Our goal at Homestrings is to provide the greatest level of service and security for our growing community. One way we do this is by complying with FCA guidelines and adhering to Anti-money Laundering and Customer Due Diligence regulations.
As a way to educate and enlighten our members, we have answered several frequently asked questions about the Member Verification Process – part of our ongoing efforts to build transparency and trust with our members.
What is the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA)?
The FCA regulates financial firms providing services to consumers and maintains the integrity of the United Kingdom’s financial markets. It focuses on the regulation of conduct by both retail and wholesale financial services firms. As a UK registered company, Homestrings is regulated by the FCA.
What does the FCA do?
The FCA wants consumers to be able to trust that the firms they regulate have their best interests at heart by providing them with appropriate products and services. To achieve this, FCA has three objectives:
- Protect consumers – The FCA secures an appropriate degree of protection for consumers.
- Protect financial markets – The FCA protects and enhances the integrity of the UK financial system.
- Promote competition –The FCA promotes effective competition in the interests of consumers.
What is money laundering and what is Homestrings responsibility?
Money laundering is the process by which the proceeds of crime are converted into assets which appear to have a legitimate origin. Homestrings is subject to the Money Laundering Regulations 2007 and must put in place systems and controls to prevent and detect money laundering.
What is the FCA’s role in terms of Anti-money Laundering (AML)?
The FCA is the competent authority for supervising compliance of most credit and financial institutions with the Money Laundering Regulations.
Why do I need to provide Verification Documents?
Homestrings must put in place policies and procedures to prevent and detect money laundering. These include systems and controls to identify, assess and monitor money-laundering risk as well as customer due diligence measures and monitoring to manage the risks identified.
As a result, Homestrings requires members to provide scanned and Certified Copy (or notarized copy) of their passport and utility bill that clearly shows their name and address, to comply with AML requirements. This is a onetime verification process. Members can mail their documents to:
North America: (Homestrings), Attention: Gravitas Capital , 601 Pennsylvania Avenue NW Suite 900S Washington, DC 20004 United States of America
Europe: Homestrings, Ltd 2nd Floor Berkeley Square House Berkeley Square, Mayfair London W1J 6BD United Kingdom
What is a “Certified Copy”?
To certify a document as a true copy of the original by getting it signed and dated by a professional person, like a notary public. Similar to when you apply for something like a bank account or mortgage, you may be asked to provide documents that are certified as true copies of the original.
Who can I get my documents Certified by and where?
For US citizens:
Requires a “notary public,” this state-appointed official witness’s important document signings and verifies the identities of the signers to help deter fraud and identity theft. A notarized document will contain the seal and signature of the notary who witnessed the signing and will have more legal weight than a document that is not notarized.
Members should contact their local bank or FedEx Office location to inquire if there is a notary public on site.
For UK and non-US citizens:
A professional person or someone well-respected in the community (‘of good standing’) like a:
- Bank or building society official
- Police Officer
- Teacher or Lecturer
The person asked shouldn’t be:
- Related to the member
- Living at the same address
- In a relationship with the member
How to certify the documents?
Take the photocopied document and the original and ask the person to certify or notarize (for US Citizens) the copy by:
- writing ‘Certified to be a true copy of the original seen by me’ on the document
- signing and dating it
- printing their name under the signature
- adding their occupation, address and telephone number
(US Citizens Please Note – Notary Public may have their own process)
The person certifying or notarizing the document may charge you a fee.
How do AML and Customer Due Diligence help the investor?
Customer Due Diligence protects both the members and Homestrings. Members are protected by knowing Homestrings has complied with FCA requirements. Homestrings is protected by knowing who our members are.