Regulation  

FCA issues warning over London wealth manager clone

The Financial Conduct Authority has issued a consumer alert warning of another clone firm that is targeting UK investors in the guise of a London-based wealth manager and brokerage.

The clone firm, which the regulator states it believes is targeting UK consumers, is running a website at the address www.blackbirdeurope.com that has no connection to Blackbird Europe Ltd, an authorised firm based on Kings Road in London.

The authorised Blackbird Europe operates a website at the web address www.blackbirdeuropeclear.com, which offers clients the ability to trade forex, contract for difference and derivative products.

Blackbird also has a wealth management arm that provides independent advice and discretionary services to “high net worth and mass affluent individuals”, as well as an asset management unit that operates a multi-asset managed account investment programme.

According to the FCA register, Blackbird has been authorised since 2001. A notice on the register indicates the firm is not authorised to handle client money.

In a separate notice, the FCA has also warned investors against doing business with Gilbert Webb Estates Ltd, which it says is not authorised to carry out regulated activities and which may also be targeting consumers.

The warning against Blackbird is the third over a clone firm in the past year.

In its previous guise of the Financial Services Authority, the regulator warned in August 2012 against a clone firm operating under the name Andrew Walker Associates, despite having no connection to a St James’s Place authorised person of a similar name.

This followed a warning in April 2012 that advised members of the public against investing in a clone of authorised firm Frontier Investment Management.

Investors have no recourse to complaints or compensation through the Financial Ombudsman Service or Financial Services Compensation Scheme if they deal with an unauthorised firm, the FCA stated.