Many companies have recently become aware that their shareholders have received unsolicited phone calls or correspondence concerning investment matters.
These are typically from overseas based ‘brokers’ who target UK shareholders, offering to sell them what often turn out to be worthless or high risk shares in US or UK investments. Shareholders may also be advised that there is an imminent offer for the company, and the caller may offer to buy shares at significantly above the market price if an administration fee is paid. This is known as ‘boiler room fraud’.
These callers can be very persistent and extremely persuasive. The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) has reported that the average amount lost by each investor is around £20,000. It is not just the novice investor that has been duped in this way; many of the victims had been successfully investing for several years. Shareholders are advised to be very wary of any unsolicited advice or offers to buy shares at a discount.
If you receive any unsolicited investment advice of this nature:
Make sure you get the correct name of the person and organisation and make a record of any other information they give you (e.g. telephone number, address, etc.) If you receive telephone calls, emails or letters purporting to be from Loungers plc, or from companies endorsed by Loungers plc, and you are unsure if they are legitimate, please contact us for clarification.
Check that they are properly authorised before getting involved. You can check the FCA register here if the caller claims to be a UK broker, or the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) register here if the caller claims to be a US broker.
If calls persist, hang up. Report the matter to the FCA in the UK or the SEC in the US.
THE FINANCIAL CONDUCT AUTHORITY
The FCA can be contacted in respect of unauthorised firms by completing an online form available by clicking on the link below, or by calling 0800 111 6768. If you deal with an unauthorised firm you will not be eligible to receive payment under the Financial Services Compensation Scheme.
Useful FCA resources include:
- FCA register www.fca.org.uk/register
- FCA online reporting form www.fca.org.uk
- FCA share fraud warning leaflet
- FCA what to do if you are scammed www.fca.org.uk
THE SECURITIES AND EXCHANGE COMMISSION
If you receive calls regarding investing in US shares, for example shares in US companies that are about to float on the stock market but can only be sold to non-US citizens, please check that the caller is authorised by the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC).
Useful sec resources include:
SEC register www.sec.gov
List of Unregistered Soliciting Entities That Have Been the Subject of Investor Complaints www.sec.gov
List of Fictitious Governmental Agencies and International Organizations Associated with Soliciting Entities www.sec.gov