The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) has formally charged three individuals in connection with a high-risk trading scheme that allegedly targeted people’s pension savings. Kristofer McGuire, Keith Williamson, and Karla Walker face multiple charges, including fraud by false representation and fraudulent trading, due to their involvement in persuading victims to invest in contracts for difference (CFDs).

Allegations and Charges – Financial Conduct Authority Take Action

The FCA alleges that McGuire, Williamson, and Walker engaged in fraudulent activities by making false statements to a trading platform, misrepresenting their clients as professional investors. Williamson and McGuire are specifically accused of fraudulent trading, while McGuire also faces five additional counts of fraud by false representation. The charges stem from the trio’s efforts to convince individuals to invest their pensions in high-risk CFDs, resulting in significant financial losses for the victims.

Impact on Victims

The FCA highlighted the severe consequences of the alleged fraud, noting that many victims were encouraged to divert their pension funds into the trading scheme. These funds were then traded, generating substantial commissions for those running the scheme, while the victims saw their pension savings nearly wiped out. The total known loss to the victims exceeds £8 million.

Legal Proceedings

The three defendants are scheduled to appear before Westminster Magistrates’ Court on 7 June. If found guilty, the penalties for fraudulent trading, under the Companies Act 2006, can be severe. This offence is punishable on indictment by a fine and/or a prison term of up to 10 years.

High-Risk Investment Products

Contracts for difference (CFDs) are high-risk investment products that allow individuals to speculate on the price movements of various assets. The FCA has previously warned that approximately 80% of customers lose money when investing in CFDs due to their inherent risks. CFDs are often highly leveraged, meaning they use borrowed funds to increase potential returns, which can also amplify losses, potentially exceeding the initial investment.

Regulatory Restrictions

In response to the risks associated with CFDs, the FCA has implemented strict regulations on how these products can be sold and marketed to retail customers in the UK. These measures are designed to protect consumers from the high levels of risk and potential for significant financial loss associated with CFD trading.

FCA’s Commitment to Consumer Protection

The FCA’s actions against McGuire, Williamson, and Walker demonstrate its ongoing commitment to protecting consumers from fraudulent financial schemes. By holding those responsible accountable, the FCA aims to maintain the integrity of the financial markets and safeguard individuals’ investments, particularly those involving their retirement savings.

The FCA are just one of the regulatory bodies tackling financial crime, ensuring consumers and the economy is protected. The Serious Fraud Office (SFO) recently announced a five year strategy designed to tackle financial crime while the HM Treasury are seeking refinement to AML regulations and are urging to improve overall AML reporting. In addition to this, the National Crime Agency (NCA) are also taking a firm, proactive approach to combating financial crime unveiling a comprehensive plan they hope will halt the progress of networks across the UK.


The upcoming court proceedings will be closely watched as they address serious allegations of fraud and misrepresentation in the financial sector. The case serves as a stark reminder of the importance of due diligence and regulatory oversight in protecting investors from high-risk and potentially fraudulent investment schemes.

As the financial landscape continues to evolve, the FCA’s vigilance in monitoring and regulating investment activities remains crucial in ensuring a fair and transparent market for all participants. The outcome of this case will likely have significant implications for the future enforcement of financial regulations and the protection of investors in the UK.