Fake Investment Adviser Poses As Financial Regulator


Financial watchdogs are warning that fraudsters are cold-calling consumers and posing as bogus financial advisers.

Several complaints have been received about a man calling himself William Howarth who telephones consumers and tells them he works for the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA), the official financial regulator.

He then demands money upfront to buy investments in fine wines or shares in companies that the consumers already hold.

This man or men are not affiliated to the FCA in any way and do not have authorisation to give investment advice,” said an FCA spokesman.

Bogus IFA trend

When asked, the caller will give contact details at the FCA. We do not cold call consumers, nor do we give advice on investments, so anyone in contact with anyone alleging they represent the FCA should contact us immediately.

We can only assume that as false details are passed that this is the work of fraudsters.”

The FCA released three telephone numbers passed out by Howarth – 0800 689 0927, 0207 859 4313 and 0207 859 4875.

Generally, the FCA has revealed a trend in fraudsters posing as representatives of authorised IFAs.

They are also setting up fake web sites to capture personal detail and financial information in a bid to steal investor’s identities.

A few days ago, NS&I, the Treasury backed agency that runs premium bonds and national savings issued a fraud alert and closed down scam web sites trying to phish for personal data.

Warnings about bogus advisers – Worldwide

The International Organisation of Securities Commissions web site has no new warnings this week.

Warnings about bogus advisers – UK

Here are the latest bogus financial advisers listed on the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) web site:

  • William Howarth

Dealing with an unregulated firm

If you buy shares, save money or invest with an unregulated firm, you lose any protection offered by the Financial Ombudsman and the Financial Services Compensation Scheme. Broadly, you have no independent place to complain if the deal goes wrong and are unlikely to win any compensation.

Checking if a firm is regulated

Go to the Financial Services Register to check if a firm is regulated in the UK.

Reporting a suspected bogus adviser

Find out how to report unauthorised advisers on the FCA web site