Britain’s financial regulator is ramping up its scrutiny of unregulated investment managers. Today, the Financial Conduct Authority warned against a company called ‘Rockwell Investment Management,’ which claims to be operating from London since 2000.
Rockwell manages investments on a discretionary basis for UK and international private investors, trusts, and charities. However, the City watchdog warned that such services are increasingly being used as a vehicle for financial scams.
“This firm is not authorized by us and is targeting people in the UK. Based upon information we hold, we believe it is carrying on regulated activities which require authorization,” the FCA added.
The FCA has been sharpening its focus on retail investment and trading brokers in recent months. The regulator appears determined to protect consumers not only from fraud but also from losing small fortunes to regulated firms that may offer “products causing similar harms.”
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City regulator has other concerns
In a Dear CEO letter sent to asset managers and brokers earlier this year, the FCA said it would undertake further supervisory and regulatory work in key areas it had identified, including ensuring cost disclosures to investors are up to scratch.
Earlier in January, the watchdog also highlighted its concerns over financial promotions that falsely implied that all of a firm’s activities were regulated by the FCA or other regulators, when in fact they were not.
“We have seen evidence of an increase in wealth managers’ discretionary portfolios being used for pension scams, and poor conduct from wealth managers who make unsuitable investments in high risk assets for their clients,” the FCA said.
Retail FX/CFDs brokers have also come under the spotlight with the closure of two regulated brokers in a single month. SVS Securities Plc (SVS), which was set-up in 2002, acted as a regulated financial services broker, holding significant amounts of client money and assets. The second case involved AFX Markets Ltd (AFX), which was set up in 2011 and FCA-authorized since May 2012.
There have also been a number of high profile incidents in the wider financial services industry over the last few years, many of which have led to the collapse of firms.