The FSA may appoint investigators into a collective investment scheme if it appears to it that it is in the interests of the participants or potential participants to do so or that the matter is of public concern (section 284(1) (Power to investigate)). In most cases it expects that those involved (such as managers of schemes) will provide information without the FSA having to use its formal powers. In other cases, circumstances may be such that the FSA relies on its general investigative powers. However, in some cases the use of the section 284 power may be more appropriate.
The types of concern that may prompt the FSA to use its powers under section 284 cannot be listed exhaustively. They will include any matters that could affect the interests of participants or potential participants or matters that could be of public concern, including questions about the nature and propriety of assets held by the scheme or the accuracy and propriety of valuation of units in the scheme. When considering whether to use the powers, factors that the FSA will take into account include:
the seriousness, in the FSA's opinion, of the matter of concern;
the degree to which the interests of consumers may be affected;
whether confidentiality obligations may inhibit individuals from giving information without the FSA having to use its formal powers.