Almost all firms and individuals offering, promoting or selling financial services or products in the UK have to be authorised by us.However, some firms act without our authorisation and some knowingly run investment scams. This firm is not author...

PSD2 is an EU Directive which sets requirements for firms that provide payment services, and will affect banks and building societies, payment institutions, e-money institutions and their customers. As well as promoting innovation, PSD2 aims to improve consumer protection, make payments safer and more secure, and drive down the costs of payment services. The new regime will be in force from 13 January 2018.

More services will be brought within the FCA’s scope by PSD2. These include account aggregation services which aim to help consumers manage their finances by bringing all of their bank account data together in one place, and services that allow consumers to make payments in different ways online, without using a credit or debit card.

Christopher Woolard, Executive Director of Strategy and Competition at the FCA, said:

'Competition in the retail banking and payments is vital to UK consumers and the wider economy. PSD2 builds on this by giving consumers more choice around how they manage their payments and bank accounts. It also brings in some important protections for consumers and seeks to increase the security of payments.

'Firms should make sure they know what’s required of them to be ready for the new regime. We will continue to monitor closely whether competition in the market improves in the interests of consumers.'

PSD2 also introduces a number of new requirements around how firms treat their customers and handle their complaints, and the data they must report to the FCA.

It requires existing payment institutions and e-money institutions to be re-authorised or re-registered. Firms should consider whether they now need to seek authorisation or registration because of changes to the scope of regulation made by PSD2. This includes businesses providing account aggregation or online payment initiation services. Applications will open on 13 October 2017. 

Notes to editors

  1. In the UK PSD2 is largely implemented through the Payment Services Regulations 2017, which was published by HM Treasury.
  2. The FCA is the competent authority for PSD2. The FCA has published the PSD2 Policy Statement which explains the changes we are making to our proposals following consultation and confirms amendments to our Handbook and new non-Handbook directions for certain firms excluded from regulation. The FCA has published its Approach Document alongside this – this is designed to help firms navigate the payment services and e-money regulatory requirements, including those set out in HM Treasury regulations.
  3. PSD2 requires all payment account providers across the EU to provide certain regulated firms access to customers’ accounts, subject to their explicit consent. One way of making this access possible could be through the Competition and Markets Authority’s Open Banking remedy, which follows from the 2016 market investigation into competition in the UK’s retail banking sector. 
  4. On 1 April 2013, the FCA became responsible for the conduct supervision of all regulated financial firms and the prudential supervision of those not supervised by the Prudential Regulation Authority (PRA).
  5. The FCA has an overarching strategic objective of ensuring the relevant markets function well. To support this it has three operational objectives: to secure an appropriate degree of protection for consumers; to protect and enhance the integrity of the UK financial system; and to promote effective competition in the interests of consumers.
  6. Find out more information about the FCA.

Let's block ads! (Why?)

Almost all firms and individuals carrying out financial services activities in the UK have to be authorised or registered by us. This firm is not authorised or registered by us but has been targeting people in the UK, claiming to be an authorised firm.

This is what we call a 'clone firm'; and fraudsters usually use this tactic when contacting people out of the blue, so you should be especially wary if you have been cold called. They may use the name of the genuine firm, the 'firm reference number' (FRN) we have given the authorised firm or other details.

You can find out more about this scam tactic and how to protect yourself from clone firms.

Clone firm details

Fraudsters are using or giving out the following details as part of their tactics to scam people in the UK:

Rathbone Brothers (clone of FCA authorised firm)

Telephone: 02071939603

Email:[email protected]

Website: www.rathbonebrothers.com

Be aware that the scammers may give out other false details or mix these with some correct details of the registered firm.

FCA authorised firm details

This FCA authorised firm that fraudsters are claiming to work for has no association with the ‘clone firm’. It is authorised to offer, promote or sell services or products in the UK and its correct details are:

Firm Name: Rathbone Investment Management Limited

Firm Reference Number: 116316

Address: 8 Finsbury Circus, London EC2M 7AZ

Telephone: +44 02073990000

Website: www.rathbones.com

How to protect yourself

We strongly advise you to only deal with financial firms that are authorised by us, and check the Financial Services Register to ensure they are. It has information on firms and individuals that are, or have been, regulated by us.

If you want to check a consumer credit firm that may not yet have been authorised by us, please also check the Interim Permission Register.

If a firm does not appear on the Register but claims it does, contact our Consumer Helpline on 0800 111 6768.

There are more steps you should take to avoid scams and unauthorised firms.

You should also be aware that if you give money to an unauthorised firm, you will not be covered by the Financial Ombudsman Service or Financial Services Compensation Scheme (FSCS) if things go wrong.

Report a clone firm

If you think you have been approached by an unauthorised or clone firm, or contacted about a scam, you should contact us. If you were offered, bought or sold shares, you can use our reporting form.

What to do if your firm is cloned

If you think your authorised firm has been cloned or scammers are fraudulently using your name or other details, contact our Firm Helpline on 0300 500 0597.

Let's block ads! (Why?)

In previous statements we indicated that firms requiring new authorisations or a VoP under MiFID II needed to submit a complete application to us by 3 July 2017. After that date, we could not guarantee to determine applications in time for new permissions to be in place for 3 January 2018.

Good progress has been made. We have received applications from a significant number of firms seeking to operate a trading venue or become a Data Reporting Services Provider (DRSP). We have already determined a number of applications from DRSPs authorised to provide Approved Publication Arrangements.

What you need to do

If you have not yet applied at all, you urgently need to submit an application with all the information we require. You may find it helpful to consult legal or compliance professionals familiar with the MiFID II regime and our expectations of authorisation applications to ensure your application is complete.

If you have already sent an application and we have subsequently been in contact to tell you that it is not complete, you need to provide the missing information as soon as possible. Without this, we cannot assess your application.

If you are unsure whether you need new permissions you should take action now. Start by consulting our application and notification user guide (PDF) and consider whether you need professional support to get back on track.

Any firm which needs new permissions under MiFID II and has not submitted a complete application needs to take immediate action. Given that firms can only carry out MiFID II activities for which they have the appropriate regulatory permissions, this will need to include contingency planning for the event that new permissions are not in place by 3 January 2018.

Proprietary traders and those providing them with market access

We want to highlight that some proprietary traders who are not authorised may need to be authorised under MiFID II.

For example, if you are an unregulated proprietary trader who uses a form of direct electronic access[1] provided by a regulated firm to access trading venues (a ‘DEA client’), you may need authorisation from 3 January 2018. Further guidance is available in the application and notification user guide (PDF) and our Handbook (PDF). You need to confirm urgently whether you will need authorisation and, if so, make an application.

If you are a firm or venue providing your clients with direct electronic access to trading venues (a ‘DEA provider’) you will have a duty under MiFID II to carry out due diligence on your prospective DEA clients. You should therefore work closely with your clients to ensure they are aware of the potential need to be authorised and be authorised on time.


Footnotes

  1. ^‘Direct electronic access’ means an arrangement where a member or participant or client of a trading venue permits a person to use its trading code so the person can electronically transmit orders relating to a financial instrument directly to the trading venue. This includes arrangements which involve the use by a person of the infrastructure of the member or participant or client, or any connecting system provided by the member or participant or client, to transmit the orders (direct market access) and arrangements where such an infrastructure is not used by a person (sponsored access).

Let's block ads! (Why?)

Almost all firms and individuals carrying out financial services activities in the UK have to be authorised or registered by us. This firm is not authorised or registered by us but has been targeting people in the UK, claiming to be an authorised firm.

This is what we call a 'clone firm'; and fraudsters usually use this tactic when contacting people out of the blue, so you should be especially wary if you have been cold called. They may use the name of the genuine firm, the 'firm reference number' (FRN) we have given the authorised firm or other details.

You can find out more about this scam tactic and how to protect yourself from clone firms.

Clone firm details

Fraudsters are using or giving out the following details as part of their tactics to scam people in the UK:

Beaufort Securities (clone of FCA authorised firm)

Address: Castlemead, Bristol BS1 3AG

Telephone: 0208 068 2778

Be aware that the scammers may give out other false details or mix these with some correct details of the registered firm.

FCA authorised firm details

This FCA authorised firm that fraudsters are claiming to work for has no association with the ‘clone firm’. It is authorised to offer, promote or sell services or products in the UK and its correct details are:

Firm Name: Beaufort Securities Limited

Firm Reference Number: 155104

Address: 63 St Mary Axe, London EC3A 8AA

Telephone: +44 02073828300

Email:[email protected]

Website: www.beaufortsecurities.com

How to protect yourself

We strongly advise you to only deal with financial firms that are authorised by us, and check the Financial Services Register to ensure they are. It has information on firms and individuals that are, or have been, regulated by us.

If you want to check a consumer credit firm that may not yet have been authorised by us, please also check the Interim Permission Register.

If a firm does not appear on the Register but claims it does, contact our Consumer Helpline on 0800 111 6768.

There are more steps you should take to avoid scams and unauthorised firms.

You should also be aware that if you give money to an unauthorised firm, you will not be covered by the Financial Ombudsman Service or Financial Services Compensation Scheme (FSCS) if things go wrong.

Report a clone firm

If you think you have been approached by an unauthorised or clone firm, or contacted about a scam, you should contact us. If you were offered, bought or sold shares, you can use our reporting form.

What to do if your firm is cloned

If you think your authorised firm has been cloned or scammers are fraudulently using your name or other details, contact our Firm Helpline on 0300 500 0597.

Let's block ads! (Why?)

The FCA has the power to make a MIR when it has reasonable grounds to suspect that any features of a financial services market prevent, restrict or distort competition. In the case of investment consultancy and fiduciary management, the FCA considers those features are:

  • A weak demand side with pension trustees relying heavily on investment consultants but having limited ability to assess the quality of their advice or compare services with resulting low switching rates.
  • Relatively high levels of concentration and relatively stable market shares with the largest three firms together holding between 50-80% market share.
  • Barriers to expansion restricting smaller, newer consultants from developing their business.
  • Vertically integrated business models creating conflicts of interest.

In the interim report on its asset management market study published in November 2016, the FCA announced it had made a provisional decision to make a MIR. In response, the three largest investment consultants (Aon Hewitt, Mercer and Willis Towers Watson) offered the FCA a package of undertakings in lieu (UIL) of a reference to address its concerns.

Although the FCA welcomed the UIL package proposed, it noted that it could not be confident that the package would provide a comprehensive solution to the adverse effects of competition identified. So, alongside its asset management market study final report published in June 2017, the FCA announced a provisional view to reject the UIL.

Following further consultation the FCA has considered the responses it received and made a final decision to reject the UIL and make a MIR.

Christopher Woolard, Executive Director of Strategy and Competition at the FCA, said:

'It is a significant step for us to make this recommendation. We have serious concerns about this market and believe that the CMA is best placed to undertake this work.

'Investment consultancy services play a significant role advising pension fund trustees when they are procuring asset management services. It is important that trustees can be confident they are getting good quality advice and value for money from their investment consultants.'

Assets affected by investment consultants’ advice are significant, with up to £1.6tn of assets affected by the advice of the twelve largest firms. The institutional investors who use investment consultancy services are mainly pension schemes but also include charities, insurance companies and endowment funds.

Notes to editors

  1. Read the Final Decision: Market Investigation Reference (MIR) on investment consultancy services and fiduciary management services
  2. Asset Management Market Study Final Report (PDF)
  3. Asset Management Market Study Interim Report (PDF)
  4. The FCA has the power to refer a market, or a feature of several markets, to the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) for in-depth investigation with regard to financial services in the UK. These powers are part of the FCA’s concurrent powers that came in to force on 1 April 2015. 
  5. The investment consultancy market provides a number of different services to institutional investors, in particular pension trustees. This covers the provision of advice in relation to strategic asset allocation, manager selection, fiduciary management, and to employers.
  6. There are a number of ways of measuring market share. Based on firm revenue data the FCA estimated in its interim report that the largest three investment consultants (Aon Hewitt, Mercer and Willis Towers Watson) hold at least 56% of the advisory market. Using the proportion of assets held by their clients the share of the market held by the biggest players increases to up to 80%. Calculating by the number of clients leads to a lower market share estimate for the larger firms of around 50%.
  7. Undertakings in Lieu (UIL) are essentially undertakings from a firm (or a group of firms) that they will amend their practices in place of a market referral to the CMA.
  8. On 1 April 2013, the FCA became responsible for the conduct supervision of all regulated financial firms and the prudential supervision of those not supervised by the Prudential Regulation Authority (PRA).
  9. The FCA has an overarching strategic objective of ensuring the relevant markets function well. To support this it has three operational objectives: to secure an appropriate degree of protection for consumers; to protect and enhance the integrity of the UK financial system; and to promote effective competition in the interests of consumers.
  10. Find out more information about the FCA.

Let's block ads! (Why?)

This applies to transactions in the following shares as well as to all related instruments relevant for the calculation of the net short position.

  • Liberbank, S.A (ISIN: ES0168675090)

This measure is effective immediately until the end of trading on the 30 November 2017.

The exact scope of this measure is specified in the statement issued by CNMV and the ESMA opinion can be found here.  

Let's block ads! (Why?)

Consumer warning about the risks of Initial Coin Offerings (‘ICOs’)

What are ICOs?

The term ICO refers to a digital way of raising funds from the public using a virtual currency, also known as cryptocurrency. An ICO can also be known as ‘token sale’ or ‘coin sale’.

ICO issuers accept a cryptocurrency, like Bitcoin or Ether, in exchange for a proprietary ‘coin’ or ‘token’ that is related to a specific firm or project. ICOs vary widely in design. The digital token issued may represent a share in a firm, a prepayment voucher for future services or in some cases offer no discernible value at all. Often ICO projects are in a very early stage of development.

ICOs are very high-risk, speculative investments.

You should be conscious of the risks involved (highlighted below) and fully research the specific project if you are thinking about buying digital tokens. You should only invest in an ICO project if you are an experienced investor, confident in the quality of the ICO project itself (e.g. business plan, technology, people involved) and prepared to lose your entire stake.

What are the risks? 

  • Unregulated space: Most ICOs are not regulated by the FCA and many are based overseas.
  • No investor protection: You are extremely unlikely to have access to UK regulatory protections like the Financial Services Compensation Scheme or the Financial Ombudsman Service.
  • Price volatility: Like cryptocurrencies in general, the value of a token may be extremely volatile – vulnerable to dramatic changes.
  • Potential for fraud: Some issuers might not have the intention to use the funds raised in the way set out when the project was marketed.
  • Inadequate documentation: Instead of a regulated prospectus, ICOs usually only provide a ‘white paper’. An ICO white paper might be unbalanced, incomplete or misleading. A sophisticated technical understanding is needed to fully understand the tokens’ characteristics and risks.
  • Early stage projects: Typically ICO projects are in a very early stage of development and their business models are experimental. There is a good chance of losing your whole stake.

Are ICOs regulated by the FCA?

Whether an ICO falls within the FCA’s regulatory boundaries or not can only be decided case by case.

Many ICOs will fall outside the regulated space. However, depending on how they are structured, some ICOs may involve regulated investments and firms involved in an ICO may be conducting regulated activities.

Some ICOs feature parallels with Initial Public Offerings (IPOs), private placement of securities, crowdfunding or even collective investment schemes. Some tokens may also constitute transferable securities and therefore may fall within the prospectus regime.

Businesses involved in an ICO should carefully consider if their activities could mean they are arranging, dealing or advising on regulated financial investments. Each promoter needs to consider whether their activities amount to regulated activities under the relevant law. In addition, digital currency exchanges that facilitate the exchange of certain tokens should consider if they need to be authorised by the FCA to be able to deliver their services.

Should I report ICOs to the FCA? 

If you suspect that an ICO is a scam, report it to the FCA via our online form.

To learn more about general warning signs of scams, visit our ScamSmart pages.

Further Links

To learn more about potential benefits and challenges of the underlying technology that facilitates ICOs, please refer to the FCA’s Discussion Paper DP17/3 on distributed ledger technology (DLT) from April 2017. We are currently reviewing responses to this discussion paper and are looking to publish our findings at the end of this year.

Certain other national regulators have issued bulletins or statements on ICOs, including the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, the Monetary Authority of Singapore, the Canadian Securities Administrators, the People’s Bank of China and the Securities and Futures Commission of Hong Kong.

Let's block ads! (Why?)

Almost all firms and individuals offering, promoting or selling financial services or products in the UK have to be authorised by us.

However, some firms act without our authorisation and some knowingly run investment scams. 

This firm is not authorised by us and is targeting people in the UK. Based upon information we hold, we believe it is carrying on regulated activities which require authorisation.

Genworth Consultant Group

Address: 140 West Street, New York, 10007. USA

Telephone: +16467571234

Fax: +16467864413

Email: [email protected]; [email protected]; [email protected]   

Website: www.genworthconsultantgrp.com; www.genworthconsultant.com

How to protect yourself

We strongly advise you to only deal with financial firms that are authorised by us, and check the Financial Services Register to ensure they are. It has information on firms and individuals that are, or have been, regulated by us.

If you want to check a consumer credit firm that may not yet have been authorised by us, please also check the Interim Permission Register.

If a firm does not appear on the Register but claims it does, contact our Consumer Helpline on 0800 111 6768.

There are more steps you should take to avoid scams and unauthorised firms.

You should also be aware that if you give money to an unauthorised firm, you will not be covered by the Financial Ombudsman Service or Financial Services Compensation Scheme (FSCS) if things go wrong.

Report an unauthorised firm

If you think you have been approached by an unauthorised firm or contacted about a scam, you should contact our Consumer Helpline on 0800 111 6768. If you were offered, bought or sold shares, you can use our reporting form.

Let's block ads! (Why?)

Almost all firms and individuals carrying out financial services activities in the UK have to be authorised or registered by us. This firm is not authorised or registered by us but has been targeting people in the UK, claiming to be an authorised firm.

This is what we call a 'clone firm'; and fraudsters usually use this tactic when contacting people out of the blue, so you should be especially wary if you have been cold called. They may use the name of the genuine firm, the 'firm reference number' (FRN) we have given the authorised firm or other details.

You can find out more about this scam tactic and how to protect yourself from clone firms.

Clone firm details

Fraudsters are using or giving out the following details as part of their tactics to scam people in the UK:

Fisher Investments Institutional Funds PLC (clone of FCA authorised firm)

Address: 2nd Floor, Block E, Iveagh Court, Harcourt Road, Dublin 2, Ireland

Telephone: 0203 393 1989

Website: http://fisherfundsplc.co.uk 

Be aware that the scammers may give out other false details or mix these with some correct details of the registered firm.

FCA authorised firm details

This FCA authorised firm that fraudsters are claiming to work for has no association with the ‘clone firm’. It is authorised to offer, promote or sell services or products in the UK and its correct details are:

Firm Name: Fisher Investments Institutional Funds PLC

Firm Reference Number: 709824

Address: 2nd Floor, Block E, Iveagh Court, Harcourt Road, Dublin 2, Ireland

How to protect yourself

We strongly advise you to only deal with financial firms that are authorised by us, and check the Financial Services Register to ensure they are. It has information on firms and individuals that are, or have been, regulated by us.

If you want to check a consumer credit firm that may not yet have been authorised by us, please also check the Interim Permission Register.

If a firm does not appear on the Register but claims it does, contact our Consumer Helpline on 0800 111 6768.

There are more steps you should take to avoid scams and unauthorised firms.

You should also be aware that if you give money to an unauthorised firm, you will not be covered by the Financial Ombudsman Service or Financial Services Compensation Scheme (FSCS) if things go wrong.

Report a clone firm

If you think you have been approached by an unauthorised or clone firm, or contacted about a scam, you should contact us. If you were offered, bought or sold shares, you can use our reporting form.

What to do if your firm is cloned

If you think your authorised firm has been cloned or scammers are fraudulently using your name or other details, contact our Firm Helpline on 0300 500 0597.

Let's block ads! (Why?)