The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) is sending a strong warning to Fund Managers and other market operators against promising guaranteed returns on investments.
Director-General of the SEC, Daniel Ogbarmey Tetteh said although some investment firms have defied the directive since 2014, the securities market regulator will descend heavily on violating firms in the coming days.
“You are not supposed to guarantee investments,” he warned investment firms on Wednesday when he came on Joy FM’s Super Morning Show to discuss issues in the investment sector.
“Some [investment firms] have done it. It wasn’t right. The SEC gave a directive on that in 2014 and we are strongly enforcing it. From last year June, we issued a strong directive to our market operators to stop the practice of guaranteeing returns.
The SEC is currently dealing with an avalanche of complaints by the investing public that many market operators are failing to honour their obligations to pay them a stated fixed return on their investments.
Also, state-run Graphic Business reports that some of the complainants have been chasing their investments for more than 24 months in some cases, but 13 months on the average.
The SEC has said it is taking firm steps against some investment firms that appear on its complaints radar.
Mr Ogbarmey Tetteh said there is an ongoing process to ensure that the SEC directive against fixed returns is complied with by market operators.
He said mystery shoppers are being sent to firms to pick out violators.
Meanwhile, the SEC boss wants the investing public to understand the basic principle of investment and act cautiously.
“That is not what they should be doing because they don’t have the balance sheet to be doing that,” he reiterated.
The directive by the SEC takes cognisance of the fluctuations in the investment market that makes it difficult for Fund Managers to stick to a stated return on investment.
It is also part of the regulator’s strategy to sanitise the investment sector and protect the integrity of the capital market that has been embroiled in complaints of non-payment of investors’ money.
“The principle is this: the higher the risk, the higher the return. What this means is that when you, for instance, are investing in a vehicle or investment that carries high returns, then it means that there is a high-risk…that’s different from when you take your money to a deposit-taking institution like a bank,” he advised.
Daniel Ogbarmey Tetteh also wants investors to know that once their money is working for them, it will entail some risk. “So if the risk is high, then you could lose all or part of your money. So I think that understanding must also be there.”