The in-out saga of companies that bought the thumbs up from the Financial Conduct Authority sooner or later, and the following it warned you to keep away from them
According to Google’s new anti-scams coverage it’ll solely carry adverts for financial savings merchandise if they’re positioned by companies registered with the Financial Conduct Authority.
A positive thought, however one which may not all the time be working in observe, judging by the hokey-cokey saga of Stem Wealth.
This was promoted with Google Ads promising: “A simple way to invest and secure your future”, regardless of not being included within the listing of companies authorised by the FCA.
Then, on Monday final week, Stem Wealth did seem within the listing.
Three days later it was out once more.
Stem Wealth’s web site said that it was a buying and selling title of UK Tax Efficient Investments Limited, which was included within the listing of authorised companies on August 17 – and brought out on October 7.
This firm’s sole director is Angela Orchard, who lives in Spain in keeping with her Facebook web page and has by no means been an organization director earlier than apparently all of a sudden deciding on the age of 52 to run an funding recommendation agency.
Which prompted me to ask her if she actually was the particular person operating the present, however she has not bought again to me.
A saver who replied to the Google Ad for Stem Wealth was contacted by gross sales rep Chris Barrett who beforehand labored for an outfit referred to as Your Options Limited – in actual fact, Barrett nonetheless used the identical phone quantity he’d had at Your Options, which flogged high-risk financial savings bonds via Google Ads.
The director of Your Options is 37-year-old Ashley Parkin Beacher, who’s a Facebook buddy of Angela Orchard, and so they as soon as shared the identical Bradford deal with.
So may he be concerned within the Stem Wealth saga?
Sadly, he too has not bought again to debate this, or the the reason why the FCA suspended his area youroptions.co.uk.
He can be a director of Parkin Beacher Limited, which was fined £50,000 by the Information Commissioner’s Office in August for making unlawful advertising and marketing calls to individuals about their pensions.
”Cold calls are a standard approach of trying to defraud individuals out of their pensions and we are going to take powerful motion the place we discover corporations finishing up this sort of advertising and marketing,” said the ICO’s Head of Investigations, Andy Curry.
It gets even messier.
The way that Stem Wealth and UK Tax Efficient Investments got on the FCA register, and so gave themselves credence and got the green light to advertised on Google, was by becoming trading names of an authorised company called Integral Asset Management Limited.
Integral Asset Management director Ben Price denies being responsible for this.
He says they employed compliance consultancy I-Fact, which gives “rapid FCA recognition”, and claims that it was I-Fact who put Stem Wealth and UK Tax Efficient Investments on the FCA register as buying and selling names of Integral Asset Management.
“It was something we were not happy with and we terminated our relationship with I-Fact,” stated MrPrice.
Rubbish, says the chairman of I-Fact, John Derry-Collins, who says that Integral Asset Management was by no means their shopper, having been rejected as a result of their compliance procedures had been “way off-track”.
“We listed what they would have to do to change and what it would cost, invoiced for our time, and walked away,” he stated.
“As far as we are concerned that’s the end of it. I haven’t a clue who Stem Wealth and UK Tax Efficient Investments are.”
Having as soon as been on the FCA’s listing of buying and selling names of an authorised agency, Stem Wealth and UK Tax Efficient Investments have now been placed on the its shopper alert listing of companies to keep away from.
The regulator has additionally slapped a variety of restrictions on what Integral Asset Management is allowed to do, together with banning it from promoting on-line or including any new buying and selling names with out prior approval.
I’ve requested the FCA if it desires to touch upon this shambles however haven’t had a reply.