DeVere Group has declared that it is “under attack” in South Africa following a spate of ‘fake’ websites and ‘fake’ client complaints being connected to the company.
According to deVere’s CEO and founder Nigel Green there has been what he believes to be attempts to discredit the financial giant via “a bogus” investment website that has been launched in South Africa claiming to have the investments “underwritten by deVere Group”.
The website claims that “Bottomline Investments is underwritten by BottomLineHoldings, Devere [the ‘correct’ spelling of the brand is deVere] Group and intermediary services act” and makes claims that investors can double their investments in just two weeks and promises ‘100%’ protection of capital.
“Let me be absolutely clear: www.bottomlinegroup.co.za is not affiliated with, operated by, or owned by deVere Group,” said Green, pictured left. “This fake site is incredibly amateur. For instance, there is not even the correct spelling of ‘deVere’, there are multiple examples of incorrect grammar, and it is vague in a way that a professional investment firm never would be.”
Green dubbed the site “crude” and a “blatant – and rather bad – attempt at trying to discredit” his company and warned that there is a “very real danger” that the site could defraud the public, as well as bring the wider financial services industry in South Africa into “disrepute”.
‘Fake client complaints’
In a statement denouncing the “bogus” website deVere said that this just the latest in a series of “alarming events” with other fake sites and “fake” client complaints arising that are connected to the company.
Green added that it “can be reasonably assumed this is from disgruntled former employees whose contracts we terminated and/or rival firms” and called the move “a sad reflection” of some within the South African finance industry.”
DeVere Group is one of the world’s largest independent advisors with a network of more than 70 offices across the world, over 80,000 clients and US$12bn under advisement. It also states that it is the largest independent advisory firm in South Africa.
Green added that it has brought this situation to light to warn investors adding that “the public needs to be aware that neither deVere Acuma nor deVere Group deal directly with client monies”.
“This has been reported to the Financial Services Board (FSB) and I would urge anyone who has more information about this illegal practice to speak to either the police or the regulator as a matter of urgency,” he said.