London asset manager targeted in latest clone scam

Scammers are pretending to have offices in London’s famous Gherkin building as part of their attempts to impersonate a genuine asset manager.

The ‘clone’ scam the FCA has highlighted in a website post today involves fraudsters borrowing the name of Wharton Asset Management, which is actually based on Harley Street in London, but forges an email address, phone number, and offices at 30 St Mary Axe, otherwise known as the Gherkin.

The FCA says: “Fraudsters are using the details of firms we authorise to try to convince people that they work for a genuine, authorised firm.

“This firm is not authorised or registered by us but has been targeting people in the UK, claiming to be an authorised firm. This is what we call a ‘clone firm’; and fraudsters usually use this tactic when contacting people out of the blue, so you should be especially wary if you have been cold-called. They may use the name of the genuine firm, the ‘firm reference number’ we have given the authorised firm or other details.”

The regulator has been keen to post similar notes to consumers as a number of asset managers’ reputations have been used by fraudsters to sell suspect investments in recent months.

Others include BlackRock and Rathbones.