watchers were eyeing the central bankers meeting in Wyoming, another global event was taking place on a different continent.

Members of the Brics alliance – Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa – met in Johannesburg and proposed expanding the bloc by inviting in nations including Saudi Arabia, Iran, Egypt and the United Arab Emirates.

But it’s safe to say the group has been in better shape.

Russia is embroiled in a war in Ukraine while China is facing a looming economic crunch and recently engaged in border clashes with India. 

Meanwhile, South African president Cyril Ramaphosa is recovering in the wake of a corruption scandal.

With friends like these who needs enemies?

Odey among distraught at Le Gavroche closure

Double Michelin-starred eatery Le Gavroche, a favourite of many financiers in London’s Mayfair, announced last week that it will be closing its doors in a blow to posh foodies across the capital.

Among the distraught will be investment manager Crispin Odey. 

The French haute cuisine establishment was one of his favourite haunts before he was ousted from his own firm after a tidal wave of harassment allegations, which he denies.

His hedge fund, Odey Asset Management, which is currently in the process of being dismembered as a result of the scandal, was also a prolific customer with employees often ordering Le Gavroche takeaways to fuel their long hours in the office.