Belgium’s Financial Services and Markets Authority (FSMA) has today issued a warning against the activities of Questra Holdings, a company that appears to be offering investments in Belgium without complying with Belgian financial legislation.
Questra Holdings, which operates under the url https://questra-holdings.net, is headquartered in Spain and claims to be a financial service provider offering investors across the world investment packages which generate revenues of up to 312 percent per year.
The company claims to be BVI registered and has posted a so-called ‘Certificate of Good Standing’ confirming its existence on its website.
However, according to the Belgian watchdog, Questra Holdings is not an authorized investment firm or credit institution in Belgium and is thus not allowed to provide banking or investment services in or from Belgium.
Moreover, the system proposed by Questra Holdings has every appearance of being of a pyramidal type or at least a Ponzi fraud, details of which the watchdog also published today in a statement:
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“The Financial Services and Markets Authority (FSMA) warns the public against investment offers promising exceptional returns and based, either visibly or otherwise, on setting up a system of recruitment, membership and enrolling other members. These offers promise unrealistically high returns, although they may appear most attractive. They generally conceal fraud practices, and in most cases result in the complete or partial loss of the initial outlay by the investor.”
Spotting Pyramidal and Ponzi Schemes
In order to prevent such fraudulent practices the FSMA has issued the following guidelines:
- be wary of promises of completely disproportionate returns. A guaranteed investment with a high return that considerably exceeds the market return, is often too good to be true.
- always verify the company’s identity (identity details, country of establishment, etc.). Never trust a company if it cannot be clearly identified.
- check whether the investment is subject to the FSMA’s supervision and whether the company offering the investment holds authorization.
- ask their intermediary for clear and comprehensible information.Investors should refrain from investing if they do not fully understand what is being offered.
The FSMA thus advises against responding to any investments offered by Questra Holdings and against transferring money to any account number it might mention.
In its capacity of supervising the financial markets regarding compliance with the required rules and regulations, the FSMA has issued a series of advisories in recent years, most recently last month when it announced a Royal Decree prohibiting online trading in forex, binary options and CFDs from 18 August 2016.
Today’s warning is the latest initiative in its efforts to clamp down on companies engaging in fraudulent activities.