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Office of Competition and Consumer Protection

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Investment notes - warning issued by the President of UOKiK

< previous | next > 31.07.2020

Investment notes - warning issued by the President of UOKiK
  • President of UOKiK Tomasz Chróstny warns consumers against investing money in investment notes issued by the Fundusz Hipoteczny Yanok (Yanok Mortgage Fund).
  • FH Yanok's actions may expose consumers to serious financial losses - the entity uses money transferred by consumers to grant loans, inter alia, to businesses with limited creditworthiness and financial institutions that are in arrears with debt repayment.

President of the Office of Competition and Consumer Protection Tomasz Chróstny decided to issue a warning concerning the company Fundusz Hipoteczny Yanok from Kraków, which issues so-called investment notes. Based on the information gathered in the course of the investigation, consumers are at high risk of losing their money. At the same time, the President of the Office charged this company with the violation of collective consumer interests. The charges are as follows:

  • using the investment note contrary to its intended purpose and using consumers' money to grant loans to businesses,
  • misleading consumers as to the safety of their money entrusted to FH Yanok and the guarantee of profit.

The President of the Office informed the public in February this year about the fact that the investment notes were risky for consumers.”Some rogue companies have invented a new way of securing capital, which may expose Poles to losses, and for this reason since February I have been urging the consumers to exercise caution. First of all, there are concerns about the way of investing money secured from consumers, who are convinced that their money is invested in real estate, while in fact FH Yanok uses it for, inter alia, granting high-risk loans to other entrepreneurs. For the sake of consumers' savings, I decided to issue a warning and file charges against the Yanok Mortgage Fund,” says Tomasz Chróstny, the President of UOKiK.

By investing in the FH Yanok investment notes the consumer transfers money to the entrepreneur, who lends it to other companies. “This poses a very serious risk to the consumer, who takes on the full risk of losing money by lending their savings. The interests of the weaker party to the contract - i.e. consumers investing in investment notes - are not adequately protected, unlike those of the Yanok Mortgage Fund. In so doing, the consumer gets a false sense of safety, which is unacceptable to the Authority,” adds the President of UOKiK.

The high degree of risk is due to the fact that FH Yanok lends money deposited by consumers to micro and small businesses to repay their liabilities towards, inter alia, loan companies. So these are companies that enter into financial commitments to repay other commitments. Money was also lent to entities with a negative record in the Economic Information Bureau.

The President of UOKiK also accuses FH Yanok of misleading consumers by informing them about a guarantee of return on capital, investment security comparable to a bank deposit or bank bond. In order to sound credibly, the entrepreneur uses the terms: investment, issue, issuer (that do not refer to the investment note), which is supposed to create a false impression that the offer is made in a regulated market. Meanwhile, the model of financing the entire project is very risky - it assumes that FH Yanok is the only holder of consumers' money until the date of redemption of the investment note. The entrepreneur is free to decide what to use the money for, and one of the purposes is to lend it to indebted companies. The consumer has no control or guarantee of how or for what their money will be used. As a result, they cannot be sure they will recover the invested amount of money. Please be advised that regulations and requirements regarding public issue of securities do not apply to promissory notes.

For practices infringing the collective consumer interest, the President of UOKiK may impose a fine of up to 10% of the company’s annual turnover. Moreover, pursuant to the Act on competition and consumer protection, the President of UOKiK may issue a warning when he concludes that an undertaking applies illegal practices which may put a substantial group of consumers at the risk of significant financial losses or adverse consequences. Warnings are published on the website of UOKiK.

The consumer warning referred to in the press release concerns the Fundusz Hipoteczny Yanok sp. z o. o. with its registered office in Kraków.

Investment note - threats

  • Dear consumer, please be cautious about proposals to invest in promissory notes. Please read the answers to the frequently asked questions at finanse.uokik.gov.pl.
  • In the regulations, there is no such term as “investment note”. It was invented by entrepreneurs to describe another product enabling them to raise capital. The term “promissory note” is found in the law on promissory notes. A person or company that signs a promissory note must give back the sum of money borrowed plus interest, if the interest is stipulated for in the note.
  • The security of the "investment note" is guaranteed only by the solvency of its issuer - such investments are not secured by the Bank Guarantee Fund's guarantee scheme.
  • In the event the note issuer goes bankrupt, consumers may not get their money back.
  • The purpose of an ordinary “promissory note” is to additionally secure the debt. Doubts concerning "investment notes" include, inter alia, granting loans using money obtained from issuing the note.
  • Regulations and requirements regarding public issue of securities do not apply to promissory notes. This may mean the consumer will not have reliable information about the value of collateral for such note, its issuer or associated risk, and the undertaking for which they entrusts their funds to the note issuer.
  • The offers wrongly inform about the guaranteed rate of return and full security of the notes, while in fact the investment is subject to high risk.

Consumer support:

Phone: +48 801 440 220 or +48 22 290 89 16 – consumer helpline
e-mail: [SCODE]cG9yYWR5QGRsYWtvbnN1bWVudG93LnBs[ECODE]
Consumer ombudsmen – in your town or district
Regional Consumer Centres: Phone: +48 22 299 60 90 – Dlakonsumenta.pl

Additional information for the media:

UOKiK Press Office
Pl. Powstańców Warszawy 1, 00-950 Warszawa, Poland
Phone +48 695 902 088, +48 22 55 60 246
E-mail: [SCODE]Yml1cm9wcmFzb3dlQHVva2lrLmdvdi5wbA==[ECODE]
Twitter: @UOKiKgovPL

Tags: consumer warning

Attached files

 

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