NFIB to Combat Investment Fraud  

The Wine Investment Association is a self-regulatory body that is set to transform the growing wine investment industry which has received an endorsement of its mission to eliminate wine fraud from the National Fraud Intelligence Bureau ('NFIB').

The NFIB is operated by the City of London Police to combat fraud of all kinds in the UK.The Bureau acknowledges that self-regulated trade bodies such as the WIA provide a major plank in investor protection by offering investors the means of easily identifying companies that subscribe to best practice and a body to notify potential malpractice to help protect investors in fine wine.

The WIA was formed to support the sector’s growth through self-regulation, establishing best practice and setting up processes to help identify fraudulent activity.

Following an extensive consultation period, the WIA has set out the standards and procedures to which its members must comply.  Member companies will be required to operate robust systems and controls to prevent fraud and adopt ethical practices across all areas of their business. All WIA member firms will be audited by an independent professional advisor.  

The fine wine investment market is currently valued at US$4 billion globally and historically the sector has enjoyed strong long-term growth performance.  Every year millions of pounds are invested by individuals and organisations in this unregulated market. Unfortunately, there have been incidents of wine investment fraud, malpractice and misrepresentation, as a result of which companies and private investors have lost money. The WIA aims to guide the industry to minimise the potential for this kind of investor harm.

The WIA’s approach of tackling this criminality via a robust self-regulatory framework for industry members with key input from an external auditor is supported by the NFIB.

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... The NFIB see an auditable framework of self regulation as a real and positive step towards maintaining and increasing consumer confidence and assisting us to highlight those who do not operate to such high standards.”

Peter Shakeshaft, Director of the WIA, comments that: “The WIA aims to help the industry to set the highest possible standards for best practice, providing protection for investors in fine wine and the confidence to enjoy this rewarding asset class. To secure the endorsement of the NFIB is a further sign of how significant the WIA will be to the future of fine wine investment and we’re committed to a long-term and proactive engagement that will eradicate fraud from our industry once and for all.”

Once a WIA Member, a company will be entitled to use the WIA logo, providing a stamp of approval to promote the fact they are a safe and trustworthy provider of fine wine investment services.