Asset Backed Management Limited, an unregulated introducer which took commission of between 27.5% and 40% for promoting unregulated investments to the public, has been shut down by the Insolvency Service.
The Insolvency Service announces:
Investigators were able to establish that Asset Backed Management is not, and has never been, regulated by the FCA.
Clearly nothing gets past the Insolvency Service’s investigators. Including a disclaimer at the bottom of Asset Backed Management’s own website which stated “Asset backed management [sic] is not regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority. It is not authorised to offer advice on investments, whether regulated or unregulated.”
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.
Asset Backed Management being nice enough to agree with the FCA that they wouldn’t break the law in future wasn’t enough to save the company.
The Insolvency Service’s press release does not reveal whether any further action will be taken against Damoussi.
Which particular investments paid Asset Backed Investments 27.5% to 40% commission was not revealed by the Insolvency Service, although they examined its books and established that it received around £260,000 in commission in total.
As of 2018, Asset Backed Investments described its investments on its website as “Corporate Bonds – Commercial Property – Property Bonds – Renewable Energy Bonds” with returns of 9% to 10.35% over a term of 3 to 5 years.
This bears a remarkable similarity to the rates offered by Exmount Commercial Developments, which at the time of our review in May 2018 paid interest of 9.12% for three year bonds and 10.35% for five year bonds.
Exmount Commercial Developments (whose registered name is Exmount Construction Ltd) has been overdue with its 2018 accounts since the end of last month.
Asset Backed Investments was set up in 2017. From January 2017 to January 2018, a significant control function was held by Ricky “Wolf of Westcliff” Burgess. Burgess is banned from acting as a director of any company until 2031, following his involvement in scams relating to carbon credits and the sale of gems as investments.
Amir Damoussi has lost no time in moving on to his next venture. Companies House shows that in April 2019, he incorporated a new company, B2C Marketing Limited, along with fellow director Wade Bush. At time of writing B2C Marketing does not appear to have a public web presence.
Helen Cosgrove, Chief Investigator at the Insolvency Service, stated:
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.
Alternatively, if the Insolvency Service or the FCA are at a loose end, they could always just Google “best interest rates” or “safe investments”, instead of waiting for the public to whistleblow.