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FCA sparks action over ‘illegal’ CISs

Nick Baxter

The FCA is taking at least 16 firms and individuals to court over claims they were operating or promoting collective investment schemes without its authorisation.

The regulator has taken action against Capital Alternatives, African Land Limited, Reforestation Projects and at least 13 other firms and individuals in the belief they have acted illegally in the running and promotion of two investment schemes.

The case focuses on African Land, also known as Agri Capital, which offers investments in rice farm harvests in Sierra Leone and is operated by African Land Limited and Reforestation Projects, also known as Capital Carbon Credits, which offers investments in carbon credits generated from land in Sierra Leone, Brazil and Australia and is operated by Reforestation Projects Limited.

The High Court has ordered a preliminary trial to decide whether the investment schemes are CISs. The trial is expected to take place in the autumn.

The FCA adds: “While we wait for the hearing to take place we have obtained undertakings and court orders that freeze the major assets of most of the defendants and prevent them from promoting the schemes.”

Essential IFA managing director Peter Herd says: “I wish the FCA would do more to crack down on unauthorised advisers full stop.”

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