On 11 April 2022, the director of Vector Wealth Ltd made an application to the High Court of Justice to seek an order that the Company be placed into administration. On 22 April 2022, James Alexander Snowdon and Michael Colin John Sanders, both of MHA MacIntyre Hudson LLP, were appointed Joint Administrators of Vector Wealth Ltd. We set out the steps Vector Wealth Ltd customers can take and advice on how to protect against scams by fraudsters claiming to be acting on behalf of the Administrators.
Vector Wealth Ltd is an FCA authorised firm that issued a mini-bond to investors called the ‘Absolute Return Forex Bond. The marketing material for this mini-bond stated that the proceeds of the mini-bond would be used to generate returns for investors through trading foreign exchange. Vector Wealth has told the FCA that all purchasers of the mini-bond were either high net worth or self-certified sophisticated investors.
The FCA believes that there are approximately 40 customers who have invested in Vector Wealth bonds, totalling approximately £4m invested.
Having received insolvency advice, Vector’s directors concluded that the firm is insolvent, and applied to court to place the firm into administration.
If you are a customer of Vector Wealth Ltd, the Administrators will be writing to you shortly to explain what this means for you and what action you should take. You can find the latest developments on their website. If you do not receive a letter from the Administrators by Friday 29 April 2022, you should contact them.
We understand that the Administrators are planning to phone investors to explain what is happening over the week commencing the 25 April 2022. If you are contacted by the Administrators, please end the call and phone back using the details below to confirm the legitimacy of the call before continuing the conversation.
We previously (16 February 2022) imposed a number of requirements against Vector Wealth which can be seen on the firm’s entry on the FS Register.
Firm Name: MHA MacIntyre Hudson, a trading name of MacIntyre Hudson LLP. Registered in England with registered number OC312313.
Address: MHA MacIntyre Hudson, 6th Floor, 2 London Wall Place, London, EC2Y 5AU
Telephone: +44(0)20 7429 4100
Protecting yourself from scams
Fraudsters sometimes claim to be from legitimate firms authorised by us, or (in the case of administration) their appointed administrator. Take care of fraudsters pretending to be Vector Wealth and asking you to pay money to get your money back. If you are cold called by someone claiming to be from Vector Wealth or MHA MacIntyre Hudson, please end the call and contact the Administrators using the details provided above.
Find out more information on protecting yourself from scams.
I’m a Vector Wealth bond holder, will I get my money back?
The Administrators will be assessing Vector Wealth’s assets and will put forward proposals as to how they will proceed. They will write to bond holders with these proposals, usually within 8 weeks of being appointed.
Will the Financial Services Compensation Scheme pay compensation on Vector Wealth mini-bonds?
The Financial Services Compensation Scheme (FSCS) protects consumers when financial services firms fail. It is the compensation scheme for customers of UK authorised financial services firms. The FSCS is established mainly to assist private individuals, although smaller businesses are also covered.
Although Vector Wealth has entered administration, FSCS is unlikely to be able to pay compensation based purely on Vector Wealth’s failure to repay the mini-bonds, as issuing a mini-bond is not in itself a regulated activity.
The FSCS is operationally independent of the FCA and it is the FSCS that determines whether compensation is payable under the FCA’s compensation rules. Bondholders can find further information on the FSCS website.
Customers who are not covered by the FSCS will be creditors in the insolvency. If creditors have any queries or wish to register their claim they should contact the Administrators.
If you are unclear on your position, then you might want to think about getting some legal advice.
Was Vector Wealth FCA authorised?
Yes, but it was only authorised by the FCA to conduct some investment related activity. The issuing of Vector Wealth’s mini-bond was not a regulated activity. This means (as explained above) that FSCS protection may not apply.
Has the FCA had any recent engagement with Vector Wealth?
On 16 February 2022 the FCA imposed a number of requirements on Vector Wealth which can be seen on the firm’s entry on the FS Register. These requirements included that the firm must immediately:
- Stop all regulated activity.
- Stop all unregulated activity relating to mini-bonds.
- Not, without the prior written consent of the FCA, dispose of, withdraw, transfer, deal with, or diminish the value of any of its assets.
Do I need to use a third party to get my money back?
If you are approached by a company, including a claims management company (a CMC), offering to help you recover your money, you should proceed with caution.
For the vast majority of Vector Wealth’s bond holders, there will be little or no benefit in involving any third party in making a claim.
For example, if you use a CMC to assist in the return of your assets, the CMC is likely to seek a fee which may reduce what you get back.
If you are considering using a CMC, or other third party, to assist with the return of your assets, we suggest that before you decide to proceed with this route you first discuss this with the administrators using the contact details provided above. The FSCS has also produced some points to consider before using a CMC which can be found on its website.
What is the FCA’s role in the administration?
Vector Wealth is still authorised by the FCA and remains subject to supervisory oversight and the FCA’s rules. The administrators are officers of the Court and need to comply with all insolvency law. The individuals appointed are also licensed insolvency practitioners and supervised by the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England & Wales (ICAEW). We are liaising closely with the administrators.
What is a mini-bond?
There is no legal definition of a ‘mini-bond’, but the term usually refers to illiquid debt securities marketed to retail investors. A mini-bond is essentially an IOU issued by a company (the issuer) to an investor, in exchange for a fixed rate of interest over a set investment term. At the end of the term the investors’ capital is due to be repaid. The return on investors’ money depends on the success and proper running of the issuer’s business. If the business fails, investors may get nothing back.
From 1 January 2021, our rules permanently ban promotions of what we are calling ‘speculative mini-bonds’ to retail consumers, unless a consumer is a ‘sophisticated’ or high net worth investor. See more information on mini-bonds.
Are mini-bonds regulated?
In general, a business does not have to be regulated by the FCA to raise funds by issuing shares or debt securities (whether mini-bonds or otherwise).
However, any investment services provided by firms in relation to these investments are regulated, and are subject to our rules. For example, if an authorised firm provides investment advice about mini-bonds, it must make sure the advice is suitable.
Mini-bonds are sometimes distributed by an authorised person (eg, online investment platforms). If that is the case, that person will be subject to our rules.
In addition, financial promotions will usually need to be approved by an FCA-authorised person. They must check that the promotion complies with our rules – for example, that it is clear, fair and not misleading.