FCA stops unlawful foreign exchange investment scheme

Following an application by the FCA, the High Court yesterday made orders against a number of persons involved in carrying on an unauthorised foreign exchange investment scheme.  The scheme took in at least £1.2 million from 65 investors but none of the investors’ money was ever used in foreign exchange trading or any other type of investment. 

Mark Steward, Director of Enforcement and Market Oversight at the FCA said:

“The FCA will continue to use its powers to strike down firms carrying on unauthorised regulated activities without FCA approval, to recover losses caused by misconduct and to hold accountable all those involved, including facilitators.”

Mr Christopher Pymont QC (sitting as a Deputy Judge of the High Court) declared that Noerus Investments Limited (an unauthorised company based in Cyprus) and other persons carrying on business under the name Noerus Capital (the “Noerus Defendants”) unlawfully promoted, and purported to operate, a managed foreign exchange trading facility between December 2014 and November 2015, in contravention of the Financial Services and Markets Act 2000.

The Court also issued injunctions to restrain further contraventions and made a restitution order under which the Noerus Defendants must pay £1,230,298.41 to cover the loss suffered by the investors.  Given the FCA has not yet identified sufficient assets to cover the full amount of losses to investors, it is likely there will be a shortfall in the amount that investors can recover.  To assist in the distribution of funds, the Court approved a scheme by which the FCA can return all sums recovered.  The Court also continued a freezing injunction against Noerus Investments Limited to assist in the recovery of any further funds. 

The FCA originally commenced civil proceedings not just against those who promoted and operated the scheme, but also against other unauthorised parties whose actions facilitated it. The FCA previously reached a settlement with some of these Defendants. 

Notes to editors:

  1. A copy of the judgement is available from the FCA press office.
  2. On 1 April 2013 the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) became responsible for the conduct supervision of all regulated financial firms and the prudential supervision of those not supervised by the Prudential Regulation Authority (PRA).
  3. The FCA has an overarching strategic objective of ensuring the relevant markets function well. To support this it has three operational objectives: to secure an appropriate degree of protection for consumers; to protect and enhance the integrity of the UK financial system; and to promote effective competition in the interests of consumers.
  4. Find out more information about the FCA.