Regulation  

FCA issues fresh sextet of ‘clone’ firm warnings

In a fresh spate of alerts last week the Financial Conduct Authority warned consumers against dealing with six unauthorised firms that are using the name of regulated entities and high-pressure sales tactics to dupe investors.

As previously reported, one of these warnings concerned a clone of FCA-authorised Chelsea Financial Services that is using the London address of the clone firm in communications with prospective investors.

The regulator said the ‘clone’ is giving out the regulated firm’s postal address in Moore Park Road, London, to convince investors of its credentials, but it is giving out a different telephone number, email address and website address.

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The telephone address given is 0203 514 5582, while the email and web address given are www.chelseafinancial.org and info@chelseafinancial.org respectively. At the time of writing, the website is still active.

The FCA’s intervention comes after Chelsea itself reported the clone to the watchdog in December.

In another warning, the FCA said suspected ‘boiler-room’ fraudsters are using the name of FCA-authorised lender Skipton Building Society to target UK customers.

Virginia-based GlassRise Bank is claiming to work for Skipton but the FCA has said there is no association between the two and warned that scammers may give out other false details or mix these with some correct details of the authorised firm.

Other clones, which the FCA said are also likely to be high-pressure boiler room operations, were:

• London-based Zelomit Insurance, clone of FCA authorised Saffron Insurance Services Limited, based in Essex;

• London-based Alfred Weber Wealth Management, clone of EEA authorised Alfred Weber, based in Austria;

• Middlesex-based LGS Commerce Insurance, clone of FCA authorised Sunderland Marine Mutual Insurance Company Limited, based in Durham; and,

• London-based FE Wealth Management, clone of EEA authorised Frank Eppendahl, based in Germany.

Last week, the FCA also warned against four other financial services firms which may be targeting UK customers despite not having proper authorisation, which were:

• Hong-Kong based Asia World Capital;

• London-based Ledbury Moore;

• OffShore Private Bank Plc/OffShore Private Scotland Plc, operating online; and,

• Rochdale-based The Prime Mortgage & Finance Limited.

Investors who do business with unauthorised firms will not have recourse to the Financial Ombudsman Service or Financial Services Compensation Scheme should things go wrong.