This comes a few weeks after FCA chair Charles Randall said that “financial crime, specifically fraud against individuals, has reached epidemic proportions”.
The regulator said that criminals are using the details of authorised firms to try to convince people that they work for the genuine businesses.
Fraudsters have set up clone firms under the names Quilter Cheviot Investment Management and St James’s Place; however the FCA regulated entities are called Quilter Cheviot Limited and St James’s Place Wealth Management, respectively.
Quilter Cheviot said in a statement: “We have recently been made aware of a case where an organisation is masquerading as Quilter Cheviot and attempting to sell fraudulent investments to members of the public.
“This incident has been reported to the FCA who is in the process of taking steps to stop this organisation from operating.
“Our staff have been informed and we have placed a warning on our website. We urge any customers who have received a suspicious call or email to either contact their investment manager or speak to the regulator.”
An SJP spokesperson said: “We are aware that some fraudsters use the details of FCA authorised firms to try to convince people that they work for a genuine, authorised firm.
“We urge individuals to always remain vigilant if they are contacted out of the blue. St. James’s Place is registered with and authorised by the FCA.
“If an individual has any concerns over the legitimacy of a firm or correspondence they have received, they should contact us directly or report it to the FCA. Firm details can also be checked against the FCA register to confirm their authenticity.”
The UK watchdog advises clients to only deal with authorised financial firms, which they can verify using the Financial Services Register.
If a firm does not appear on the register but claims it does, investors should contact the FCA’s consumer helpline.
It also said that investors should be aware that if they give money to an unauthorised firm they will not be covered by the Financial Ombudsman Service or Financial Services Compensation Scheme if things go wrong.
Over the last few months, there have been a number of surveys highlighting the pandemic of fraudsters in the industry.
Canada Life recently found 12% non-retired UK adults have been approached – by phone, text or email – with offers of free pensions advice, a free pensions review, investment opportunities or a tax refund.
This coincides with a Lloyds Bank report which found more than five million Brits have been victims of financial fraud, with 25% of the population knowing someone who has been duped.
The FCA has been trying to crackdown on the scam problem in the advice sector with its ScamSmart initiative, but it will have to do more to stop the “epidemic”.