The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) has issued multiple warnings to investors advising them not to use the services of several clone/unregulated brokerage firms.
The latest regulatory flurry includes forex brokers and asset managers that appear to be soliciting and/or accepting funds from UK residents without having obtained FCA registration.
The regulator has warned against clone firm Vanguard Investments, which is actually a regulated company that provides professional investment services in the financial markets.
The clone has no association whatsoever with the asset manager and is thus involved in fraudulent activity, the watchdog said. The clone company also claims to be licensed by the FCA, using the authorized firm’s FRN and registered address.
The original firm has been conducting business for several years now and can be found at www.vanguard.co.uk.
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So you need to be wary
Fake or cloned websites are becoming common in the industry, as fraudsters have grown increasingly resourceful in recent years. A commonly adopted tactic is for scammers to advertise an illegal operation as a reputable brand or entity in order to dupe people into parting with their personal details or cash.
These sites look like the real thing, and may even have a web address that is very similar to a well-known site, such as the one operated by your broker.
A lesser-known FX broker called MegatradeFX was also blacklisted by the UK’s financial regulator after the company claimed that it operated with an FCA license.
The Financial Conduct Authority has clarified that the company in question does not, in fact, have any valid license of any kind to provide investment services or activities in the country.
Echoing previous warnings, the FCA ignores that unauthorized brokers continue to promote unregulated investments, taking money from the general public, and the regulator is powerless to do anything.