THE CENTRAL BANK is warning consumers over an unauthorised firm currently trading in the state, which it says may cold call or email people offering financial services.
The firm, calling itself ‘Specialist Investor Funds’ has been operating using identification details cloned from firms that are officially authorised.
The company has been quoting the name and registered Irish address of “one or more” legitimate firms, according to the Central Bank: “namely Specialist Investment Funds (1) plc, Specialist Investment Funds (3) plc and Specialist Investment Funds (4) CCF”.
A statement issued from the financial services regulator this morning stresses that there is “no connection whatsoever” between the authorised funds and the entity that has cloned their details.
It is a criminal offence for an unauthorised firm to provide financial services in Ireland that would require an authorisation under the relevant legislation for which the Central Bank is the responsible body for enforcing.
Consumers should be aware that, if they deal with a firm which is not authorised, they are not eligible for compensation from the Investor Compensation Scheme.
The Central Bank says it is often the case that unauthorised firms will cold call or email consumers offering financial services:
These firms will often have cloned the details of a legitimately authorised firm and will quote a “registration/authorisation” number, which is in fact, the registration/authorisation number of a legitimately authorised entity.
Consumers who have been contacted via phone or email are being advised to “make additional checks to ensure that the firm they are dealing with” is a legitimately authorised firm.
Consumers should contact the regulatory authority that the firm has advised it is authorised by and check that the contact details for the firm, that are held by the regulatory authority, match those provided by the firm who has cold called/emailed them.