Financial Supervisory Authority prohibits ICON Corporation Ltd from managing alternative investment funds and providing investment services without authorisationBy its decision dated 17 December 2019, the Financial Supervisory Authority (FIN-FSA) obliges ICON Corporation Ltd to discontinue offering fund shares and prohibits ICON Corporation Ltd from managing alternative investment funds. In addition, the FIN-FSA considers that ICON Corporation Ltd has provided investment services without appropriate authorisation and prohibits ICON Corporation Ltd from continuing the provision of investment services. The grounds for this decision are serious shortcomings, omissions and violations identified by the FIN-FSA in the activities of ICON Corporation Ltd. To enforce the prohibitions, the FIN-FSA imposes a conditional fine of EUR 4 million.
ICON Corporation Ltd (hereinafter ICON) is a registered alternative investment fund manager which has had the right to manage four alternative investment funds investing in real estate. For three of the funds, an exemption has been granted to market the funds to a limited group of non-professional customers. In principle, a registered alternative investment fund manager may only market funds to professional customers.
In its activities, ICON has violated a number of obligations under the regulation of alternative investment funds. In its marketing of the ICON Real Estate Fund V - Ilves Ky fund, ICON has provided false and misleading information, acted in contravention of good securities practice, failed to provide sufficient information to the investor about the fund and has not notified material changes to information. In addition, ICON has marketed the ICON Real Estate Fund II Ky fund to the wrong customer target group and has therefore acted in violation of the terms of the exemption granted to the fund.
The FIN-FSA considers that ICON no longer fulfils the conditions of registration of an alternative investment fund manager, as its management or personnel do not have the necessary expertise or experience and it does not have a managing director nor sufficient resources to manage alternative investment funds.
In addition, ICON has had subsidiaries that have raised funds by issuing bonds and have reinvested the funds in construction projects. At least ten bonds have been issued. ICON has offered the bonds issued by its subsidiaries to investor customers and has therefore provided investment services without the authorisation required to provide them.
The decision of the FIN-FSA enters into force with immediate effect. The decision is not legally valid, however. ICON has the right to appeal the decision of 17 December 2019 to the Market Court within 30 days of it having received notice of the said decision. Information on the legal validity of the decision is available on the FIN-FSA website.