To be effective, a regulatory authority needs a pro-active and dedicated enforcement unit to ensure that unlicensed business activity does not take place, and to exercise powers of remedial action in appropriate cases. The Isle of Man Financial Services Authority's Enforcement Division, through effective investigation and co-operation, has done much to enhance the reputation of the Authority internationally.

Under the Financial Services Act 2008 the Authority has important "gateways" to pass supervisory information and evidence to other supervisors and similar bodies. In addition the Authority can provide mutual assistance to other regulatory authorities to assist them in the exercise of their functions. However, information relating to a customer’s affairs is restricted from disclosure except in specified circumstances set down in statute.

Illegal business

Any person wishing to undertake a “regulated activity” in or from the Isle of Man by way of business must first be licensed by the Authority. “Regulated activity” is defined in the Financial Services Act 2008 and the Regulated Activities Order (as amended 2016). No person may hold themselves out as carrying on a regulated activity in or from the Isle of Man without a licence for that activity. "Holding out" includes the use of an Isle of Man address, fax number, telephone number, website or email address.

The Enforcement Division investigates cases where regulated activity is (suspected of) being carried on by a person who is not permitted to undertake that activity. Such cases are brought to the attention of the Authority through complaints from individuals and information passed to it by overseas authorities, together with pro-active monitoring of possible illegal activities on the Internet.

To carry on a regulated activity by way of business without being licensed for that activity is a criminal offence, and the Authority has a history of taking robust and swift action against those who breach the legislation. Investigations can proceed in various ways, ranging from the issue of a warning letter to a full criminal investigation resulting in a criminal court case against the perpetrators of the illegal activity.

Before entering into any financial agreements with an Isle of Man incorporated company, or with any company holding itself out as operating from the Island, the Authority encourages all investors to consult the Licenceholders' Register on this website, or to contact Authority staff, who will be pleased to answer your queries.

If you believe you are currently dealing with a company that is conducting a regulated activity (e.g. investment, banking, fiduciary business or money service business) illegally, please contact the Enforcement Division immediately. To assist any investigation, please supply copies of any documentation and information relating to the company or individuals concerned.

Public Information and Warnings

The Authority has powers under the Financial Services Act 2008 to issue a public statement regarding any matters relating to a regulated activity or persons carrying on a regulated activity where the Authority believes it is desirable in the public interest to do so. Information is periodically received from members of the public, financial services companies, and other regulatory bodies, as well as being proactively obtained from the Internet and this frequently results in the issue of Public Warnings.

The Authority is committed to providing useful and relevant material for the information and education of those visiting our site, and to protect the reputation of the Isle of Man. The Public Warnings issued by the Authority often relate to false claims of Isle of Man connections being made by suspected bogus entities, and are intended to alert the public to the dangers of entering into a business arrangement with them. The Authority distributes its Public Warnings to as many relevant international sites and/or bodies as possible. This is with a view to being more effective in warning the public globally of the associated dangers of dealing with these bogus entities.

Please contact the Enforcement Division if you have any queries. Click here for details of current Public Warnings.