New Zealand’s FMA issues interim stop order against Wisdom House Investment Partners
The Financial Markets Authority (FMA) of New Zealand has issued an interim stop order that applies to Wisdom House Investment Partners Limited and Yuen Pok (Paul) Loo.
The order prohibits the respondents from distributing any restricted communication that relates to the supply of a financial advice service to any person and supplying a financial advice service to any person. The order also bans the respondents from supplying the financial service of keeping, investing, administering, or managing money, securities, or investment portfolios on behalf of other persons.
The FMA considers making this interim stop order is necessary to prevent Wisdom House and Mr Loo causing harm, arising from what appears to be dishonest and misleading activities.
Previously, the regulator cancelled the transitional financial advice provider (FAP) licence of Wisdom House in December 2021 after Mr Loo had engaged in serious misconduct at his previous employer.
The FMA’s investigations continue while it considers whether a permanent stop order is warranted.
It appears that Mr Loo held himself out as a financial adviser to clients or potential clients of Wisdom House in an email when he is not permitted to do so. The email also contained statements that directly or indirectly refer to the supply, or possible supply, of a financial advice service and are reasonably likely to induce persons to request the supply of a financial advice service. Attached to the email was a letter purporting to be from the FMA confirming that the FMA has granted Wisdom House a FAP licence.
The email to clients and the FMA letter (which appears to be a forgery) are false or misleading, or likely to mislead or confuse, and contain a material misdescription or material error. The materials are a “restricted communication” relating to the supply, or possible supply, of financial services (namely a financial advice service).
The FMA advises the public not to engage with, nor to accept offers of financial services from, and not to provide money to, Mr Loo or Wisdom House, as the regulator continues to investigate these matters.
The interim stop order remains in force until the close of 5 September 2022. The FMA may issue a permanent stop order under section 462.