FOS is currently investigating 274 cases related to mini-bonds

By Jean-Baptiste Andrieux 21st January 2022 21st January 2022

The Financial Ombudsman Service (FOS) is currently dealing with 274 open cases concerning mini-bonds.

This was revealed by a Freedom of Information request submitted by Money Marketing on 16 December 2021.

Among these 274 open cases, 12 of them are related to Wellesley & Co Limited and 18 to Equity for Growth (Securities) Ltd.

Money Marketing understands that complaints received by FOS involving mini-bonds tend to be around the sales process and the promotional material.

The FCA has been lobbying to tighten financial promotion and advertising standards through the Online Safety Bill.

It also intends to strength rules on how high-risk financial products are marketed while the government also has plans to toughen rules on cryptoasset advertisements.

According to details provided on its website, Wellesley & Co Limited (trading under Wellesley) is currently looking to implement a company voluntary arrangement.

The following message is visible on the company’s website: “After seven years of trading, 2020 presented unique and unforeseen challenges that hindered Wellesley’s future liquidity position. This included the Covid-19 pandemic and proposed changes in the regulatory environment which meant that Wellesley may no longer be able to raise funding through the issue of listed bonds on Euronext Dublin (formerly the Irish Stock Exchange). As such, Wellesley has entered a course of action to restructure, recapitalise and address these challenges accordingly.

“Wellesley Finance Limited is now progressing with plans to implement a company voluntary arrangement with its creditors in order to deliver a swift resolution.

“If you are an impacted investor, you have been sent details regarding this process and how it impacts your investment via email.”

Wellesley has been authorised by the FCA for specific activities and product types since 15 February 2019.

According to the FCA register, Garret Graham Wellesley acts as chief executive and Andrew Joseph John Turnbull as executive director.

On 10 September 2020 the FCA placed a restriction on Wellesley that said it: “Must not promote or arrange any new investments regardless of medium. This includes not approving or publishing any new financial promotions.”

Money Marketing contacted Wellesley Finance Limited for comments.

Equity for Growth (Securities) Limited defines itself as a “corporate finance advisory house, dedicated to assisting growth companies with their financial future”.

Its areas of expertise are corporate advisory, capital raising, assistance with Seed Enterprise Investment Scheme applications as a promoter, and acting as security trustee.

The firm has been authorised by the FCA since 9 May 2008 and was founded by Tim Baldwin who is also chief executive.

Equity for Growth (Securities) Ltd was not available for comment.

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