More illegal brokers reported after reward increased
By Kao Shih-ching / Staff reporter
Consumers reported 269 illegal investment services or financial scams in the first five months of this year, compared with 336 such reports for the whole of last year, the Financial Supervisory Commission (FSC) said yesterday.
The figures for the first five months translate into 53 on average per month, nearly double from 28 for the same period last year, which the commission attributed to more unregistered investment consulting companies getting involved in local stock markets, FSC Chief Secretary Kao Ching-ping (高晶萍) told the Taipei Times by telephone.
“We have seen a trend that more unregistered consultants attempted to attract potential clients by sending text messages or advertising on [messaging app] Line,” Kao said. “It is illegal for them to profit from investment consulting if they have not registered at the commission or gained operational approval from the commission.”
To curb investment scams, the commission last year raised the maximum reward for reporting fraudulent practices leading to a conviction from NT$400,000 to NT$4 million (US$13,464 to US$134,644), which might have encouraged more people to report illegal financial services, Kao said.
Most unregistered investment consultants target local stocks, with some focusing on Hong Kong’s penny stocks, she said.
“Although we do not regulate overseas stocks, we regulate unregistered investment consultants that conduct illegal business domestically,” Kao said.
In the first quarter, people filed 79 complaints about securities investment companies to the Financial Ombudsman Institution (財團法人金融消費評議中心), down from 82 a year earlier, with most disputes concerning refunds and securities transactions, commission data showed.
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