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Belgium hit by wave of fraudulent wealth management offers, says FSMA

Chris Hamblin, Editor, London, 28 August 2020


In the past few weeks, the Belgian Financial Services and Markets Authority has received new complaints from consumers who have been approached by companies offering wealth management plans, most often with guaranteed returns.

The FSMA is warning consumers against these tempting offers, which include savings-related offers as well, because often behind them are fraudsters who are not authorixed to make such offers, the sole aim of which is to steal the savings of HNWs.

The FSMA has written: "The principle always remains the same: victims are contacted by telephone without having asked for it or after having entered their contact details on an online form. They are offered wealth management services, with the promise of returns in excess of the market returns and most often with a capital guarantee. But in the end the result remains the same: the victims find themselves unable to recover their money (or at least all of it)!"

Over the past few weeks, the FSMA has been informed of fraudulent activities conducted by UCM Limited (www.ucm-limited.com).

According to the regulator, HNWs have frequently told it that fraudsters have offered them wealth management contracts. The FSMA writes: "In essence, you give them your money and they manage it for you, with the promise of high – or even guaranteed – returns. Alternative investment products (rare earths, gold, precious metals, etc.) are also sometimes offered. The script is always the same: they lure you in with yields that are considerably better [and there] are often cases of identity theft."

The "identity theft" to which the FSMA refers is the 'cloning' of legitimate firms that have proper authorisation from the regulator (or a foreign regulator) to provide financial services.

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