Wed | Dec 7, 2016

FSC defends its actions in World Wise collapse

Published:Wednesday | January 21, 2015 | 12:00 AM
File Janice Holness, executive director of the Financial Services Commission.

The Financial Services Commission (FSC) has sought to clarify its decision in 2008 to move in and shut down World Wise Partners (WWP).

The explanation comes as the FSC revealed yesterday that it has been fielding numerous calls from members of the public about an article published by The Gleaner last Friday.

In his first public comments since the collapse of the scheme, former World Wise boss Noel Strachan told The Gleaner in an exclusive interview that the FSC, the Jamaica Bankers' Association and local conglomerates were to blame for the failure.

Strachan also claimed that he was not aware of any probe by the police or the FSC when he left Jamaica in 2007.

However, in disputing those assertions, FSC Executive Director Janice Holness said the agency first became aware of the scheme in August 2007 and immediately began a probe into its activities and principals.

Holness said by January 2008, Strachan applied for registration under the Securities Act, but the application was rejected after a meeting with the former World Wise boss and other directors of the scheme four months later.

"Therefore, WWP/Noel Strachan would certainly have had knowledge of the FSC's investigations into its activities by this date," she underscored.

Holness said in July 2008, the FSC wrote to the operators of World Wise to inform them that they were operating in breach of the Securities Act and invited them to enter into a "consent cease-and-desist order".

"This offer was not taken up and, consequently, the FSC issued a cease-and-desist order on August 5, 2008, ordering WWP, Noel Strachan, their agents, brokers and representatives (including principals, directors, officers and employees or other persons acting on their behalf) [to] immediately cease and desist [operations]," Holness wrote in a letter to The Gleaner.

She noted, however, that the order was varied to allow World Wise to make payments towards settling their debts to investors within 90 days.