DeVere Group has revealed to Financial Adviser that it plans to take legal action against the creators of a site that portrays itself as part of deVere.
The site contains a long list of criticism against the way the firm operates, accusing deVere of excessive charges and aggressive sales tactics.
Last week, an email was sent to members of the press with links to the spoof deVere website; this had copied the colour, font and branding of the genuine deVere site.
The email made claims regarding the activities of the deVere group and its owner.
The email, seen by Financial Adviser, said: “Behind all the expensive promotional material and PR, it is really just a sales company which has developed a reputation for aggressively and indiscriminately selling substandard financial products to people for whom these services are inappropriate.”
When asked about the website, a spokesman from deVere said: “This would appear to be a highly organised attack on a legitimate, well-established and regulated organisation.
“It is extremely well-planned and uses almost identical branding of the bonafide deVere Group.
“It can be reasonably assumed that this website, which offers defamatory, libelous, false allegations, has been set up by someone for their own personal and/or professional gain.
“Thorough internal and external investigations as well as legal proceedings are now underway against the perpetrator(s) of this shameful action.”
The creators of the website had yet to respond to deVere’s criticism of their website at the time Financial Adviser published this article.
When asked about the website, a spokesman for the FCA said: “It is clear that this website is a spoof so would not be in our remit. But for a site which could be a clone, we would encourage firms who are concerned to get in touch with us.
“Section 24 of the Financial Services and Markets Act 2000 makes it a criminal offence to claim to be FCA authorised or exempt when you are not.”