Regulation 

Investment company shut down over misleading claims

Investment company shut down over misleading claims

An investment trading company has been closed down after it misled customers and used pressurised sales tactics to secure investment in "bogus" schemes.

Global Fin Services Limited (GFS) was wound up in the public interest at the High Court and the Official Receiver is now the liquidator of the company.

According to the Insolvency Service, GFS’s representatives made unsolicited calls to members of the public, often to people who had little or no experience of online trading.

Customers were subjected to highly pressurised sales tactics and were misled about the amount of returns made on investments.

Returns on investments quoted by GFS representatives ranged from 10-15 per cent a week or month, with a guarantee to cap losses at 10 per cent of the investment, or returns of between 50-100 per cent on deposits within 30 days.

Investors also complained that GFS made it difficult to withdraw their funds and when money was taken out, their accounts would suffer losses.

In a ploy to recover money that was taken out, GFS’ account managers would then urge customers they needed to invest more to enable them to try and recover the losses.

Irshard Mohammed, chief investigator for the Insolvency Service, said: "GFS had a blatant disregard for their customers. They preyed on people who had little to no experience in making investments of this nature, using unscrupulous tactics to secure funds.

"We are pleased that the courts have shut down this company, saving any more people losing their money and we hope this sends a strong message that we will robustly investigate and take action where people’s funds and savings are at risk."

GFS, which was incorporated in 2015 and was based in London, offered an online platform for trading forex, derivatives and other investments via the website ‘www.trade12.com’.

Its customers were predominantly located in South East Asia, Russia, Belarus and Ukraine.

Investigators found no evidence funds paid through the website were invested as the sales representatives said they would be and GFS failed to provide any of its accounting records, while also claiming they provided clearing services for its holding company, Exo Capital Markets Limited, a company registered in the Marshall Islands.

Those clients who had made complaints against the company reported losses of more than $1.25m (£962,000) but the total amount of investments cannot be confirmed because the company failed to produce any evidence of its accounting records.

The Insolvency Service said there was evidence financial regulators across the world, including the Financial Conduct Authority, had issued warnings against GFS and Exo Capital Markets Limited, which also traded as “Trade 12”.

In June this year, the FCA issued a statement on its website about the firm, stating: "We believe this firm has been providing financial services or products in the UK without our authorisation."

damian.fantato@ft.com

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