A London-based company that offered unauthorised investment opportunities to the public has been wound-up in court.
Asset Backed Management Limited was wound up on 7 May 2019 by Judge Barton at the High Court in London following an investigation by the Insolvency Service. The Official Receiver has been appointed as liquidator.
The court heard that Asset Backed Management, incorporated in January 2017, sold asset investment opportunities to members of the public, including corporate bonds and alternative bonds.
The company would contact prospective customers by cold-calling them, as well as promoting its business through the website www.assetbackedmanagement.com.
Asset Backed Management was paid commission by the issuers of the bonds, ranging between 27.5% and 40%, deducted from the customers’ investments.
Following complaints, however, the Insolvency Service conducted a confidential investigation into the company’s activities.
Investigators were able to establish that Asset Backed Management is not, and has never been, regulated by the FCA. Additionally, it hasn’t employed an FCA-authorised person or had its marketing materials approved by an FCA-authorised person.
Additionally, the FCA carried out a regulatory enquiry into the company and it was agreed with Asset Backed Management and its director, Amir Damoussi, that they would not promote or invite investments in bonds or other controlled investments without approval of an FCA-authorised person.
The company’s methods of attracting new customers, which included cold calling and targeting people who were not sophisticated investors, in some cases even vulnerable individuals, were in breach of financial regulations.
Although the company failed to provide its books and records, investigators examined Asset Backed Management’s bank statements and revealed that income via commission received on the bonds amounted to £260,000. As a result, investigators have suggested that the company introduced unregulated investments to people in the region of £650,000 to £940,000.
Asset Backed Management failed to file any accounts, and had failed to preserve, maintain and/or deliver up any accounting records. The company also suddenly left its registered office on Threadneedle Street in November 2018 without informing its landlord, despite continuing to market itself as based there.
Helen Cosgrove, Chief Investigator at the Insolvency Service, said: “Asset Backed Management traded in wilful breach of FCA regulations that exist to protect investors. Many members of the public have been impacted by their actions. This behaviour will not be tolerated. The Insolvency Service will investigate any reports of such conduct and petition the court to wind-up companies found to be trading to the detriment of the public interest.”