Deputy SEC boss gives hints to identify a ponzi scheme operator

The deputy Director General of the Securities and Exchange of Commission, Paul Ababio has asked the public to look out for the tell tale signs of a ponzi scheme when deciding to invest. Speaking at Media General’s maiden Economic Dialogue series in Accra on the theme “Investment in the Face of Ponzi Schemes: How Do we Clean the Mess,” he  said investors must first of all be wary of an investment scheme which promises high return with little or no risk. “If there is a framework that offers exceptional returns, are there any risks involved? There is the need for the public to understand the risk involved in doing business.  When you don’t understand the risk involved in the business, then it could be a ponzi scheme.” He further noted that, “there is the rule of thumb in finance, that the greater the return  comes the possibility of risk. Risk is not the guarantee of failure but the possibility of failure. So when you don’t understand the risk in the project, then it could be a ponzi scheme.” Overly Consistent Return Secondly he warned of an overly consistent return with a scheme. “If there is an investment opportunity with a promise of consistent high returns, it is important to question what is going on here, and how are they going to generate such returns”. Lack of registration He also noted that oftentimes ponzi schemes are not registered. A registered company he noted must have its regulation, and financial statements. “If you go to any investment company they are not able to provide for you their registration details, and you cannot see any financial returns they have filled, that’s something to be aware of.

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No paper work Often times their strategies are complex, which you cannot understand. They will tell you it’s simple, you invest this much, you get this much, that’s all you need to know. “Be mindful of the paper work that goes into it and ask for a copy for yourself,” he noted. Lack of Sustainability Such schemes are not sustainable, he underscored. When they have problems with their payment, he said, they change the return rate higher and ask all the investors to rollover. This must be a sign that there is a challenge in their commitment to pay their returns, Mr. Ababio cautioned. By Myepaul Sowah | | Ghana ]]>