FCA warns on four more unauthorised firms

The Financial Conduct Authority has issued warnings relating to four more companies that are not authorised to conduct regulated activities, but which may appear to be providing a form of regulated advice.

Greenfield Securities Limited, Eventus Consultancy JLT (trading as Eventus Alternatives), Hanover Associates Financial Services AG and Bforex are not authorised under the Financial Services and Markets Act 2000, according to the quartet of alerts. (*But see update relating to Eventus Alternatives below).

Last week (8 April), the FCA’s first in operation following the bifurcation of the Financial Services Authority, it issued four such warnings, which in turn came off the back of four warnings issued on the eve of the previous regulator’s split.

A source close to the situation told FTAdviser to expect a flood of these warnings, as the FCA seeks to take a more interventionist approach in relation to what constitutes regulated activities where it may not otherwise be clear.

The warnings do not indicate any wrongdoing on the part of the firms concerned.

Customers doing business through unauthorised companies will not have recourse to compensation from the Financial Services Compensation Scheme or Financial Ombudsman Service.

In particular the regulator warned that Greenfield may be targeting UK consumers, and listed authorised activities including advising on and arranging deals in investments among other things.

Although it is not authorised by the UK regulator, the Hanover Associates website says: “Hanover Associates is a leading global financial services company, advising clients in all aspects of finance, around the world, around the clock.”

The website of Cyprus-based Bforex was inoperative at the time of writing.

* Update: 28 November 2013

Lutfi and Co, a law firm acting on behalf of Eventus Alternatives, confirmed that the firm, which is based in the United Arab Emirates, had been contacted by the FCA in April 2013 regarding potential breaches of the Financial Services and Markets Act.

The law firm said it had worked with Eventus to revise all of its marketing materials “both electronic or otherwise” and that the FCA has since removed the firm from its list of “unauthorised firms and individuals”.

Eventus deals exclusively in brokerage services related to carbon credits, which are not a regulated product. The firm states that it only accepts client money from UK investors via FCA-regulated money transfer firm and executes all trades via a UK-based clearing house.

Additional reporting by Ashley Wassall