Don’t Patronise Unlicensed Investment Schemes- SEC Warns

The Security and Exchange Commission (SEC) Thursday cautioned the public against patronising unlicensed financial investment schemes and products, which are being marketed through various media forms, including electronic, outdoor and mass media advertising.

“Operators of these unlicensed financial investment schemes are in serious breach of various provisions of the Securities Industry Act, 2016 (Act 929) and are warned to close down or risk being caught on the wrong side of the law,” the Commission said in a statement, issued in Accra, and copied to the Ghana News Agency.

“The unique selling proposition of these schemes and products is the unreasonably high rates of return or interest per month or year promised the investor public,” it noted.

“Some of the guaranteed returns range from 6%, 10%, 20%, 40% and even as high as 70% a month translating into, 72%, 120%, 240%, 480% and 840% a year respectively.

“Some of these high rates of promised interest are surprisingly dollar denominated. Proper disclosure on risk and ability to pay are not made by these entities.

“Offering such high guaranteed returns, non-disclosure of risk and ability to pay are tell-tale features of ‘Pyramid’ and ‘Ponzi Schemes’ where new or fresh money deposited by clients are essentially used to pay previous depositors since there is no real underlying investment in the first place”.

The SEC explained, that after a while, the pipe-line for fresh deposits or investments of these companies usually dried up, leading to widespread default culminating in loss of the money supposedly invested by unsuspecting depositors or investors.

“The high rates of returns are used as a bait to get the public to fall for the scam. A promise of high returns is in essence a guarantee of high risk which is typically the stock in trade of Pyramid” and “Ponzi Schemes”. High risk means you could lose your entire principal”.

It, therefore, advised the public to report any such Schemes and entities directly to it on its Toll free number: 080010065 or main line: 0302 -768970 – 2; or contact it on its website

“The SEC is not out to destroy anyone’s business. It is only committed to its statutory mandate to protect the interest of investors,” it explained.

The Securities and Exchange Commission (hereinafter referred to as “SEC”) is the statutory body mandated by the Securities Industry Act 2016 (Act 929) to protect investors and the interest of the general investing public.

The Act, among others things, specifically mandates the SEC to ‘promote the orderly growth and development of an efficient, fair and transparent securities market, in which investors and the integrity of the market are protected.’