The UK's Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) has commenced High Court proceedings against unauthorised investment advice firm 24HR Trading Academy (24HTA) and its sole director, Mohammed Fuaath Haja Maideen Maricar.
The FCA claimed that from 2017, 24HTA and/or Maricar have advised on investments, arranged deals in investments and engaged in financial promotions without FCA authorisation.
The FCA alleged that Maricar has been knowingly concerned in 24HTA's contraventions, which allegedly included transmitting ‘trading signals' and making other investment recommendations to clients via WhatsApp and other social media platforms.
The defendants conducted regulated activities without the required FCA authorisation and "unlawfully made financial promotions as well as an order preventing them from carrying out these activities in the future."
Clients were told that if they followed these trading instructions, they would make significant profits, the regulator claimed.
Consumers were allegedly encouraged to sign up with a ‘partnered' broker to place their trades. 24HTA or Maricar allegedly received sign up and other commissions from the brokerages in addition to the monthly payments from clients for the signals.
The FCA secured an interim injunction to stop these activities from continuing and has frozen the defendants' assets up to £624,311 pending further investigation.
The regulator is seeking final orders, including a declaration from the court that the defendants conducted regulated activities without the required FCA authorisation and "unlawfully made financial promotions as well as an order preventing them from carrying out these activities in the future."
The FCA said it will also seek a restitution order that would distribute the defendants' frozen assets to consumers who suffered financial losses as a result of the alleged breaches of the Financial Services and Markets Act.
This article was first published by Professional Adviser. Subscribe to International Investment's free, twice-daily, newsletter