Watchdog asked to look into hedge funds use of polling companies

Treasury Select Committee chair Nicky Morgan has called for an investigation (Source: Getty)

The financial conduct watchdog will be asked to investigate the relationship between polling companies and hedge funds by the chair of Parliament's influential Treasury Committee.

Tory MP Nicky Morgan made the announcement after receiving a "disappointing" response from the British Polling Council (BPC) over concerns about the use of private survey data by financial institutions.

The relationship between hedge funds and the polling industry has come under scrutiny after speculators made millions when sterling crashed after the Brexit result was announced in June 2016 - just hours after Ukip leader Nigel Farage and a leading pollster claimed Remain had been victorious.

BPC chair Sir John Curtice told Morgan her suggestion that polling companies should be forced to disclose work for private contractors would not be enforceable.

He also called on Morgan to "substantiate or withdraw" her claim that there was a "perverse incentive for polling companies to provide misleading or inaccurate information to the media, while providing high-quality analysis on the true state of public opinion to private clients."

Morgan hit back by saying: "The Committee has not expressed a view on whether polling companies have acted on this perverse incentive. It noted that the incentive exists. I’ll be writing to the regulator for its view on the matter.”