Fern Finance fined R3.5m and kingpin disbarred for 10 years
The financial sector regulator also warns against a WhatsApp forex scam
The Financial Sector Conduct Authority (FSCA) is warning the public against doing any financial services-related business with Fern Finance (Pty) Ltd, and with Worldwide Investments.
Neither entities are authorised in terms of the Financial Advisory and Intermediary Services Act (Fais Act) to render any financial advice and intermediary services, according to a media release issued by the FSCA on Tuesday.
“Fern was previously licensed by the FSCA under financial services provider (FSP) number 46276. Fern’s licence was withdrawn on October 10 2019 for failure to comply with the provisions of the act and for contravening the Short-Term Insurance Act (STIA). “The FSCA also imposed an administrative penalty of R3.5m on Fern for contravening the STIA,” the regulator of FSPs says.
“Charlton Lungisani Sikuza, the key individual of Fern, is debarred for a period of 10 years from providing or being involved in the provision of financial services,” it added, noting that having allowed Fern to contravene the law, Sikuza does not meet the fit and proper requirements that representatives of authorised FSPs must comply with.
The FSCA has issued a directive to both Fern and Sikuza to immediately cease issuing guarantee policies.
On Tuesday, the FSCA also warned the public against doing any financial services business with Worldwide Investments.
Worldwide Investments uses a WhatsApp group and takes money from members of the public on the back of promises to trade in forex, but “when it’s time to pay back they block you”, the FSCA said.
“Worldwide Investments is neither an authorised FSP nor a representative of an authorised FSP, and there are no records of application to become authorised as one.”
• Before parting with your money, always check on the credentials of any institution or person claiming to be an authorised FSP. You can do this by contacting the FSCA on the toll free number 0800 110 443 or on online at www.fsca.co.za/Fais/Search_FSP.htm