FSCA warns the public against Fairtree Capital WhatsApp Group

02 September 2021 The Financial Sector Conduct Authority (FSCA)

The Financial Sector Conduct Authority (FSCA) would like to warn the public to act with caution when dealing with a WhatsApp group which is using the name Fairtree Capital. The individuals behind the WhatsApp group are not authorised in terms of the Financial Advisory and Intermediary Services Act, 2002 (FAIS Act), to render any financial advice and intermediary services.

The WhatsApp group is soliciting investments from people and promising unrealistic and excessive returns. They are using the names of a legitimate financial services provider (FSP), Fairtree Asset Management (Pty) Ltd FSP 25917, Faitree Capital Hospitality (Pty) Ltd FSP 46033 and Fairtree Private Client (Pty) Ltd FSP 12179 in order to appear to be doing legitimate financial services business. The abovementioned FSPs have confirmed that they are in no way associated with the WhatsApp group. It is the FSCA’s view that the WhatsApp group is conducting unregistered business and is providing advisory and intermediary services without the necessary authorisation.

Members of the public should always check that an entity or individual is registered with the FSCA to provide Financial Advisory & Intermediary Services and what category of advice it is that the entity is registered to provide. There are instances where persons are registered to provide basic advisory services for a low-risk product and then offer services of a far more complex and risky nature. The FSCA again reminds consumers who wish to conduct financial services with an institution or person to check beforehand with the FSCA on either the toll free number (0800 110 443) or on the website as to whether or not such institution or person is authorised to render financial services, and in particular which financial products they are licensed for.

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