Everybody from retailers to charities to the inevitable taxman are continually vying for your hard earned dosh, especially in these hard economic times.

High on that list are also financial advisers and financial product sales people.

So when looking to invest your money there are always then more than enough people willing to relieve you of the responsibility of looking after it. With some being more ethical and honest than others.

Just recently the Financial Services Authority has issued some warnings about unregulated firms trying to get hold of investors’ cash, which it is required to do as one of its remits is to protect consumers.

When looking to invest, in order to get the best protection for you and your money, you should always ensure that the firm and adviser you are talking to are properly qualified and are regulated by the FSA. The best way to do this is to check them out on the FSA register.

This regulatory framework is in place to ensure that regulated firms do not mislead you. So that when investing you have a clear idea of the risks and rewards associated with the investment you are considering purchasing.

One of the ways that some of these unregulated firms try is to take the name of a well known firm and attempt to fool you into thinking they are the same company.

For example, two of the more recent FSA warnings involve ‘Invesco Perpetual – Invesco Gold Precious Metals Fund’ and ‘Invesco Perpetual (Invesco Asian Precious Metals Fund)’. A quick check of the FSA webcheck and you will see a number of Invesco and Invesco Perpetual funds listed, but not the two named above.

The problem for anyone putting money into an unregulated fund is that you get no protection and cannot access the Financial Services Compensation Scheme should anything go wrong.

One of the real giveaways is how these forms approach you and the FSA gives a list of these firms and good guidance here. They will usually cold call using a ‘boiler room’ and be very persuasive. The advice is clear; terminate the call and have no dealings with them. Then use the FSA on-line reporting form.

Please don’t be taken in by them. Or you may as well throw your money away.

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