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Marketspreads hopes to begin returning funds

Executives from Marketspreads will meet Central Bank officials this afternoon to thrash out a solution that will enable the spread-betting firm to begin returning funds to its clients.

The meeting comes as accountancy firm Grant Thornton was yesterday polishing off a report commissioned by Marketspreads at the Central Bank's request.

The watchdog had said it wanted the report to "provide assurances to the Central Bank that all client liabilities are matched with segregated funds as reported by the directors".

The Central Bank told Marketspreads last week to halt the provision of investment services to new and existing clients. It took the surprise move because it said auditors Ernst & Young had been unable to express an opinion over 2009 accounts, when Marketspreads was still part of the Worldspreads group.

In 2010, Marketspreads, which has about 2,000 clients, was spun off in a management buyout. It's headed by joint acting chief executives John McGlade and John McNicholl.

"We meet with the Central Bank at 2.30pm and will work with them to resolve all issues as quickly as possible," said Mr McGlade.

Marketspreads' management, who had been closely working with the Central Bank, were taken unawares by the regulator's move but failed in an effort to secure a High Court injunction to prevent it.

Marketspreads told clients that its customer funds were "100pc segregated and intact".

It's understood the Grant Thornton report will echo that. That could prompt the Central Bank to allow Marketspreads to begin distributing up to €10m in funds to clients who request them.

Irish Independent