The Commission urges anyone considering investing in Bitcoins or Bitcoin related investments to act with extreme caution. There are signs that the current valuations of Bitcoins are being enhanced by speculative investment flows. Whilst we appreciate some of those holding Bitcoins over the last 12 months may have made very good financial returns, we would encourage all potential investors to remember that Bitcoins are not backed by underlying assets and that it is possible that those investing in them could see very large losses rather than good returns with the risks being very similar to those associated with gambling.
If you think you may be a victim of a payment fraud, you should contact your bank or card provider in the first instance, and then report it to Guernsey Police. Likewise, if you have lost money to an investment fraud you should contact Guernsey Police. More information can be found here.
Yes, there has been a Scheme in place since November 2008. More information can be found here.
You can find out more on the Scheme’s dedicated website, a link to which can be found here.
Most high street banks offer a ‘basic bank account’, which are particularly designed for people with poor credit histories, who can have difficulty opening other types of bank accounts. More information on this can be found here.
The Current Account Switch Service is a free-to-use account switching service, which is offered by some of the high street banks in Guernsey. Your bank will be able to tell you if they offer this service locally. More information can be found here.
If you wish to make a complaint against a bank, you can find more information here.
Yes, the Channel Islands Financial Ombudsman was established on the 16 November 2015 and is situated in Jersey. Click herefor further information.
Unless the provider is licensed by the Commission for another reason, e.g. a bank, the Commission does not regulate firms or individuals that advise on, arrange, or manage loans. This includes mortgages, personal loans and car loans. More information can be found here.
The Commission would suggest that you get in touch with your bank in the first instance. More information can be found here.
If you learn that a collective investment scheme (CIS) in which you have invested money has been liquidated, and you have not received the entire amount of the value of your investment, you should address your complaint directly to the liquidator of the CIS. You will need to provide documentation which shows the valuation of your investment.
You may also wish to make a complaint to your pension fund administrator, if you feel the advice it gave to you did not meet your requirements in terms of the suitability of the category of investments it made on your behalf. If the complaint is not resolved to your satisfaction, you may then wish to refer it to the Channel Islands Financial Ombudsman.
The Collective Investment Schemes (Compensation of Investors) Rules 1988 (as amended) provide for compensation for investors in Class A schemes, of up to £5m in any year. Subject to this limit, the maximum compensation payable per investor is 90% of the first £50,000, and 30% of the balance, up to £100,000 (1.e. a maximum total of £60,000).
To date, no call has been made on the compensation scheme.
There is no compensation scheme covering investors in Class B schemes, Class Q schemes, or closed ended investment schemes.
All companies, limited partnerships and limited liability partnerships wishing to be formed in the Bailiwick of Guernsey must first be set up at the Guernsey Registry. In other words, they need to be ‘registered’ at the company registry.
In order to carry out any financial activity such as banking, insurance, investment or fiduciary services in the Bailiwick of Guernsey, a business must obtain a licence from the Commission.
Prescribed business is the term used for firms of legal professionals, accountants and estate agents carrying on business in or from within the Bailiwick of Guernsey.
These are financial services businesses which are required to be registered with, but not regulated, by the Commission. Again, this is different to being registered at the Guernsey Registry.
Top 5 tips:
- If you decide to seek financial advice, or buy a financial product from outside of the Bailiwick, be aware of the risks involved.
- Ensure that the person or firm is also licensed and regulated in the relevant jurisdiction.
- Financial providers who are not licensed in the Bailiwick should not be approaching you.
- If you are approached by a financial provider from outside the Bailiwick, please advise the Commission.
- It is advisable to check whether the particular jurisdiction has a deposit or investor compensation scheme in force, whether you would be covered, and what level of cover it offers.
The term ICO refers to a digital way of raising funds from the public using a virtual currency, also known as cryptocurrency. An ICO can also be known as ‘token sale’ or ‘coin sale’. They are very high-risk speculative investments.
ICO issuers accept a cryptocurrency, like Bitcoin or Ether, in exchange for a proprietary ‘coin’ or ‘token’ that is related to a specific firm or project. ICOs may represent a share in a firm, a prepayment voucher for future services or in some cases offer no discernible value at all. Often ICO projects are in a very early stage of development.
The Commission, along with several other regulators, has issued an advisory notice regarding the risks of investing in an ICO. Most ICOs are unregulated. This means that it is unlikely that there will be any investor protections if anything goes wrong with an investment in an ICO. As with other cryptocurrencies, the value of the investment is volatile and has the potential for fraud. The Commission would not expect ICOs to be sold to, or bought by, retail investors. Anyone considering buying an ICO should carry out full research on the ICO project and be prepared to lose the entire value of their investment.
Further information about ring-fencing can be found here
Pensions are effectively a long term savings plan. Pensions are a good way of saving for your retirement. The Commission has issued a Helpsheet on pensions which is available here.