Financial authorities on Guernsey have issued a warning against London wine merchant Templar Vintners for running an unauthorised wine fund.
Guernsey Financial Services Commission (GFSC) issued the warning on 22 January, saying Templar ‘is not licensed, authorised or in any way regulated by the Commission’.
Staff at Templar allegedly took an advertisement for Vinum Fine Wine Fund, which is authorised by the GFSC, and substituted the Templar name and logo.
The ad for the Vinum Fine Wine Fund originally appeared in a Financial Times supplement on wine investment published in May 2008.
Articles from this supplement are reproduced on templarvintners.com, along with the doctored ad.
GFSC said, ‘One such article includes an advertisement for The Templar Vintners Fine Wine Fund in which it claims to be authorised by the Commission as a Class B Collective Investment Scheme under the Protection of Investors (Bailiwick of Guernsey) Law, 1987… the company is not licensed, authorised or in any way regulated by the Commission’.
Templar also amended a June 2008 article from the Independent on Sunday, changing ‘Wine Asset Managers (wamllp.com)’ to ‘Wine Asset Managers (Templar Vintners)’.
Wine Asset Managers is authorised by the UK Financial Services Authority.
Templar Vintners director Andrew Griffiths blamed the ‘gross negligence’ of the firm’s ‘marketing arm’ and said those responsible would be ‘sued and/or discharged’.
He added, ‘The marketing material had not been approved to go out to any client or potential client thereof, as we were still working on several aspects of our business.
‘As directors it is and was up to us to have rechecked all literature instead of leaving such occupation to employees, therefore the blame lies squarely on our shoulders until we can resolve these issues.’
The company started trading in the second half of 2009, though its website claims it is ‘one of the leading fine and rare wine merchants’, claiming that clients ‘benefit directly from our immense buying power, amassed through years of experience’.
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Written by Jim Budd