Financial Conduct Authority  

FCA takes 'social media adviser' to court

FCA takes 'social media adviser' to court

The Financial Conduct Authority has begun civil proceedings in the High Court against an alleged unauthorised investment adviser who the regulator claimed operated via social media platforms.  

In a statement published today (April 27) the watchdog confirmed it had issued proceedings against 24HR Trading Academy Ltd and and its sole director Mohammad Fuaadh Haja Maideen Maricar.

The FCA alleged Mr Maricar and his company had used social media platforms and apps to advise on investments and arrange deals in investments without authorisation from 2017 onwards. 

The regulator also claimed Mr Maricar had engaged in financial advertising without authorisation or having the promotions approved by an authorised person. 

It alleged alternatively that Mr Maricar has been knowingly concerned in 24HTA’s contraventions.

The FCA has secured an interim injunction stopping these activities from continuing and freezing the assets belonging to the defendant, up to the amount of £624,311, pending a further hearing.

The FCA alleged Mr Maricar and his company had sent "trading signals" and investment recommendations to clients via WhatsApp and social media platforms, with clients told they would make "significant profits" if they followed the instructions. 

The regulator said: "In addition, consumers were induced to sign up with a ‘partnered’ broker to place their trades.

"24HTA and Mr Maricar would receive sign up and other commissions from the brokerages in addition to the monthly payments from clients for the signals."

The watchdog said it was seeking final orders from the High Court to prevent the defendant from carrying out unauthorised advice in the future, alongside a restitution order which would distribute the frozen assets to consumers who have suffered financial losses.

rachel.mortimer@ft.com 

What do you think about the issues raised by this story? Email us on fa.letters@ft.com to let us know.