SIB critical of Imro over Maxwell

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The Independent Online
THE Securities and Investments Board's eagerly-awaited verdict on the supervision of firms that managed the Maxwell pension funds is expected to add to criticism of the Investment Management Regulatory Organisation.

The SIB, the senior regulator of the financial community, has reviewed Imro's performance and its own, and has passed its assessments to the Treasury. According to a weekend report, whose accuracy the SIB would not confirm yesterday, the SIB's draft statement 'draws certain more severe conclusions . . . than does Imro'.

The SIB considered punishing Imro by withdrawing its recognition, but rejected such drastic action. The draft, obtained by the Observer, said: 'The SIB has had to decide whether Imro's failings are so fundamental that its recognition should be withdrawn, or whether its recognition should be retained based on appropriate strengthening. The board is unanimously of the view that it should be the latter and will be working with Imro to that end.'

Imro's admission of its share of the blame for the Maxwell scandal led to George Nissen's resignation last week as chairman.

Imro is concerned that its frankness should not obscure the role played by others. In particular, it has highlighted the position of Robert Maxwell's accountants, fund managers and key employees who - though much better placed than itself to see what was going on - 'turned a blind eye'.

Many believe the Maxwell affair was made possible by the deficiencies of the trust law that governs pension schemes, and the difficulties trust law poses for the investor protection laws.

The SIB's report and the conclusions of Imro's own self-investigation are unlikely to be published before Thursday.