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Kingsley Advice Group: Lies from a boiler room scam

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Kingsley Advice Group claims to have “a long history of success” and to be a “trusted name in financial services”. Both of these statements are lies. The company was recently created. And it’s a scam, not a “trusted name”.

Kingsley Advice Group is a boiler room based in London. I know it’s a boiler room, because the Financial Conduct Authority says it is in a recent warning about the company.

Staff from Kingsley Advice Group cold call people to offer them ways of selling the carbon credits that they have been scammed into buying as an investment. Of course they want a payment upfront. It’s the recovery room part of the scam.

Here’s a screenshot of part of the FCA’s warning:

fca2

FCA warns that,

This is what we call a ‘clone firm’; and fraudsters usually use this tactic when contacting people out of the blue, so you should be especially wary if you have been cold called.

Kingsley Advice Group claims that it is a “Member of the Autoriteit Financiële Markten (Netherlands) and the Financial Conduct Authority (United Kingdom) under EEA [European Economic Area] Authorisation number 501210.” More lies, I’m afraid. There is a company called Kingsley Adviesgroep B.V. with that EEA number, but Kingsley Advice Group has nothing to do with Kingsley Adviesgroep.

There is another company called Kingsley Group, based in Chorley, Lancashire. Kingsley Advice Group (the boiler room) took its logo and name from Kingsley Group. I rang Kingsley Group in Chorley this morning to ask whether they have an office in London. They don’t. So that’s two companies that Kingsley Advice Group is cloning.

On its website, Kingsley Advice Group claims that it was established in 1998 and that the principal of the company (whoever that is) “has been involved in the financial planning industry since 1984”. But the company website was only registered (anonymously) on 23 August 2013. A search on Open Corporates reveals no record of a company called Kingsley Advice Group:

More lies, then.

Kingsley Advice Group’s website features a picture of a man in a business suit smiling in front of a skyscraper backdrop. “Cheers to 28 years” it says below the picture. But the man in the business suit has nothing to with Kingsley Advice Group. He’s an Australian businessman. Even the “Cheers to 28 years” is stolen:

Kingsley Advice Group has a FAQ page on its website. One of the questions is, “Who can I complain to if I have a complaint about the advisory service?” I imagine that this is a question that Kingley Advice Group hears very frequently.

Here’s the company’s answer:

If you have any complaint about the service provided to you, you should take the following steps:

     Contact your Kingsley Advice Group Financial Planner and tell him or her about your complaint.

     We will try and resolve your complaint quickly and fairly.

     If you still do not get a satisfactory outcome, you have the right to complain to:

    The Financial Ombudsman Service
    South Quay Plaza
    183 Marsh Wall
    London E14 9SR
    United Kingdom

You may or may not be reassured by this, but you shouldn’t be. It’s yet another lie. The Kingsley Advice Group is not registered with the FCA. In its warning about buying carbon credits as investments, the FCA points out that,

[I]f you buy an investment product from a firm that is not authorised by us, you will not have access to the Financial Ombudsman Service or Financial Services Compensation Scheme (FSCS) if things go wrong.

So, if anyone rings you from a company calling itself Kingsley Advice Group, just put the phone down. In fact, no matter what they call themselves, if it’s a cold call, just put down the phone. No reputable company would cold call you.

And if you’ve been scammed into buying carbon credits as an investment, here are some suggestions of what you can do.
 


UPDATE – 10 November 2017: The Australian businessman whose image was stolen by Kingsley Advice Group requested that I remove his name from this post. I have done so, and pixelated his photograph and company name.


 

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  1. May I alert readers to another questionable company – Financial Advisers Onine. They have an address in Belgium.
    Below is a sample of a contract they offered with some comments from me.

    TERMS OF SALE

    • Financial Advisors Online agree to represent the SELLER on the agreed sale of 2,500 Carbon Offsets
    • The Date of proposed sale Wednesday 18th December 2013
    • The Fixed Tender Offset cost. (Insurance) £0.55 pence
    • Total Insurance cost £1,375 GBP
    • Price per Carbon Offset £9.25 pence
    • Total gross amount to be paid to the SELLER £24,500 GBP

    Fixed Tender Security Cost is taken against the amount of Offset units per holding and is fixed at £0.55 per offset.

    Payments are made to Financial Advisors Online nominated UK Bank.

    No details of the bank are given before you sign a contract to sell your credits.

    If it sounds too good to be true, it isn’t true.

    CLAUSES

    1. In the event of delays or cancellation to the agreed contracted sale date herein and where the fault lies with the BUYER (unforeseen acts, insolvency, acts of terrorism) and not Financial Advisors Online, FAOL will guarantee to sell the SELLER’s position within 90 days at no less than the price indicated herein.
    2. In the event of delays or cancellation to the agreed date of sale and a revised date is not achieved (clause 1) FAOL guarantee to pay the SELLER back a full refund of their Fixed Tender security cost illustrated within the contract plus an additional 5% fee Fixed Tender security cost. This is applicable in the event the SELLER does not want FAOL to provide an alternative sale date as stated in (clause 1).
    3. The agreed sale date is not subject to any currency fluctuation and contracted sale price is non-negotiable.
    4. FAOL reserves the right to refuse acceptance of a contract should any Anti Money Laundering laws (AML) fail to be adhered to.
    5. In the event of the SELLER cancellations, insolvency, unforeseen circumstances leading to the SELLER not proceeding with the contracted sale or death the Fixed Tender security cost is held with FAOL and used towards the BUYER’s shortfall. Subsequently, the SELLER receives no proceeds from the sale. In this instance, the Offset’s remain in terms of full ownership, with the SELLER.

    FINANCIAL ADVISORS ONLINE WILL BE LEGALLY BOUND TO THE TERMS AND CLAUSES OF THE CONTRACT UPON RECEIPT OF ALL RELEVANT SUPPORTING DOCUMENTS AND ANY OR ALL COSTS OR FEES ASSOCIATED.

    Signed Signed: ………………………………………………
    Derek Bell, Chief Compliance Officer

    Date: 11th December 2013 Date: ………………………………..

    Appendix:

    • BUYER: refers to the Offsetter and/or their representatives who require to purchase.
    • SELLER: refers to the registered owner of the Offsets.
    • FAOL: Financial Advisors Online.
    • CER: Certified Emission Reductions.
    • EUA: European Unit Allowances.
    • VER: Voluntary Emission Reductions.
    • CRT: Climate Reserve Tonne.