South Africa’s watchdog cautions citizens against QZ Asset Management.
On 1st June 2023, the Financial Sector Conduct Authority of South Africa (FSCA) made a press release in which they warned the public against QZ Asset Management, a firm that had opened its offices in South Africa in November 2022. This followed numerous complaints lodged to the oversight authority. According to the release, complainants said the asset management firm had promised them a 400% return on their investment which would buy promising stocks and equities that would be scouted and bought by Big Data Artificial Intelligence (BDAI) software. While this was the expectation, complainants said that in the weeks leading up to June 1st, QZ Asset Management’s website, where they had their accounts, had gone offline, preventing them from withdrawing their funds.
Who is QZ Asset Management?
At the start of April this year, there was a News Corp press release on Yahoo Finance by QZ Management’s CEO, Blake Yeung. In the release, the CEO gives the background of the asset manager. It states that the firm has been in operation for more than 10 years following its establishment in 2012. The release goes on to say that its headquarters are in Guangzhou, China, and that it has additional offices open throughout the world.
QZ Asset Management gets promoted further on the asset manager’s LinkedIn profile and on ceoreviews.com. The LinkedIn profile touts the company’s shares as worthy investments because of its planned IPO with a listing on Nasdaq Stock Exchange. Ceoreviews.com, on its part, states that the asset manager has used BDAI in China and in the US.
QZ Asset Management’s Track Record
Despite the review from ceoreview.com and information from its LinkedIn profile, and even considering press releases from the company, there is no reliable track record to show that QZ Asset Management is as good an asset manager as they claim to be. This is a big red flag for a company that claims it has been in operation internationally for more than 10 years. Ideally, internal companies make headlines regularly on news outlets from countries in which they operate and from their specific niches. These headlines are more often in good light because such companies continuously deliver on their client expectations. Contrary to this, the company has been flagged by Zambia’s capital markets watchdog, the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), for operating illegally without a license.
QZ Asset Management South Africa
In South Africa, QZ Asset Management also operated illegally without a license from the FSCA, as stated in their June 1st press release. SA’s market conduct watchdog said, “Without commenting on the business of QZ Asset Management or its products and services, the FSCA points out that for a company to offer financial products or services in South Africa, it must be authorized by the FSCA and in some instances also the Prudential Authority. The FSCA can confirm that QZ Asset Management is not authorized or registered under any legislation administered by the FSCA or Prudential Authority.”
The FSCA press release was late, however, because QZ Asset Management carefully curated press releases for months in the second half of 2022 that were designed to give it a stellar reputation. A reputation that is, only now, raising questions. Still, in the period they were operational, the firm managed to sign up a good number of customers. Each customer deposited about R 2 000 to their QZ Assets Management accounts before the company’s website went offline.
FSCA warned the public against QZ Assets Management in a press release on 1st June 2023. The press release is made following several complaints from South Africans who unwittingly deposited money with QZ Asset Management in the hopes that they would receive 4 times the amount in return. According to FSCA, the asset manager was not registered with them as is required of any company offering financial services in South Africa. The company’s claims in its online portfolios and the press releases that it makes are questionable. Barring the press releases, a company that has provided asset management for 10 years should have a track record that shows they are reliable. It still remains to be seen whether or not QZ Asset Management will clear the air on this occurrence.