15 Feb 2023

Financial Markets Authority hits multi-level marketing company Validus with ban

9:22 pm on 15 February 2023

The Financial Markets Authority (FMA) has slapped a ban on the multi-level marketing company Validus.

Last week the FMA warned people to be wary in any dealings with the US registered Validus, which has been holding meetings over the past week.

The FMA order bans Validus from making any offer to sell, accept applications, advertise any financial products or services under the Validus name.

It also bans any supply of financial advice.

"There is real risk of investor harm arising from activities of Validus and its associated persons, that appear to be dishonest and misleading," the FMA said in a statement.

Under financial sector laws companies offering financial services, advice, or products need to be registered.

In previous events Validus has offered financial trading courses, payable in crypto currencies, along with various investment schemes, and payments for recruiting new members.

"The FMA reinforces its warning that the public should exercise caution in dealing with this company and its associates," it said adding it had heard Validus had a meeting in Māngere planned for 15 February or thereabouts.

The FMA order does not prohibit the meetings but controls the information that can be publicly given, and requires

It also asked people to come forward with any complaints or information about Validus, especially if they had made contributions, investments or deposits.

Australia's financial regulators have also issued warnings about Validus.

Multi-level marketing schemes are often regarded as pyramid schemes, which are illegal in New Zealand and fall under the authority of the Commerce Commission. The FMA said it was co-operating with the Commission.

The FMA ban, which has been rarely used in the past, will be in force for at least 30 working days, as it considers whether to make it a permanent ban.