Split-cap compensation fund holds firm to Monday deadline

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The split-capital investment trust compensation fund has said it is sticking to its Monday deadline for applications, resisting calls from MPs and investors to extend the closing date due to a reputed string of administrative errors.

The £144m fund - named Fund Distribution Limited - has come under pressure over the past two weeks to extend its deadline after some customers said they had not received application forms they had requested. Others complained that they needed more time to fill in the complex 10-page document.

John McFall, the chairman of the Treasury Select Committee, has been one of the highest profile figures to voice his dissatisfaction, claiming that the application forms were "intimidating" and warning that the scheme was excessively bureaucratic.

"We must ensure that the overwhelming majority of people affected are compensated - that should be the criteria. That's going to be the acid test of this whole process," he said.

"It's also very important that the administration is efficient to ensure people get their money as quickly as possible."

A spokesman for Fund Distribution said on Thursday that more than 30,000 of an estimated 50,000 eligible investors had returned their forms, and dismissed claims that administrative errors had been widespread. He added that 50,000 was an estimate of the number of eligible investors and that there may in fact be fewer.

The fund, being run by the former HBOS finance director Mike Ellis, began sending out forms to investors at the beginning of April, and has maintained that its deadline of 4.30pm on 18 July would be final. Investors who fail to return forms by that date will be given no further chance to claim their compensation.

Once the doors close on Monday afternoon, the fund will begin the process of calculating how much compensation will be paid. It is thought that investors will receive no more than 60p for every pound lost.

Only investors in zero dividend preference shares between 2000 and 2002 will be eligible for compensation. Those who believe they are eligible and have yet to claim should call the helpline as soon as possible on 0845 606 6389.

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