Sunday, 10 April 2016

The Mess the FCA are Sharein, Share-In or Share In

Carrying out due diligence we are told by the likes of Crowdcube and the FCA, is an essential part of being able to invest via equity crowdfunding. We would certainly agree. To do this we all rely on official records.

We came across this company ShareIn Ltd recently. They claim to be one of the UK's leading ECf companies. We could find little evidence to back this up but that was not a surprise. They now offer a dual service  - a white label ECf platform creation service and a direct from your own website ECf campaign service. Both are fully compliant with FCA regulations, as the company is FCA authorised. It's a neat idea, although unless they are providing a free service it would seem that the ECF platforms' offer of pay only on success, must be a better option.

This is were we became confused.

Taking a look at the FCA register, there are two companies under similar names to the one here - one is called Share In Ltd and the other is called Share-In Limited. Stay with us. Both have the same address and lead person. The list of trading names is no help(there isnt one) and ShareIn Ltd has not had a name change.

So the company registered at CH no SC408803 is called ShareIn Ltd and this is the one that runs the website. However according to the FCA register this company is NOT FCA authorised. This is from the register regarding SHARE IN LTD -

Current status

No longer registered as an Appointed Representative  This is an appointed representative (AR) that is no longer an agent of an authorised firm. Do not start to do business with an AR that is listed as 'former'.

Note the final sentence.

The other company Share-In Limited which has the same registration number at CH as ShareIn Ltd, is authorised. Who's who and what's what?
So how are we to be sure that the company running the website, which is called ShareIn Ltd is in fact the same company as the FCA registered Share-In Limited and why do we appear to have one company with several different name styles  - one authorised and one not?

Clearly being allowed to create new ECF platforms and facilitating ECf campaigns on companies' own sites, should require the highest standard in due diligence. Surely then, it might be a good idea for Share-In Limited/Share In Ltd or Sharein to get its records with the FCA sorted out. If you wanted to set up a bogus FCA authorisation, it does look like it would be pretty simple.

It certainly makes you wonder when the ShareIn website states that they can raise money in the USA when anyone with even a moderate knowledge of the ECF scene would know that this is not possible currently. This from a FCA approved company is worrying. From the website - 

Reach an International Investor Audience

We can facilitate investments from the USA, UK and the EU.

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