Resolution Statement – 19479-17 Lendy Ltd v The Daily Telegraph
Summary of complaint
1. Lendy Ltd complained to the Independent Press Standards Organisation that The Daily Telegraph breached Clause 1 (Accuracy) of the Editors’ Code of Practice in an article headlined “Watchdog investigates Lendy Finance aid default concerns”, published on 9 October 2017. The article was also published online with the headline: Lendy Finance’s property valuations in FCA spotlight.
2. The article reported that the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) was “understood to be poring over the books of Lendy Finance amid growing concerns over the peer-to-peer lender’s property valuations and the methodology the wider industry uses evaluate defaults”. The article reported that the complainant had said that “as part of our application for full FCA authorisation, we meet with the FCA on a regular basis”.
3. The complainant said that it was categorically untrue that it was being investigated by the FCA. It said that the FCA were at its offices only as part of its application for full FCA authorisation. It said that the headline had no basis in fact, and was grossly misleading.
4. The newspaper said that it had been told by a confidential source that the FCA had visited the complainant in connection with concerns about its default positions and how property valuations were made. It said that it contacted the complainant prior to publication, to ask for its response to this information. It said that the complainant’s response was reported in the article. The newspaper said that it was not unreasonable to summarise the FCA's visit as an “investigation” in the headline - where the article made clear the basis for this.
Relevant Code Provisions
5. Clause 1 (Accuracy)
i) The Press must take care not to publish inaccurate, misleading or distorted information or images, including headlines not supported by the text.
ii) A significant inaccuracy, misleading statement or distortion must be corrected, promptly and with due prominence, and — where appropriate — an apology published. In cases involving IPSO, due prominence should be as required by the regulator.
iii) A fair opportunity to reply to significant inaccuracies should be given, when reasonably called for.
iv) The Press, while free to editorialise and campaign, must distinguish clearly between comment, conjecture and fact.
6. The complaint was not resolved through direct correspondence between the parties. IPSO therefore began an investigation into the matter.
7. Following IPSO’s intervention, the newspaper offered to publish the following wording on page 2 of its Business section, and as a footnote to the online article:
Following our 9 Oct article, "Watchdog investigates Lendy Finance amid default concerns", we wish to make clear that the company is not under investigation as part of a formal FCA enquiry. Lendy has further asked us to put its position that the FCA visit on which the article reported was a routine part of the company's application for full FCA authorisation. We are happy to do so.
8. The complainant said that this would resolve the matter to its satisfaction.
9. As the complaint was successfully mediated, the Complaints Committee did not make a determination as to whether there had been any breach of the Code.
Date complaint received: 29/10/2017
Date complaint concluded by IPSO: 14/11/2017
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