You are here: Home - Investing - Experienced Investor - News -

FCA to crack down on equity crowdfunding companies

0
Written by:
05/02/2015
The Financial Conduct Authority has announced a crackdown on equity crowdfunding after finding that firms in the fast-growing sector were misleading investors about associated risks.

The FCA found that a significant number of crowdfunders were offering retail customers with little experience of investing “a misleading or unrealistically optimistic impression” of the opportunity. The FCA’s own research indicates that 62 per cent of investors in equity crowdfunding schemes have no prior experience of early-stage investment.

Last year, the FCA starkly warned investors that “it is very likely you will lose all your money” in equity crowdfunding (where investors take a stake in the company, rather than simply lend to the company); earlier this week, the Authority declared it would seek to regulate marketing of equity crowdfunders, noting that the opportunities were being mis-sold as ‘risk-free’ savings.

In its most recent announcement, the FCA notes that many equity crowdfunding firms failed to meet capital requirements last year, and others had misleadingly inferred that their products placed retail investors on an equal footing with venture capitalists. The Authority also criticised the industry as a whole for featuring a “lack of balance”, “insufficient, omitted or the cherry-picking of information” and “downplayed risk warnings” on their websites.

The FCA, however, stated it remained committed to promoting consumer investment in business and “innovative” financial technology resources, and has no intention of stifling the budding sector.

Industry reaction to the FCA’s announcement was generally positive.

Julia Groves, chair of the UK Crowdfunding Association, said it was an “absolutely welcome intervention to make sure that everyone is following the rules. There needs to be a level playing field.”

“The FCA’s review of the peer-to-peer lending industry and equity crowdfunding industry comes at an appropriate time,” said Christine Farnish, chair of the P2PFA. “The report is correct to highlight incidences where companies have misled customers and the FCA is right to take a tough line.”

Gonçalo de Vasconcelos, founder and CEO of SyndicateRoom, likewise welcomed the action. “It is crucial for investors and the reputation of the sector that those companies that have been misleading customers take immediate steps to improve their openness and honesty,” he said. “These shortfalls in the behaviour and practices of just a few of the platforms can hurt the standing a reputation of the whole zone.”

There are 0 Comment(s)

If you wish to comment without signing in, click your cursor in the top box and tick the 'Sign in as a guest' box at the bottom.

Rail strikes: Your travel and refund rights

Thousands of railway workers will strike across three days this week, grinding much of the transport system to...

How your monthly bills could rise as the base rate reaches 1.25%

The Bank of England has raised the base rate to 1.25% as predicted – the fifth consecutive rise in just six ...

Low-income pensioner? You could gain £3k top-up

Hundreds of thousands of retirees struggling with a low income are missing out on Pension Credit worth £3,300...

What will happen if rates change

How your finances will be impacted by a rise in interest rates.

Regular Savings Calculator

Small regular contributions can build up nicely over time.

Online Savings Calculator

Work out how your online savings can build over time.

DIY investors: 10 common mistakes to avoid

For those without the help and experience of an adviser, here are 10 common DIY investor mistakes to avoid.

Mortgage down-valuations: Tips to avoid pulling out of a house sale

Down-valuations are on the rise. So, what does it mean for home buyers, and what can you do?

Five tips for surviving a bear market mauling

The S&P 500 has slipped into bear market territory and for UK investors, the FTSE 250 is also on the edge. Her...

Money Tips of the Week