Imro visits rise by more than 50%

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The Independent Online
MONITORING visits to investment management firms have risen by more than 50 per cent in the past 12 months, the Investment Management Regulatory Organisation, their regulatory watchdog, said yesterday, writes Nic Cicutti.

The Commons Treasury and Civil Service Committee heard that far tighter controls on investment managers have been put in place in the wake of the Maxwell pension fund scandal.

In the past 18 months the number of monitoring and enforcement officers at Imro has doubled to almost 80. Since June 1993 the regulator has levied one record fine of pounds 750,000 against Invesco MIM, the investment manager, and a second large fine of pounds 740,000 was imposed on Noble Lowndes over a series of regulatory offences.

The committee was yesterday questioning Phillip Thorpe, Imro's chief executive, on progress in preventing repetitions of the Maxwell pensions fraud.

Shortly after Robert Maxwell fell from his yacht off the Canary Islands, it was discovered that the media tycoon had systematically plundered his various companies' pension funds.

Imro then came under heavy attack for allowing the fraud to have taken place and was ordered by the Securities and Investments Board, the regulator's senior partner, to put in place a new regime to help foil any future frauds.

Mr Thorpe told the committee that he was confident that the new measures would prevent a repeat of Maxwell-type fraud.