UK court rules LCF bondholders not eligible for compensation

LONDON, March 29 (Reuters) - Bondholders hit by the collapse of investment firm London Capital & Finance (LCF) cannot recover their losses under Britain’s Financial Services Compensation Scheme, a UK High Court ruled on Monday.

The ruling will add to pressure on the government to stump up more cash after it said last year it would set up a scheme to determine if some of the bondholders could be paid a one-off payment in certain circumstances.

The bondholders had sought a judicial review of a decision by the FSCS to reject most of their claims.

The High Court agreed with the FSCS on Monday that the bonds sold by LCF don’t meet the scheme’s conditions for compensation.

“It goes without saying that the Claimants and their fellow investors deserve the greatest sympathy for the plight in which LCF left them. Nevertheless, despite the force, lucidity and skill with which their case was advanced before me, the claim must be dismissed,” the ruling said.

Thomas Donegan, a partner at law firm Shearman & Sterling, which is representing a group of LCF bondholders, said the bondholders intend to seek permission to appeal the decision.

LCF went bust in early 2019, leaving 11,600 bonholders facing losses of up to 267 million pounds. LCF was regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority, but the mini-bonds were unregulated.

The FSCS, which had no immediate comment on Monday’s court ruling, said in December it had paid just over 50.9 million pounds to 2,584 LCH bondholders who held 3,400 LCF bonds. (Reporting by Huw Jones Editing by Peter Graff)