Alongside our mission to educate investment professionals, CFA UK is also committed to promoting the highest standards of ethical and professional behaviour. With that in mind, the society has spent much of the past year protecting the integrity of the market for investment qualifications in the UK.
We have recently concluded court proceedings over a series of scams involving purported applications for our Investment Management Certificate (IMC) programme and counterfeit copies of the Official Training Manual (OTM) study materials and have obtained injunctions against the scammers.
CFA UK was contacted by members of the public who reported that fraudsters were posing as recruitment agencies advertising fictitious jobs in the financial services industry, who then purported to conduct a screening interview the purpose of which was to persuade the candidate to sign up for the IMC qualification through a non-existent registration and study package offered by the agency. Candidates who made the required payment were not entered for the IMC examination and were supplied with a counterfeit and generally out of date copy of the OTM.
The fraud was perpetrated through a network of purported agencies. Following a thorough investigation of all agencies and key individuals alleged to be involved, CFA UK brought proceedings against Mr Charlie Cruz (also known as Charles Allen) in relation to his activities through purported agencies Employer UK Ltd and FinancialJobsUK Ltd, and against the agencies Omijobs Ltd, FinancialJobsUK Ltd and Quick Careers Ltd.
CFA UK was not itself a direct victim of these frauds but was able to bring proceedings on the basis that it owns registered trademarks in relation to the 'IMC' name and the copyright in the OTM.
Will Goodhart, chief executive at CFA UK says: ‘CFA UK wishes to thank everyone who reported these frauds and attempted frauds and particularly wishes to thank the candidates who provided invaluable information to our legal team in order to enable these proceedings to be brought. The IMC is the benchmark entry level qualification for the UK investment profession and an FCA 'Appropriate Qualification' for the activity of managing investments and protecting the integrity of the programme is of paramount importance to us. We remain vigilant to the risk of fraud relating to our qualifications and ask anyone who has concerns of a possible fraud to report it to us'.
Lindsey Matthews, CFA, chair of the CFA UK board says: ‘The financial markets depend on trust and the market for financial qualifications is no different. When we learnt about the way that people's trust was being abused, we acted to address that. Just as we care about consumer outcomes in the investment market, we care about the outcomes for people who are looking to build a career in the investment profession. We will always act to protect the integrity of the market for financial qualifications and are pleased that the legal system has allowed us to take action in this case.’