New Regulatory Body Set To Transform Britains Wine Investment Industry
NFIB and WIA to Provide Better Protection for Wine Investors
Millions of Britons enjoy drinking it and many now see it as a long-term investment. Unfortunately, fine wine has also become a focus for fraudsters who trick investors into buying wines or vineyards that bear little resemblance to what they see in the prospectus, or may not even exist. The increasing number of such rorts in Britain has led to calls for action to be taken to protect investors and to increase consumer confidence in fine wines. In the upshot, the UKs National Fraud Intelligence Bureau (NFIB) is joining forces with the newly-formed Wine Investment Association (WIA) to tackle the problem.
On 14 February 2013, the NFIB and the WIA jointly announced the launch of the new self-regulatory body which will aim to transform the growing wine investment industry by providing better protection for investors in the UK. The WIA has been formed by leading figures from the fine wine investment industry and seeks to support the sector’s growth through voluntary regulation, establishing best practices and setting up processes to identify fraudulent activity.
Director of the NFIB, Det. Supt. Dave Clark, said: “Fraudsters will always follow the money, wine investment is just the latest in a long line of investment opportunities that are being exploited and corrupted to the detriment of the industry as a whole. He added that the NFIB sees the creation of an auditable framework of self-regulation as a step towards maintaining and increasing consumer confidence, while also identifying investment companies which do not operate in accordance with the required high standards.
New Code to Tackle Wine Investment Frauds
Following an extensive consultation period, the WIA has set out the standards and procedures with which its members must comply to remain in good standing. Under the new code of conduct to be drawn up, wine investment firms will undergo stringent audits by accountancy firm Mazars. These will include checks on systems such as stock rotation and to make sure that purchase orders and invoices tally. The director of the WIA, Peter Shakeshaft, revealed that companies which successfully complete the independent audit process commissioned by the newly-formed regulatory body will bear a WIA logo offering consumers a trustworthy safety kitemark. Shakeshaft added: Our industry has been held back far too long by unscrupulous practitioners and issues around fraud. The WIA will really hold the industry to account.