The Guernsey Financial Services Commission has recently investigated a number of cases where Bailiwick residents have received unsolicited telephone calls from staff of investment businesses that do not have their place of business in the Bailiwick.
The practice, where a person makes an unsolicited call to a potential investor seeking to sell them investments during the course of that call, is known as "Cold Calling".
Firms that wish to conduct investment business within the Bailiwick must be licensed by the Commission in order to do so. Cold calling organisations may not have the necessary licence and may even be involved in illegal investment schemes which may result in investors losing money.
Residents should be aware that the Guernsey Investor Compensation Scheme does not offer protection against loss arising from unlicensed promotions. Therefore, the Commission strongly urges Bailiwick Residents not to make an investment purely as the result of an unsolicited approach. As a minimum, before committing any money, potential investors should check whether the caller is licensed by the Commission to conduct investment business. For those people with access to the Internet, a list of current Bailiwick licensees can be found on the Commission's website (Licensees and Funds). Alternatively, potential investors can telephone the Commission and speak to a member of the Investment Business Division who will be pleased to assist with such queries.
Before investing on the basis of a cold call, investors should follow the checklist below:
- Check with the Guernsey Financial Services Commission;
- Independently research the investment; and
- Consider getting advice from a licensed professional.
Potential investors should always be sceptical if the cold caller promises spectacular returns or "guaranteed" profits. The old adage holds true "if the deal sounds too good to be true, it probably is".
Peter Moffatt, Director of Investment Business
Tel: 01481 712706
Fax: 01481 712010
International dialling code - +44 1481