Further to numerous recent reports in various national newspapers and trade magazines indicating that fine wine is to be regulated by the FSA following its publication of a Consultation Paper in regard to the promotion of Unregulated Collective Investment Schemes (UCIS) to retail clients leads me to clarify the position of investing in fine wine in the UK.
To be clear, the FSA is not suggesting that it will regulate fine wine investment but is looking at the suitability of retail clients investing in unregulated funds and the promotion thereof by FSA regulated individuals. Many investments can be promoted within a UCIS, for example commodities such as property, timber, coffee, land, shares and alternative assets such as fine wine and art.
The reporting to date has not clarified the fact that private investors investing in fine wine will not be affected by these changes. Fortunately, the man on the street, who does not have £250,000 to invest, can still buy fine wine from Vin-X or a similar company.
Fine wine is promoted globally by producers, merchants, brokers, auction houses and agents, nearly all of these organisations act with the utmost integrity and professionalism whilst a minority less so. I have spoken before for the need within the fine wine broking community to work towards the formation of a self-regulatory body that will protect investors from companies that are guilty of mis-selling, operating inadequate back-office systems and fraud. Vin-X along with a number of committed companies are moving forward rapidly to forming a self-regulatory body and look forward to publishing its charter in the Autumn.
We want an industry that is transparent, safe and open to everyone, not just High Net Worth individuals, the investor's risk should be limited to the individual wine and the market performance and not to the integrity and professionalism of the agent they deal with.