Financial adviser Craig Cameron was branded by consumer watchdogs as ‘lacking honesty and integrity’ after he was fined £350,000 for his involvement in three risky unregulated collective investment schemes (UCIS) that lost millions of pounds.
The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) also banned him from giving financial advice to consumers after he plundered £330 million from 800 investors through the UCIS.
Cameron was director of advisors Burlington Associates Limited from May 2003 until January 2009.
He was instrumental in setting up three schemes to attract money from investors into three property developments in Croatia, Bulgaria and Montenegro.
After a fellow director refused to let Burlington promote the UCIS, Cameron bypassed the firm by making arrangements through another financial firm, Leslie & Nuding, which traded as Burlington Funds.
Lack of honesty and integrity
The UCIs was offered to thousands of investors without checking if the risks involved matched their risk profiles.
Tracey McDermott, director of enforcement and financial crime at the Financial Conduct Authority, said: “Cameron broke the rules designed to protect investors. He put his own financial gain ahead of their wellbeing.
“Many of these investors should not have been involved in high risk UCIS.
“He knew he was breaking the rules and lacks honesty and integrity.”
The FCA is advising investors who have lost money in the venture to take independent legal advice about their options for recovering their cash.
As the investments were unregulated, they fall outside the scope of the Financial Services Compensation Scheme.
Warnings about bogus advisers
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