Research Highlights Number Of Unauthorised Firms Operating Sites
By Rob Dixon
A legal expert has said it is likely the Financial Conduct Authority is continuing to work to tackle the fact that some unauthorised online firms recently subject to warnings are still operating active websites, after new research put a spotlight on the issue.
Money Marketing’s survey revealed that 100 unauthorised firms that received FCA warnings, 74 of the firms affected used a website to promote themselves. The survey also found that 31 still have an active site in operation.
Experts have raised concerns, stating that the online presence of firms and the fact many may be based offshore meant it was becoming increasingly difficult for steps to be taken to enforce compliance.
Commenting on the issue, Sarah Wallace, a Partner in Irwin Mitchell’s Regulatory and Criminal Investigations Group, said: “If the Money Marketing research is accurate, it would be surprising if the FCA is not taking steps to at least attempt to shut down those business websites.
“Thirty one is not a particularly high number of active websites for the FCA to tackle.
“However, the lack of response by the still active website businesses, might be because the website hosts believe that they are not in breach of FSMA or they believe the FCA is unlikely to do anything draconian.
“Pension unlocking and carbon credits are of particular interest at present to FCA enforcement and the FCA do take criminal and civil action against certain unauthorised firms, although the numbers of firms that ultimately face that action is not particularly high.”
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