Investment Capital and Financial Regulatory Services
The ICFRS was established 2012. Its role has changed over the years to meet the needs of the financial services’ sector. Today the ICFRS supervises, regulates and inspects financial institutions operating in all global jurisdictions. It also oversees national currencies, manages exchange control transactions, assists other authorities with the detection and prevention of financial crime, and advises Governments on banking and other financial and monetary matters.
Our goal is to regulate the entire financial services activities conducted in and from to ensure compliance with the international standards and best conduct of business practices. Our remit includes banking and fiduciary business, insurance business, investment business, company management, company registration, and intellectual property.
We also have the mandate to promote accountability, transparency and good governance. To reach our goals, we monitor all regulated financial services’ activity to protect the public against any illegal and/or unauthorized financial services businesses operating in this sector. We oversee and regulate the general public and industry practitioners on matters relating to the financial services’ business, including the regulatory regime. We collaborate and cooperate with other public and private sector stakeholders to foster the development of a financial services’ environment that will remain competitive and attractive for legitimate business.
We advise Governments on matters important and crucial to the financial services industry to ensure that the laws and regulations and the scope of supervision are compatible with international standards and appropriate for the sustained competitiveness of the entire financial services’ industry.
All financial services and related enforcement legislation and policies are fervently reviewed to make sure that we are keeping attuned to international developments affecting the financial services’ industry to continually strengthen the scope of services that we provide.
The Investment Capital and Financial Regulatory Services, (ICFRS), strives for fair and correct treatment of the financial consumer. The ICFRS acts as a regulatory authority and is responsible for financial market regulation, supervision and inspection of all services in the financial market’s sector.
We ensure that financial institutions adhere to certain requirements, restrictions and guidelines, aiming to maintain the integrity of the financial system. We want to ensure that financial markets are transparent and fair in trading.
This is achieved through collecting correct and complete information provided by the companies that rely upon and use these markets. We work in hand in hand with other international authorities to ensure that financial institutions safely manage their operations and provide fair and legitimate services to consumers.
Our internal bank examiners gather information on trends in the financial industry, which helps the ICFRS meet its other responsibilities, especially when determining monetary policies. The ICFRS is also responsible for training financial services’ professionals, licensing and testing agents, and overseeing the mediation and arbitration processes for disputes between clients and firms.
The ICFRS regulates activities such as: financial markets, banking, insurance, fiduciary services, trustee business, company management, investment businesses, and insolvency services. Functions previously carried out entirely by governments through their financial services departments have been delegated to the ICFRS to take responsibility for.
We oversee correct financial services by monitoring the rules of conduct for financial institutions, financial products, financial service providers, and supplementary pensions, and by contributing to better financial education for consumers.
The ICFRS is a globally recognized entity responsible for such duties, we handle and oversee promoting public understanding of the financial markets and their products, policing the perimeter of regulated activity, reducing financial crime, and preventing financial market abuse.
Our mission is to maintain the integrity of the financial markets as one well-regulated international finance center and protect the financial interests of the investor. The ICFRS protects the interest of both the general public and market participants. We ensure that our compliance is at the highest regulatory industry standards and adopts the best business processes and practices. It is our responsibility to ensure that the market is safeguarded with utmost privacy and confidentiality of legitimate business transactions.
Our Mission is to ensure the stable operation and secure development of the financial markets. We are considered as an independent institution, limiting excessive risk in the activity of supervised entities whilst strengthening the transparency of the global financial.
One of the ICFRS primary roles is to enforce the laws and regulations governing the securities and futures markets to offshore investors.
As members of the Association of International arbitration (AIA) we believe that well-functioning market economies depend on access to information.
The ICFRS is an autonomous regulatory body responsible for the regulation and supervision of global financial services and businesses conducted in and from multiple jurisdictions. The ICFRS maintains accountability through regular reporting, pursuant to the Financial Services Commission Act.
The ICFRS’ Board of Commissioners is appointed in compliance with the Financial Services Commission Act. The Board of Commissioners determines policies to steer the ICFRS in achieving its objectives. Also, the ICFRS is represented in international supervisory coordination bodies, such as the International Organization of Securities Supervisors, (IOSCO), and the International Organization of Pension Supervisors, (IOPS).
The ICFRS is a member of the European Securities and Markets Authority, (ESMA), The Securities and Exchange Commissions of Asia, and The FED of the U.S. Each within its own sector, these institutions contribute to common supervisory standards and financial business supervisory practices. The ICFRS is an active member of numerous working groups that prepare policy-setting initiatives. This action makes it possible to prepare financial supervision in time for new developments.
Accountability and the implementation of fair practice are both crucial to the success of the ICFRS. To achieve these objectives, the ICFRS established a Board of Commissioners. The Board of Commissioners is the governing body of The ICFRS and is responsible for establishing policy, monitoring and overseeing its implementation Monitoring and overseeing the management of the financial sector with the objective of ensuring that the resources of The ICFRS are utilized economically and efficiently.
- Take account of the international nature of financial regulation and the financial services business: this includes maintaining regular contact with foreign regulatory authorities.
- Monitor the effectiveness of financial services legislation;
- Sustain domestic and international confidence in the global financial services’ industry and contribute to the industry’s growth and development;
- Ensure a fit and proper regulatory environment in which financial institutions provide quality products and services for the economic benefit of the investor;
- Protect consumers by ensuring that all firms and individuals authorized to provide financial services in and from within their jurisdiction are competent and financially sound;
- Police the perimeter of regulated activities and instigate and pursue enforcement actions against any individual or business that violates international financial services’ laws;
Our guideline on Anti-Money Laundering and Counter-Terrorist Financing provides practical guidance to assist licensed corporations and their senior management in designing and implementing their own anti-money laundering and counter-terrorist financing policies, procedures and controls so as to meet all relevant legal and regulatory requirements.
The ICFRS also chairs the Financial Innovation Standing Committee working group, which monitors developments in financial innovation. The Managing Director, as well as four or more than six other members, are The Board of Commissioners. The people eligible for appointment to the Board of Commissioners must be fit and proper and are knowledgeable with significant experience and expertise in financial services matters to aid The ICFRS in the performance of its functions.
The ICFRS participates in European and international events through the conclusion of bilateral and multilateral agreements in the form of Memoranda of Understanding with overseas supervisory authorities. providing support to the national working groups of the Council of the European Union working groups on the negotiations of the Capital Markets Legislative. International Cooperation is important in the execution of the Securities and Exchange Commission, taking into account the increasing internationalization of the financial markets, combined with the increasing number and complexity of the supervised organizations with cross-border activities.
Supervision & Regulation
There are significant new legislative initiatives which have recently been introduced including amendments made to the Proceeds of Crime Act 1997 and the Anti-Terrorism, (Financial and Other Measures), Act 2004 that came into force on the 15th November 2008. On the 1st January 2009 the Proceeds, (Anti-Money Laundering and Anti-Terrorist Financing Supervision and Enforcement), Act 2008 and the Proceeds of Crime, (Anti-Money Laundering and Anti-Terrorist Financing), Regulations 2008 came into force.
The ICFRS work hand in hand with all regulatory authorities to achieve our goals and maintain balance and order within the organization.
Human Capital Committee
The Human Capital Committee has been appointed the responsibility for approving and evaluating all policies, programs and compensation plans of the ICFRS as they affect all the members. They have been appointed by the Board to ensure that the members receive fair compensation and benefits.
Audit & Risk Management Committee
The Audit & Risk Management Committee is to assist the Board in fulfilling its corporate governance on the integrity of the ICFRS’ financial reporting and oversight responsibilities.
Legislative & Policy Committee
The Legislative & Policy committee studies and evaluates proposed legislations and regulations that may affect the welfare of officers on an international basis and they report frequently to the organization to ensure that the organization is updated will all laws concerning finance.
Arbitration & Complaints
As members of the Association of International arbitration (AIA) we believe that well-functioning market economies depend on access to information.
For investors this means being easily able to obtain meaningful information on all measures that may materially affect their investments. To reassure all market participants that business operates on a level playing field, it also means that investment laws and regulations and their enforcement should be codified and clear to all.
This requires a consistent, predictable system of laws, policies, regulations and administrative practices, as well as information on rulings and judicial decisions.
While the sheer number and complexity of laws and regulations may not always make it possible to provide comprehensive information on all matters that might influence investor decisions, governments have an interest in providing essential information on how to start a business and inform investors.
This information may pertain to ownership, exchange control restrictions, administrative requirements, taxation, investment incentives, monopolies and concessions, intellectual property protection and competition policy, as well as environmental and social requirements and corporate responsibilities.
Our ongoing supervision of all our members is carried out on the basis of a large volume of information that they are required to provide ICFRS with additional on-site inspections also routinely carried out.
If ICFRS finds that a member is not complying with its legal obligations, or that it risks becoming unable to meet its commitments, we will first determine the deadline by which they must rectify the situation.
If the shortcoming has not been rectified by the given deadline, we can impose a series of exceptional measures, including even a revocation of our licensing to them.
We employ around 100 people and our staff is made up of a broad range of specialists working together on an interdisciplinary basis. They are specialists from the fields of law, economics, mathematics, auditing, the actuarial profession, accounting and investment, amongst others.
Main Features of International Arbitration
The association for international arbitration, (AIA), was founded in 2001 and works towards promotion of Alternative Dispute Resolution, (ADR), in general and arbitration in particular, as a means of dispute resolution and strives to bring together the global community in this field, namely the professionals such as Judges, Lawyers, Arbitrators, and Mediators or as Academicians as well as Research Scholars and Students.
With this unique blend of people, it is their endeavor to inculcate an interest in ADR, not only in the professional sphere but also create awareness and interest in it among budding professionals in law schools and universities all around the globe.
The main reason that parties should elect to have their investment disputes resolved through this arbitration service is to avoid the uncertainties associated with litigation in national courts and the resulting need to enforce judgments in a foreign court.
As with the many domestic variants that exist in virtually all of the world’s industrialized countries, international arbitration is not tied to one party’s full jurisdictional procedure, unless the parties so elect and such election does not violate the fundamental due process or order public of a jurisdiction with interest in a party or subject matter in the dispute. As a hybrid, arbitral rules blend common and civil systems so that parties may narrowly tailor disclosure to the agreement’s particular subject matter.
The ability to resolve disputes in a neutral forum and the enforceability of binding decisions are often cited as the main advantages of international arbitration over the resolution of disputes in domestic courts. And there is solid legal support for this view. Thus, parties to international contracts can decide to site their disputes in a third, neutral country, knowing that the eventual award will be easily enforced in any country that is a signatory to the New York Convention. This award therefore has substantially greater executory, (legal), force than a domestic court decision.
When making a complaint against a financial services company or individual the information we need you to provide detailed information.
Please provide the following specific details in writing and email it to licensing@ICFRS.org:
- Your Name
- Your address
- Daytime telephone number
- Date of the occurrence
- Name of the company, it’s registration number and the individual/s you dealt with
- Details of what you may be dissatisfied with
How your complaint will be dealt with:-
- When you officially lodge your complaint, as above, your complaint will be acknowledged within 2 working days.
- We will investigate your complaint and issue a reply within 20 working days, or if this is not possible, update you on the progress of the investigation within that time frame.
- All complaints will be dealt with promptly, fairly and impartially.
- Up-to-date records of all complaints, including the outcome of investigations, will be maintained and posted against registered firms where relevant.
- We will examine our procedures, if necessary, to try and ensure that no such issues are able to be repeated.
Securities Laws & Policy
Most of the ICFRS’ rules are based on a balance of the security regulators globally and are referred to as a process requirement. All rules, laws and policies are available under the Regulatory Securities Laws & Policy Vault.
‘Orders’ are the decisions made by the members and The Executive director. Those that are of general effect and are relevant to many market participants can be found under Designation Orders. Those that relate to a particular market participant will typically be found under Issuer or Market Registration Regulations. The ICFRS and its staff may also provide explanatory guidance about securities laws either in a form of a notice or a policy.
Financial Services Act
The Financial Services Act is followed to repeal and replace with modifications certain enactments relating to the financial services industry and the ICFRS and for connected purposes. This is the ACT which makes provision about the constitution, functions, proceedings and status of the Authority. The objective of this Act secures the appropriate degree of protection for policyholders, members of retirement benefits schemes and the customers of persons carrying on a regulated activity, the reduction of financial crime, and the maintenance of confidence in global financial services, insurance and pensions industries through effective regulation, thereby supporting economies and their development as international financial centers.
This covers all these classes:
- Deposit Taking (DT)
- Investment Business (IB)
- Services to Collective Investment Schemes (CIS)
- Corporate Services (CS)
- Trust Services (TS)
- Crowdfunding Platforms (CP)
- Management or Administration to License holders (MAL)
- Money Transmission Services (MTS)
- Credit Unions (CU)
- Professional Officers (PO)
Collective Investment Schemes Act
The Collective Investment Schemes Act is the main act that sets out the statutory framework for the promotion and regulation of collective investment schemes. This act centers in the arrangements with respect to property of any description, including money, the purpose or effect of which is to enable persons taking part in the arrangements, to participate in or receive profits or income arising from the acquisition, holding, management or disposal of the property or sums paid out of those profits or income. The arrangements must be such that the persons who participate do not have day to day control over the management of the property, whether or not they have the right to be consulted or to give directions.
Current Fund Types:
- Regulated Fund
- Qualifying Fund
- Specialist Fund
- Exempt Scheme
The current Securities Regulation establishes the process that the ICFRS must follow to make rules. Some of the notices or policies are issued on a harmonized basis with the other international securities regulators, while others are only issued by the ICFRS. These policies are applicable to all businesses undertaking regulated activities.
Security Laws and Policies Overview – These are the four main acts that covers rules and regulations to be followed by Financial Services Entities that are under the supervision of the ICFRS. These ‘acts’ are mandatory and all must be compliant to be able to offer financial services to consumers worldwide.
Retirement Benefits Schemes Act
The objective of this act is to make new provision for the registration, authorization, recognition, regulation and supervision of certain retirement benefits schemes and for all related purposes. This covers all retirement benefits programs. It ensures transparency between the company and the consumer. The Schemes Act sets out a new legislative framework for private pensions. This aims to make greater risk sharing between employers, individual members and third parties easier. The Act is intended to encourage and enable ‘shared risk’ pension schemes and ‘collective benefits’.
- Domestic Authorized Schemes (DAS)
- International Authorized Schemes (IAS)
- Permitted Schemes (PS)
- Recognized Schemes (RS)
Insurance Act 2015
The objective of this act is to re-enact with amendments certain enactments related to the regulation of persons carrying on insurance business and the regulation of insurance managers and insurance intermediaries; and for connected purposes. This governs the entirety of an investment business from business registration, process and operations. It is to oversee that all entities are compliant to all orders and rules of the said act. The act is to protect the investor from any adverse market conditions that may result in loss of capital of insurance sums. These sums will be insured within a force majeure clause to remove liability for natural and unavoidable catastrophes that interrupt the expected course of events and restrict participants from fulfilling obligations.
- Life Insurance (LI)
- Non-life insurance (including Captive Insurance) (NLI)
- General Insurance Intermediaries (GII)
- Protected Cell Companies / Incorporated Cell Companies (PCC / ICC)
- Special Purpose Vehicles / Insurance Linked Securities (SPV/ILS)
Cyber Security Regulatory Guidance
In our modern world today, cyber-attacks are continually increasing. Of course, this does not rule out financial service providers.
Financial service providers are exposed to the risks associated with cyber-attacks because they often receive, hold and transfer large sums of money. Likewise, they tend to collect and store substantial amounts of private and confidential client information, and that information may also be shared with various third parties (e.g. outsourced service providers).
Successful cyber-attacks can result in the loss of assets or confidential information or cause considerable disruption to business services, which may subsequently cause significant damage to the reputation and financial performance of affected businesses, as well as significant and long-term detriment to affected clients. Successful cyber-attacks also have the potential to undermine confidence in the global financial services’ sector as a whole.
Consequently, the ICFRS wishes to highlight the risks of inadequate cyber security to regulated entities and draw attention to a number of key legal and regulatory provisions that are relevant to this issue. This guidance aims to help regulated entities understand the ICFRS’ expectations and to comply with existing requirements.
This guidance does not modify any existing requirements or impose any additional obligations on regulated entities. The practices and suggestions in this guidance may not be relevant or appropriate in every case, and the guidance is not intended to be exhaustive. The ICFRS issues guidance for various purposes, including to illustrate best practice, to assist relevant persons in complying with legislation and to provide examples or illustration.
This guidance is not law. This would tend to indicate compliance with associated legislative provisions, and vice versa. If you are unsure about your legal obligations you should seek legal advice.
Types of cyber-attacks include hacking, phishing, malware and denial of service attacks.
Hacking involves someone gaining unauthorized access to a computer or network, usually by exploiting an existing weakness in security settings or using stolen credentials. Hacking techniques include password cracking, Trojan horses and key loggers.
Phishing usually involves fake emails or instant messages that appear to come from legitimate businesses. The emails and messages typically contain URLs that link to malicious web pages which may look almost identical to legitimate sites.
Clicking on the link may allow malware to be installed or the fake website may trick the end user into entering confidential information such as passwords or bank account details, (often the emails and messages encourage the end user to update, validate or confirm an account and they may appear to be official, use threatening language or create a sense of urgency), the information acquired by the criminals is then used to commit identity theft, gain access to bank accounts, etc.
Phishing emails often contain a number of subtle warning signs, for example one letter in the sender’s email address may be different to the genuine email address, the greeting may not be personalized, the email may contain grammatical errors and spelling mistakes, or the email may create a sense of urgency. However, cybercrime is becoming increasingly sophisticated and consequently it is becoming more difficult to differentiate between legitimate and bogus emails.
Malicious software, commonly known as malware, is any software that adversely affects a computer or computer system. There are several types of malware, including computer viruses, worms, adware and spyware.
There are also advanced types of malware, for example ransomware which is used to extort money. Ransomware incidents are increasingly common and they typically involve files on a computer being encrypted to prevent access to them, (encryption ransomware), or completely preventing access to a computer, (lock screen ransomware).
Money will then be demanded to regain access to the computer or to decrypt or not publish the compromised data. Certain types of ransomware are very effective, and victims of such attacks may be unable to retrieve data, (even if they pay the ransom), unless they have made a backup copy.
A Trojan horse, (or Trojan), is commonly used to trick end users into installing malware – this is typically achieved by hiding malicious software within a seemingly innocent looking email attachment such as an invoice or picture, a link to a bogus website which may appear to be legitimate, (often the link will direct the user to a web page that is different to the URL displayed in the email) or a free program such as a game.
The malicious software is downloaded when the recipient opens the attachment, clicks on the link or downloads the free program. Alternatively, scareware may be used to intimidate the end user into taking action – a common form involves a pop-up message which states that the computer has a security problem.
Once activated, the malicious software can enable cyber criminals to spy on the user, steal confidential data such as bank account details and passwords, and give them remote access to the computer. Emails containing malware may often be received from an unknown sender, however bogus emails can also appear to come from someone known to the recipient, for example, where a cyber-criminal has created an email address that is almost identical to a genuine email address or a virus has been used to spoof the return address.
Consequently, malware is often unwittingly downloaded from an email attachment or from a bogus website.
Denial of service attacks allow attackers to bring down a network without having to gain internal access; this is achieved by flooding the access routers with fake traffic and overloading the system until it fails.
There are also distributed denial of service attacks, which are coordinated denial of service attacks from multiple sources. The ultimate aim of a denial of service attack may simply be to cause disruption by bringing down company networks, alternatively they may be used as a mechanism to extort money or to create a distraction to facilitate another attack.
Every person and business is vulnerable to cyber-attacks. However, there are several practices that can significantly increase your protection from the majority of attacks. These include taking simple steps such as choosing strong passwords that contain a mixture of capital and lower-case letters, numbers and symbols and changing passwords frequently, keeping operating systems, software and web browsers up to date and installing anti-virus software and firewalls.
The Board of the ICFRS consists of not less than seven qualified people appointed by Treasury and approved by board members. The Board currently comprises a Non-Executive Chairman and Non-Executive Deputy Chairman, the Chief Executive and further Non-Executive Members. The quorum of the Board is three Members. Profiles for the current Members of the ICFRS can be found below:
Board of Directors
Chairman of the Board
Denton Hillman has a broad and successful international career as a senior executive, chairman and non-executive director in both the private and public sectors.
Mr. Hillman is currently Chairman of several UK businesses and a UK Business Ambassador. Mr. Hillman is a previous member of Cifas, the UK fraud prevention agency and Chairman of the Management Board of SNOMED International, a non-profit organization that determines global standards for health terms.
In addition, he is one of the Board members of several digital start-ups, including The Cambridge Code, an innovative online diagnostic tool that can identify subconscious characteristics and traits which cannot be detected by conventional test methods.
Earlier in his career he was the youngest-ever Commissioner of the US Securities and Exchange Commission. Later, Mr. Hillman was on the main board as executive director of Samuel Montagu & Co, a London merchant bank and a director of News International.
Previously, in Japan he was appointed Deputy Chairman of the Tepco Nuclear Reform Committee and Chairman of its Nuclear Safety Task Force, on which he still currently serves. Mr. Hillman is also a member of the board of the Lixil Corporation and Chairman of its Remuneration Committee. In addition, he is an advisor to the Itochu Corporation.
Deputy Chairman of the Board
Mr. Thurman was previously a member of the Insurance and Pensions Authority, having been appointed in April 2012. He was appointed to the Financial Services Authority in November 2015. Prior to his retirement in 2014 he was Managing Director of Tower Insurance Company Limited and had previously spent his career in various senior management roles within RSA Insurance Group.
Mr. Thurman is a Fellow of the Chartered Insurance Institute and a Chartered Insurer, and holds the Institute of Directors’ Diploma in Company Direction. He is a non-executive director of a number of companies and a board member of several local charities.
Mr. Graham was previously a Member of the Financial Supervision Commission, having been appointed in May 2012. He was appointed to the Financial Services Authority in November 2015. Mr. Graham spent most of his career with the Bank of England where, among other roles, he had supervisory responsibility for global institutions.
He was alternate Executive Director at the IMF in the early 1990s. He worked in the UK Financial Services Authority for ten years from its creation in 1998, where he oversaw supervision of the major overseas institutions in the UK and subsequently had responsibility for global and EU strategy.
Until 2012 Mr. Graham was Senior Director at the Institute of International Finance in Washington DC. Mr. Graham currently also advises a number of supervisory bodies on supervisory practice internationally.
Mr. Freemantle qualified as a Scottish solicitor and was a lecturer in law before moving to the ICFRS in 1997. Following a number of years in legal practice, he was appointed as a director of a large privately owned Corporate and Trust Service Provider before joining the then Financial Supervision Commission as Head of Companies and later Head of the Policy and Legal Unit.
Subsequently, Mr. Freemantle was employed by the Fiera Capital Group, (previously the Charlemagne Capital Group), where he held a number of roles, including acting as director and company secretary of AIM quoted Charlemagne Capital Limited.
Mr. Freemantle was closely involved in the establishment of the Association of Corporate Service Providers and is a Member of the Institute of Directors and the Institute of Management. He was also a Governor of King William’s College and The Buchan School for a number of years.
Investment Capital and Financial Regulatory Services, (ICFRS) Is a globally recognized offshore financial services authority
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Investment Capital and Financial Regulatory Services, (ICFRS),
Hong Kong International Commerce Centre,
1 Austin Road West,