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£13m black hole at spread bet firm Worldspreads 19/03/2012
Press Association
WorldSpreads, which runs online and telephone trading services, was placed into administration over the weekend after 'accounting irregularities' were found

Customers of a spread betting firm are likely to be left seeking compensation after administrators discovered a £13m black hole in its accounts.

WorldSpreads, which runs online and telephone trading services, was placed into administration over the weekend after "accounting irregularities" were found.

Administrators at KPMG said the group's 15,000 customers were owed £29.7m but the group has only £16.6m of cash, leaving them facing a large shortfall.

However, customers may be reimbursed up to £50,000 by the industry's Financial Services Compensation Scheme, depending on their circumstances.

On Wednesday, chief executive and co-founder Conor Foley resigned, two weeks after chief financial officer Niall O'Kelly stepped down following a profits warning.

Its shares were suspended from trading on the Alternative Investment Market on Friday.

Redundancies among the firm's 66 staff - most of whom are based in London - are likely as administrators wind down the business. WorldSpreads is based in London and its parent company is in Dublin.

The Financial Times reported that WorldSpreads mixed money from customers' accounts, which should have been segregated, with its own funds.

The industry's compensation scheme pays up to £50,000, mainly for individuals and small firms. But some of its clients, including other spread betting firms, are believed to be owed larger sums, raising the prospect of a lengthy legal struggle.

The Financial Services Authority said: "Clients should be aware that any shortfall in the client money accounts will impact the amount of money that can be returned."

Special Administrators appointed to Worldspreads Limited
Upon the application of the directors of Worldspreads Limited, on 18 March 2012, the High Court appointed Jane Moriarty and Samantha Bewick of KPMG LLP as joint special administrators of Worldspreads Limited, under the Special Administration Regime (SAR). Worldspreads Limited is a wholly owned subsidiary of Worldspreads plc, a company incorporated in Dublin, Ireland.

The administration of Worldspreads Limited follows the discovery of accounting irregularities which the company became aware of during the course of Friday 16 March 2012. Following this it quickly became apparent that there was a shortfall in client monies and the directors and their advisors concluded that the best course of action, in order to mitigate losses for clients, would be to place the company into special administration.

For all non-press queries about Worldspreads Limited, please contact: 020 3284 8829

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