03/20/2012 : Founder and erstwhile CEO Conor Foley not returning calls
The sad saga of the failure of the financial spead betting firm Worldspreads took a new turn Monday when the FSA called in the police to probe the collapsed company over alleged financial irregularities that will leave clients millions of pounds out of pocket.
UK mainstream and business media took up the story, reporting that founder and erstwhile chief exec Conor Foley, who departed the firm after issuing a profit warning last month was not returning calls.
Various sources said that police investigations may centre on whether the company accounts were falsified. Finance director Niall O’Kelly has also left the company, resigning after the profit warning.
Meanwhile there are rumours that ETX Capital is in talks with administrators at KPMG over buying some of the firm’s ‘residual assets’.
Insiders said there was little logic in buying the company itself, because it owes its 15,000 clients GBP 31 million of their own money but has only GBP 16 million in the bank, allegedly in unsegregated accounts.
In a statement on Monday morning announcing the appointment of accountants KPMG as administrators, the company said: "The board of directors believe that as at close of business on Friday 16 March 2012, there was a shortfall of client money at WorldSpreads Limited of approximately GBP 13 million, and that gross amounts owed to clients are approximately GBP 29.7 million whereas the total cash balances available to the company are approximately GBP 16.6 million."
The Guardian newspaper reported that KPMG will attempt to sell the company's technology.
However, the accountants are unlikely to be able to recoup any money for clients by selling WorldSpreads' customer database, which contains around 3,000 active traders, as the terms and conditions that punters signed up to do not permit such a move.