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SFO to probe marketing of ETFs

The Serious Fraud Office has launched a review into how exchange traded funds are marketed and whether it has the capability to prosecute any wrongdoing in the industry.

It has been consulting with bankers and lawyers to see if there is a risk of criminal conduct in the sales process of these funds.

The review comes after the financial policy committee warned about the lack of transparency in the ETF market.

An SFO spokesman says the review will not target individual ETFs but will identify any potential risks in the sector.

He says: “We do regular landscape scanning about what problems there might be before they happen. We have consulted several bodies and out of that there has come a slight concern about things such as exchange traded funds.

“It is not damning the whole industry or suggesting we are going after individuals or companies but to review some of the things that concern us.”

Yellowtail Financial Planning managing director Dennis Hall says: “ETF marketing needs to be looked at. There are certain high-risk funds where people have to sign a declaration that they understand what it is they are letting themselves in for. But we are not necessar-ily seeing people fully understanding what they are letting themselves in for with ETFs.”

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