Imperial Investments, which is currently promoting itself via Facebook ads, claims to offer returns of 350% per year through trading shares.
Imperial Investment claims that investing in its scheme can help investors struggling with rent and other day-to-day bills.
Who are Imperial Investments?
Imperial Investments’ website says it has two founders – Dan Pugh and Scott Wood. Ownership of the company, Investments Imperial Limited, is however split 50/50 between Wood and a Malaysian national named Sze Yin Lie. Both Wood and Miss Lie list their nationality as Malaysian on Companies House. Despite being a co-founder, Pugh doesn’t appear to be a shareholder. The company was incorporated in August 2019.
Pugh for his part is a former British Army rifleman. [Edit 12.7.20: This article was amended on 12.7.20 to amend an error that Pugh claimed to be a Royal Marine. While Pugh’s LinkedIn profile states that he completed the Royal Marines’ All Arms Commando Course, this is a 13-week course open to all UK military branches.] Pugh is also the head of The Decision Group, which appears to be some sort of business consultancy… thing.
The word Business can be scary or even put you off the thought of wanting to try as when you sit down to start your business your draw a blank and have no idea where to start or you may be stuck with an idea but do not know how to put it into play? Don’t fear just say to yourself ”Dear obstacle I will destroy you!”
Pugh also fronts videos for Imperial Investments, such as this one containing helpful hints on how to maximise productivity.
What’s the best time management? Let me tell you. One. Less fucking sleep. You don’t fucking need it. Half of you are going to be asleep while I’m making this video, you don’t fucking deserve it because you don’t work hard enough. Two, you need to eliminate wasted activity. What I mean by that, let me tell you, the missus comes to me and goes “Do you want to cook tonight?” Fuck. Sorry. Did somebody say “Just Eat”? Just Fucking Eat. Order it. Less time cooking, more time working.
Given that Pugh is credited as a “co-founder” despite not owning any shares in the company, shows more interest in video gaming than finance, and appears to be two sandwiches short of a picnic (although who needs fucking sandwiches? Fucking Deliveroo, to the fucking park. Sorted), there’s a strong whiff of Dan Pugh being a performing monkey while Scott Wood grinds the organ. If Wood even exists.
Wood’s LinkedIn bio claims that he is involved in “private wealth management and banking solutions” and is a “self made financial advisor” but gives no details as to his history before Imperial Investments. His profile image consists of a baby in a baseball cap.
How safe is the investment?
In its Facebook adverts Imperial Investments claims to offer a rate of return of 1.4% per day. Elsewhere this is clarified as 350% per year (the discrepancy is due to the rate not compounding and excluding non-trading days). They also claim “to profit whether the market goes up or down”.
The reality is that while anyone can make 1.4% in a day from trading on a good day, nobody consistently makes 1.4% day in day out. Trading shares is a zero sum game and the expected return is zero, minus costs.
That is a side issue however, as even if Imperial Investment’s magic 350% per year returns were real, they would still breaking the law.
Imperial Investments’ offer to take investors’ money and use it to trade shares amounts to a collective investment scheme. Running a collective investment scheme in the UK requires authorisation from the Financial Conduct Authority. As does issuing financial promotions, including its Facebook ads. Imperial Investments is not regulated by the FCA, so by running a collective scheme and issuing financial promotions, they are committing a criminal offence.
If Imperial Investments actually had a magic way to make 350% per year, they would keep it to themselves, and would have no need to break the law or dilute their own returns by soliciting investment over Facebook.
The reason why Imperial Investments hasn’t registered with the FCA and opened a collective fund the legal way, is that in doing so they would have to reveal that their magic formula that produces 350% returns doesn’t exist.
As Imperial Investments has no magic formula producing 350% returns, any returns to investors will either be illusory (“numbers on a screen”) or, if real money is paid into an investor’s account, this will be funded by the investors’ own money or that of others, making Imperial Investments a Ponzi scheme.
Should I invest with Imperial Investments?
This blog does not give financial advice. The following are statements of publicly available facts or widely accepted investment principles, not a personalised recommendation. Investors should consult a regulated independent financial adviser if they are in any doubt.
Any investment offering a ROI of 350% is in reality a virtually guaranteed loser for all but those running it. The mathematics of Ponzi schemes guarantees that the vast majority, if not all, of investors will lose their money.
This still applies if the Ponzi scheme is fronted by a Call of Duty fan who never sleeps because sleep is for people who don’t deserve it, or something.
Do not invest unless you are prepared for total losses.
A 13 January 2020 Facebook post states in full:
Any queries anyone might have please feel free to contact and use our case number thank you.
020 7066 1000
Needless to say it’s unusual for a Ponzi scheme to invite people to contact the FCA. I’ve asked the FCA what this is about (I don’t contact Ponzi schemes for comment for obvious reasons) but don’t expect them to shed much light on it.
In the meantime, the salient facts remain that Imperial Investments is not on the FCA register and is issuing financial promotions in the UK, which is a criminal offence.