Further to the failed seminars of Henry Woods Investment Management (HWIM), which were cancelled due to our proposed intervention, it is projected that any future plans of HWIM to hold financial seminars anywhere along the costas will again be met by our strong opposition and legal picketing of the proposed venues. Until this company deals with all of our groups many complaints of mis-selling and becomes registered with the Spanish financial regulators (CNMV) we will continue to protect the many innocent prospective clients that may be attracted by the unsolicited, unregulated and misleading adverts of this company displayed through the English media.
A PUBLIC DEMONSTRATION
We are now aware that Henry Woods Investment Management
intends to run a series of four seminars in the Costa Blanca.
Miramar (Oliva), Tues 30th March, Restaurante La Garrota, 4pm
Javea, Weds 31st March, Parador Hotel, 12 noon
Altea, Thurs 1st April, Altea Hills Hotel, 12 noon
Torrevieja, Fri 2nd April, Hotel La Zenia, 12 noon
The Costa Del Sol Action Group is organising a public demonstration outside the Seminars being held by Henry Woods Investment Management on the Costa Blanca.
This is being carried out with full Police Permission.
Members wishing to attend please make contact as we have arranged all transport and publicity material etc.
THE FOLLOWING WAS SENT TO
Jersey Financial Services Commission
21st March 2004
David Carse - Director General, Jersey Financial Services Commission
Nigel Woodrofe, Financial Services Commissioner, Jersey Financial Services Commission
I am writing to you on behalf of the Costa del Sol Action Group which was formed to expose a large number of financial advisers in Spain who act with out the proper regulatory authorisation in an attempt to ensure that investors are not the victims of mis selling.
This Group has been in existence for almost three years and has achieved unprecedented success in limiting the risk of inappropriate advice being provided to unsuspecting investors. There are over 300 members in the Group many of whom have lost significant sums of money mainly from the advice provided by these unregulated advisers.
We have also attempted to ensure that unauthorised products are not distributed in Spain. As you know the EU Third Life Directive, whilst permitting free movement of goods and services across EU borders, requires ALL investment and insurance products to be approved (or authorised) for distribution in any Member State. I also understand that under Jersey regulations you require all businesses regulated by you to only deal with regulated brokers or intermediaries. There have been flagrant breaches of this Directive and your rules by a number of Jersey based investment and insurance providers.
I know that the Jersey FSC has attempted to ensure that those businesses regulated there are at all times compliant with the local legislation. I also know that the Jersey Regulatory Authority are anxious not to breach EU Directives in order not to jeopardise their relationship with the EU in any future negotiations. Indeed Richard Pratt was in discussion with the Spanish regulator as late as last year in order to discuss the distribution of Jersey based products to Spanish residents.
A large number of Jersey based insurance companies will now no longer allow unregulated brokers to act as distributors for their products and this has meant a reduction in the number of unauthorised products being distributed by unregulated brokers. It is commendable that they have taken this stance and to their credit it will, in the longer term, uphold the reputation of these insurance companies by appointing only those distributors who are properly regulated in Spain.
I am particularly concerned that a seminar has been advertised by a Firm based in the Costa del Sol, Henry Woods Investment Brokers, who are not regulated at all, in any jurisdiction, contrary to the law in Spain and that a Jersey based product provider,Close Asset Management Jersey Limited, has agreed to attend to promote their products through this Firm. Indeed it must be remembered that the fund is also not authorised for distribution in Spain.
I urge you to use your considerable powers to ensure that this Jersey regulated business does not flaunt the laws of Spain by allowing an unregulated broker and an unauthorised product to become the subject of this seminar. The Fund is able to promote its product through regulated brokers and it therefore seems unduly provocative to the Spanish regulators to promote their fund through Henry Woods.
I am sure that you would not countenance a Spanish Broker arriving in Jersey and offering in a public seminar products that are not authorised for distribution in the Jersey and more especially through an unregulated entity?
This is a sensitive time for Jersey with international regulatory requirements becoming more onerous and I know that the Government of Jersey would want to wish the territory to avoid becoming involved in what promises to become a high profile legal action. We are pursuing a High Court case in Spain against Henry Woods and a number of product providers and we are aware that the Spanish regulators are studying files that indicate that unauthorised products are being openly marketed in Spain.
This seminar is also suggesting to potential attendees that a trust company will be in attendance and there is an inference (in supporting material provided by Henry Woods) that this structure may be used as means of evading tax in Spain. As you will also appreciate Jersey has agreed to do all in its power to prevent money laundering in this way and has introduced new regulations accordingly. The trust company is also Jersey based and I urge you to discuss with them their involvement in this seminar as I am certain that Jersey would not wish to countenance any risk of allowing money laundering (tax evasion) by the reckless use of a Jersey based trust.
The Action Group is arranging to carry out public demonstrations at each of the seminar venues to ensure that anyone attending is aware that they risk receiving unregulated advice and may be sold products that are not authorised for distribution. We do not wish to include Jersey as a territory that does nothing to prevent such illegal activity when it has the influence to prevent such events from including Jersey based Firms. But unless you can assure me that you will take action in this matter we will have no option but to include Jersey as a territory which allows such practices to continue despite the fact that you have been made aware of this matter.
I am sending a copy of this to the lawyers to the All Weather Fund, Beddall Cristen, as this is the focus of the seminar to be held by Henry Woods for their information.
Information regarding the seminars is also being sent to the two main Spanish regulatory bodies (CNMV and DGS).
A copy of this is also being sent to Close Asset Management Jersey Ltd. so that they will be aware of the public demonstrations that will take place (the police have been informed and may be present). We expect there to be significant media interest both locally and within the UK Press as they will be notified of this demonstration.
These seminars are being held between 30th march -2nd April so you have limited time in which to ensure that a Firm regulated in Jersey does not act as an accomplice to a breach of the law of Spain in relation to the provision of financial services.
I look forward to your reply ASAP
Simon Dowling, Director of Close All Weather Fund, dealing with Henry Woods
Alastair Smith, Close Finsbury Asset Management Limited (Main Board Director in London)
Close International Private banking, Managing Director
Mark Pratt, Managing Director, Close Fund Services Limited,
Martin Paul (Lawyer advising the Close All Weather Fund)
Mercado de Valores CNMV
Direcion de Seguros.