The FCA alleges Argento Wealth Ltd (AWL) unlawfully did the following: took approximately £2.8 million as deposits under loan agreements and/or as part of an unauthorised collective investment scheme; unlawfully arranged investments in EMB Fund Limited (EMB) totalling about US$9 million; and breached the restrictions on financial promotion. The FCA alleges that Mr Willis was knowingly concerned in this unlawful activity. The FCA considers that AWL and Mr Willis have failed to produce credible evidence that AWL can repay the funds borrowed from both retail investors and EMB (plus the interest due), and AWL is therefore insolvent. The FCA has obtained undertakings equivalent to interim orders freezing AWL’s/Mr Willis’ remaining assets.
This action has been taken with the aim of protecting investors pending seeking final orders compensating approximately 13 lenders who lent money to AWL and many others harmed by AWL’s unlawful investment promotion.
Despite this, investors who lent money to AWL are likely to suffer very significant losses. Exact figures cannot be given at present, but AWL’s remaining assets appear to be far below what would be required to return all investors’ money.
No date has yet been set for the High Court trial concerning the restitution order. The FCA is seeking to resolve all matters as quickly as possible. But the legal proceedings will take time. Only after they are successfully concluded will it be possible to return such funds as can be recovered to investors.
All persons who invested money with or through AWL should seek independent legal advice.