Introducer Watch: Investor Square – failed investments by the square inch

Investor Square is an unregulated investment introducer which has been in business since 2011.

Ross Kelly Investor Square director
Ross Kelly, Investor Square owner

Investor Square is a trading name of RK Digital Media Ltd, which is owned by Ross Honorio Kelly.

Investor Square does not run investments itself; it acts as an introducer to other investments.

Neither Ross Kelly nor Investor Square are authorised by the FCA, meaning it is illegal for them to promote investments to the public in the UK, unless that promotion is covered by exemptions (e.g. promotions restricted to sophisticated and high net worth investors).

Investments recently promoted by Investor Square on its Facebook page include:

  • Halcyon Developments (Facebook post 29-5-18) – active
  • George Best Hotel / Signature Capital (Facebook post 24-5-18) – active
  • Pegasus Agriculture (Facebook post 6-10-17) – currently in default, website vanished
  • European Property Coin (Facebook 5-10-17) – unsaleable shitcoin
  • Essex and London Properties (Facebook 29-3-17) – Ponzi scheme collapsed in 2018
  • Colonial Capital Group plc (Facebook 19-1-17) – collapsed in March 2017, now in liquidation
  • Future Renewables Eco (Facebook 6-12-16) – active
Essex and London Properties
hashtag Ponzi hashtag scheme

Investor Square’s followers seem undeterred by its distinctly average record, with 4,330 people continuing to follow its Facebook page at time of writing.

(Note that the three unregulated investments referred to as “active” are, as far as I am aware, paying returns as agreed and on time. I have included them on the above list for the sake of balance, to show that I haven’t cherry-picked Investor Square’s bad tips. Nothing untoward is being alleged or implied in regard to Halcyon, Signature Capital and Future Renewables Eco.)

Currently Investor Square is promoting the Legend Lane forex investment on its front page.

Investor Square’s website includes advertorial blog posts; posts which investment companies pay for in order to advertise to investors.

Among the recent users of this advertorial service are the cryptocurrency scheme DasCoin, which is under criminal investigation in Poland and has been the subject of a cease and desist in British Columbia, Canada.

Apex Algorithms is another company to promote itself on Investor Square via an advertorial blog post on October 25.

Dubious forum posts

Investor Square features a forum which, by any standards, is largely dead. Since its first post on December 27 2017, there have been a total of 19 threads posted (less than 2 a month). 9 of those threads were started by Investor Square itself. The forum has garnered a total of 54 replies or “answers” (barely one a week)

On October 15 2018, a couple of weeks before the aforementioned Apex Algorithm advertorial, Investor Square’s official account asked the following question about Apex Algorithms:

Has anyone invested with Apex Algorithms? If so what is your experience?

A few days later, Investor Square’s desert of a forum suddenly sprang into life. 2 replies were posted on October 18, starting a small blizzard of responses. In total 16 responses were posted between October 18 and October 26. 5 of these were posted the day of Apex Algorithms’ advertorial post, and another 5 the day after.

Apex reviews
Spot the sophisticated investors.

27 posts on the forum in total from December 2017 to October 2018, and then suddenly 15 different people all show up on the forum within the space of a week to wax lyrical about their investment with Apex Algorithms, in the same week that Apex Algorithms pay for some advertorial. Right-o.

Fraud recovery

The most popular category in Investor Square’s forum is “Scams and Frauds”. Recent threads include “How can I contact Essex and London Limited?” “Is park first’s car park investment a scam or a legitimate investment?” and “Did anyone manage to recover their funds from EcoHouse Group property investment in Brazil?” All three threads were (openly) started by Investor Square itself.

These threads rank highly on Google – the first of those threads is third if you search for “essex and london properties” at time of writing (a few days ago it was top). My hunch is that the replies on these threads are probably genuine.

So just what the victims of collapsed unregulated investments need: to be driven by Google to an unregulated introducer with a record of recommending failed schemes, so they can be sold some more high risk unregulated investments.

Should I invest with Investor Square?

As Investor Square is an unregulated company promoting high risk unregulated investments, nobody should be using it as an introducer unless they consider themselves to be high net worth or sophisticated investors, and qualify as such.

Investor Square is not authorised to give financial advice, and it is illegal for Investor Square to issue financial promotions in the UK unless they are covered by exemptions (such as promotions limited to high net worth or sophisticated investors).

Investors should not use the unregulated investments promoted by Investor Square unless they are comfortable with the very high risk that they lose all their money – as illustrated by its recent track record above.

The vast majority of investors should seek investment advice from a regulated independent financial adviser who is authorised by the Financial Conduct Authority or their equivalent.

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5 thoughts on “Introducer Watch: Investor Square – failed investments by the square inch

  1. I am puzzled by this. In particular “As Investor Square is an unregulated company promoting high risk unregulated investments”

    I a no lawyer but I cannot see how Investor Square’s activities are “lawful”. FSMA 2000 section 238 plus “The Financial Services and Markets Act 2000 (Financial Promotion) Order 2005” bans the “invitation to participate” in Unregulated Collectives to retail clients and “websites” are considered such an “invitation”. Many people involved in well known scams have often argued they aren’t promoting “collectives” and a case in 2015 with FCA vs Capital Alternatives discussed the definition of “collective schemes” (FSMA 2000 s.235) and concluded those schemes were collective investment schemes and consequently “authorised activities”.

    The big question for me is why the schemes discussed here and many other schemes promoting unregulated bonds (discussed in detail on this site) seem to be “exempt” from the legislation prohibiting promotion to retail clients and more importantly, if they aren’t exempt why the FCA allows them to continue promoting these unregulated schemes to retail clients?

    This blog post seem to indicate the schemes being promoted by Investor Square is acting unlawfully:-

    “Neither Ross Kelly nor Investor Square are authorised by the FCA, meaning it is illegal for them to promote investments to the public in the UK, unless that promotion is covered by exemptions (e.g. promotions restricted to sophisticated and high net worth investors).”

    The reason I say this is a website promotion is not targeting just sophisticated or HNW investors – which is permitted; the promotion is not discriminating and consequently is also “communicating an invitation to participate” to retail clients and therefore not acting within the law.

    So why is it not stopped by the FCA?

    Like

  2. Depends. As discussed in the review, some of Investor Square’s promoted investments have failed and others are in operation with no issues that are public knowledge.

    Which company did you actually invest in via Investor Square?

    Like

  3. As the review says, I am not aware of any issues with Halcyon.

    It was however illegal to sell you an investment in Halcyon if you are not a sophisticated or high-net-worth investor, due to its unregulated and extremely high risk nature.

    Like

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