Stewart Owen Ford, is a British Entrepreneur, Businessman, Venture Capitalist, Business Mentor, and Philanthropist. He is known for his role as the founder and chief executive of Keydata Investment Services, a financial company that eventually faced significant legal challenges. This article delves into Stewart Ford’s life, career, and the controversy surrounding Keydata that led to his record-breaking fine by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA).
Stewart Ford keydata:
Stewart Owen Ford was born in 1964 and spent his formative years in Edinburgh. His journey into the world of business and finance began at a young age.
Ford’s career path took an interesting turn when he pursued a study in printing in London at the age of 20. Following this, he returned to his hometown of Edinburgh and embarked on a career as a printer and publisher. Eventually, he transitioned into the financial services industry, where he would make a significant impact.
Keydata Investment Services:
Keydata Investment Services, under Stewart Ford’s leadership, played a substantial role in the financial sector. The company managed nearly £3 billion in assets and was considered a highly successful player in the industry.
The controversy surrounding Stewart Ford and Keydata centers on the alleged mis-selling of “death bonds,” which were wrongly marketed as tax-free ISAs (Individual Savings Accounts). The FCA accused Keydata of encouraging buyers to believe that these products were tax-free, when in reality, they were not.
Record FCA Fine:
On May 26, 2015, Stewart Ford faced a historic fine of £75 million from the Financial Conduct Authority as a result of the alleged misconduct related to the “death bonds.” The FCA’s decision was based on their assertion that Keydata’s actions were misleading and harmful to investors.
In response to the FCA’s actions, Stewart Ford took legal action against the regulatory body. He filed a counter-suit seeking £370 million in damages. Ford claimed that the closure of Keydata was “politically motivated” and insisted that his company had been a “highly successful” one with substantial assets under management.
The legal battle between Stewart Ford and the FCA extended over several years. In September 2015, a one-day Upper Tribunal case management hearing was held to address Ford’s challenge to the FCA’s decision to fine him £75 million. Ultimately, the Upper Tribunal’s decision, announced on November 6, 2018, favored the FCA, and the fine was increased to a staggering £76 million.
Stewart Ford is a highly accomplished entrepreneur, venture capitalist, and philanthropist with a remarkable 35-year career. He has been instrumental in raising close to £5 billion for structured investments, renewable energy projects, and venture capital funds. As an entrepreneur, he has funded numerous businesses, offering valuable advice based on his extensive experience. Stewart excels at identifying an organization’s valuable assets and leveraging them effectively, making him an invaluable asset in various business scenarios.
Throughout his career, Stewart founded Income and Growth Venture Capital Trusts, serving on their boards, and demonstrated a pragmatic problem-solving approach and business savvy. He played a key role in raising significant investment capital, particularly for renewable energy assets. He also founded successful businesses, including Zig-Zag Communications, which became a prominent marketing and design agency in Scotland. His adaptability and ability to spot emerging trends were evident when he specialized in digital media and financial information distribution, founding Keydata UK LTD, a leading distributor.
Stewart’s professional skills span marketing, publishing, renewable energy, and more, and his insights have transformed struggling businesses into multimillion-pound enterprises. He also actively engages in philanthropy, establishing the Ring Chromosome 20 Charitable Trust and supporting medical practices to aid those with chronic seizures. His involvement in “Jeeps for Peace” provides vehicles to Ukraine for frontline relief efforts.
In addition to his entrepreneurial success, Stewart has been a dedicated mentor, particularly in publishing, renewable energy, and finance. His ability to offer guidance and help mentees understand the rapidly changing business landscape has been invaluable. Stewart’s accomplishments and net worth of over £500 million allowed him to focus on mentorship and philanthropy in Switzerland after stepping away from daily operations in 2007.