The Gary Hexley scandal grows more scandalous by the day, a crazy metaphor for the 21st century’s obsession with bureaucracy and endless paper-shuffling.
For those unfamiliar with the saga, around 250 investors, many of them elderly, lost more than £2 million when Sutton Coldfield property firm Greenfield International went bust in the autumn of 2010.
Greenfield was a firm which grew out of a web of companies linked to Gary Hexley, a financial adviser. Hexley was made bankrupt in May 2010 with debts of £979,820. He was later banned by the Financial Services Authority.
In November last year the disgraced financier was arrested on suspicion of duping his clients and the FSA investigation is ongoing.
Meanwhile, dozens of investors, some of whom lost up to £80,000, are continuing to fight for redress through the Financial Services Compensation Scheme. Those are the basic facts. But they only scratch the surface of this Kafkaesque nightmare, which has been highlighted in the Commons by Tamworth MP Christopher Pincher.
Despite a near two-year time lag, only a tiny handful of investors have been compensated so far.
One, pensioner Bill Shackleford, first applied for compensation in October 2010 after losing £32,728. He was rejected on the grounds that his investments were not covered by the necessary regulation, although he has documentary proof to the contrary.
Bill tried again in early October 2011, and his case was reviewed. He was told by the FSCS that a decision on his claim for a payout should be made in six months. Nearly nine months on and counting, Bill is yet to receive a penny. His second application has, for reasons only known to the FSCS, been outsourced twice to Capita Hartshead, a pension administrator.
Bill has repeatedly pressed the various authorities involved in the Hexley saga, from the FSCS to the FSA, the Insolvency Service, liquidators, MPs and Hexley himself, for answers.
Almost invariably, he has met a brick wall of obfuscation and incompetence. With the exception of MP Christopher Pincher, the authorities have hid behind a time-serving ineptitude.
Quite why the FSCS needs more than a few minutes, or possibly even a whole day, to rule on Bill’s payout is unclear. Either he is eligible, or he is not. It is truly shameful that he, and many others, are still having to wait for financial justice.