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Financial Regulator Wins Back £1.6 Million for Investors of Unlawful Investment Schemes

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The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) has been granted a court order that allows it to recover some of the money victims lost to Unregulated Collective Investment Schemes (UCIS) promoted by Argento Wealth Ltd and its director, Daniel Willis.

A UCIS is any type of collective investment scheme that is unauthorised or unregulated by the financial markets watchdog, the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA). A collective investment scheme enables investors to pool their assets within a fund scheme managed by an independent professional.

A UCIS is generally considered unsuitable for retail investors, i.e. everyday investors, and most people should not be advised to invest in them. They often invest in high-risk funds and investors should be prepared to lose all their money.

Unregulated CIS funds have existed for a long time; we have previously highlighted issues with pension investors wanting to take advantage of the greater choice of investments available in a Self-Invested Personal Pension, commonly known as an SIPP.

Many people are unaware that these funds are unregulated and in turn do not have any protection from the FCA or the lifeboat Financial Services Compensation Scheme (FSCS) if things go wrong.

The FCA’s website contains a register where would be investors can check if a fund is authorised.

Argento Wealth Ltd is a Cardiff-based company headed by Daniel Willis. According to Companies House information, the firm was previously known as Aurora Wealth Ltd and has been around since 2017.

Back in February 2024, the FCA started legal proceedings in the High Court in London against Argento Wealth and its director, Daniel Willis. They wanted to recover funds “for victims of the firm’s unlawful activity”. The FCA alleged that Argento Wealth Ltd:

  • unlawfully took approximately £2.8 million as deposits under loan agreements and/or as part of an unauthorised collective investment scheme;
  • unlawfully arranged investments in EMB Fund Limited (EMB) totalling about US$9 million; and
  • breached the restrictions on financial promotion.

The FCA further alleged that Daniel Willis was aware of this activity and that evidence was not provided that the money could be repaid.

If a firm is unable to repay investors’ money or meet the costs of claims against it, the FCA is able to freeze the company’s assets and take necessary legal action.

The FCA said that investors who loaned money to Argento Wealth Ltd were “likely to suffer very significant losses”, as the company’s assets were believed to be worth considerably less than what was owed.

A recent update from the FCA reported that the High Court approved a consent order so that investors can be partly refunded. The FCA will now be able to get £1.6 million back from Argento Wealth Ltd and Daniel Willis to distribute among investors, preventing Argento and Mr Willis from using the money to meet ongoing legal and living costs.

It has not yet been decided which investors will get the money or how it will be distributed.

Sarah Spruce, Legal Director and Head of the Investment Mis-selling team at TLW Solicitors, says:

“The FCA’s speedy intervention and subsequent High Court order mean that at least some money will be returned to investors. It is always a worry that legal and administration costs will eat up whatever assets are left, leaving people with nothing of their original investment.

Anyone concerned about the impact of these recent developments, or indeed any UCIS, should not hesitate to get in touch with a member of my team for a no obligation discussion about the available options.”

If you, a friend, or a loved one has invested in funds through Argento Wealth Ltd or another Unregulated Collective Investment Scheme, please contact us.

We can conduct a free, no-obligation review of your case and advise on next steps. If you were given financial advice to invest in an unregulated scheme and promised high rates of return, you may be eligible for ‘no-win, no-fee’ compensation.

Please call us on 0800 169 5925, send an email or complete one of the forms below.

It is important to get advice as soon as possible, as strict time limits can apply.

Minimum case values apply.

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