We are aware that mini-bonds issued by Secured Energy Bonds plc (SEB) have been sold to UK consumers; this is without advice from financial advisers. SEB has failed and these investors have largely lost their investments.
We do not regulate SEB, but we are setting out the options for these investors.
Issuing mini-bonds, which are debt securities typically issued by small businesses to raise funds, is not an activity which requires authorisation. Therefore, we do not have any power to investigate the conduct of SEB in relation to the issue of these mini-bonds.
Firms that approve financial promotions on behalf of unauthorised firms issuing bonds like this must comply with our rules on financial promotions. The financial promotion must be ‘fair, clear and not misleading’.
Investors can approach the Financial Ombudsman Service, in relation to the approval of financial promotions by Independent Portfolio Managers Ltd (IPM). However, investors should note that it is unlikely their complaint will succeed if it is based wholly on IPM’s role as approver of a financial promotion – the firm would need to have carried on another activity in addition to approving the financial promotion (for example, advising the investor, or arranging the transaction for them).
What else you can do
As an investor in SEB, you may want to contact the joint administrators by emailing email@example.com. You may also want to contact the Insolvency Service by calling 0300 678 0015 or emailing firstname.lastname@example.org. We are liaising where appropriate with both the Insolvency Service and the administrators of SEB on this matter.