Kingsley Advice Group claims to have “a long history of success” and to be a “trusted name in financial services”. Both of these statements are lies. The company was recently created. And it’s a scam, not a “trusted name”.
Kingsley Advice Group is a boiler room based in London. I know it’s a boiler room, because the Financial Conduct Authority says it is in a recent warning about the company.
Staff from Kingsley Advice Group cold call people to offer them ways of selling the carbon credits that they have been scammed into buying as an investment. Of course they want a payment upfront. It’s the recovery room part of the scam.
Here’s a screenshot of part of the FCA’s warning:
FCA warns that,
This is what we call a ‘clone firm’; and fraudsters usually use this tactic when contacting people out of the blue, so you should be especially wary if you have been cold called.
Kingsley Advice Group claims that it is a “Member of the Autoriteit Financiële Markten (Netherlands) and the Financial Conduct Authority (United Kingdom) under EEA [European Economic Area] Authorisation number 501210.” More lies, I’m afraid. There is a company called Kingsley Adviesgroep B.V. with that EEA number, but Kingsley Advice Group has nothing to do with Kingsley Adviesgroep.
There is another company called Kingsley Group, based in Chorley, Lancashire. Kingsley Advice Group (the boiler room) took its logo and name from Kingsley Group. I rang Kingsley Group in Chorley this morning to ask whether they have an office in London. They don’t. So that’s two companies that Kingsley Advice Group is cloning.
On its website, Kingsley Advice Group claims that it was established in 1998 and that the principal of the company (whoever that is) “has been involved in the financial planning industry since 1984”. But the company website was only registered (anonymously) on 23 August 2013. A search on Open Corporates reveals no record of a company called Kingsley Advice Group:
More lies, then.
Kingsley Advice Group’s website features a picture of a man in a business suit smiling in front of a skyscraper backdrop. “Cheers to 28 years” it says below the picture. But the man in the business suit has nothing to with Kingsley Advice Group. He’s an Australian businessman. Even the “Cheers to 28 years” is stolen:
Kingsley Advice Group has a FAQ page on its website. One of the questions is, “Who can I complain to if I have a complaint about the advisory service?” I imagine that this is a question that Kingley Advice Group hears very frequently.
Here’s the company’s answer:
If you have any complaint about the service provided to you, you should take the following steps:
Contact your Kingsley Advice Group Financial Planner and tell him or her about your complaint.
We will try and resolve your complaint quickly and fairly.
If you still do not get a satisfactory outcome, you have the right to complain to:
The Financial Ombudsman Service
South Quay Plaza
183 Marsh Wall
London E14 9SR
You may or may not be reassured by this, but you shouldn’t be. It’s yet another lie. The Kingsley Advice Group is not registered with the FCA. In its warning about buying carbon credits as investments, the FCA points out that,
[I]f you buy an investment product from a firm that is not authorised by us, you will not have access to the Financial Ombudsman Service or Financial Services Compensation Scheme (FSCS) if things go wrong.
So, if anyone rings you from a company calling itself Kingsley Advice Group, just put the phone down. In fact, no matter what they call themselves, if it’s a cold call, just put down the phone. No reputable company would cold call you.
And if you’ve been scammed into buying carbon credits as an investment, here are some suggestions of what you can do.
UPDATE – 10 November 2017: The Australian businessman whose image was stolen by Kingsley Advice Group requested that I remove his name from this post. I have done so, and pixelated his photograph and company name.