THE Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) is warning the public against four groups that are offering investment opportunities without authorization from the government.

In separate advisories on its website, the corporate regulator identified four unlicensed investment operators that the public must watch out for: Boss Ultimate Program (Boss UP), IPayOutWeekly/IP Weekly Advertising Services, Commodore Agri-Ventures Holding Corp. and XM Trading Marketing Services/XM Trading Official.

It said all of them do not have the secondary license required by the SEC for anyone soliciting investments from the public.

Boss UP, which the SEC said is run through the collaboration of Building Our Success Stories Network, Inc. (BOSS Network) and 101Upper Class Corp. (Upperclass), engages in multi-level marketing.

The group offers 10 ways to earn, most of which rely on referrals and bonuses which the SEC classified as selling securities to the public. Under the Securities Regulation Code, such activity requires that a company has a secondary license from the SEC.

The SEC said BOSS Network and Upperclass are both registered as corporations with the commission. However, their joint venture Boss UP is unregistered and none of them has a secondary license to sell securities.

Similarly, IPayOutWeekly is not registered with the SEC and does not have a secondary license to sell securities. The SEC said it operates by enticing the public to invest P1,000 in exchange of P1,400 in seven days.

The group claims it is registered with the Department of Trade and Industry under the name IP Weekly Advertising Services. But the SEC said it has no records with the commission, which regulates the solicitation of investments.

Commodore Agri-Ventures also offers easy-money by inviting individuals to become “shareholders” starting with a P3,500 investment, after which they are guaranteed a payout of 10% of shares in one to two weeks.

The SEC said the company is registered as a corporation, but did not secure the secondary license needed to offer, solicit, sell or distribute securities.

Lastly, XM Trading operates by promising investors, which it also calls “shareholders,” a 25% profit of their investment capital every 20 days. It claims involvement in pro-gaming advertising, cryptocurrency, foreign exchange trading, perfume manufacturing and wholesale, and car loan financing, among others.

But the SEC said XM Trading is neither registered with the commission nor does it have a license to sell securities, making its operations unauthorized.

The SEC warned the public not to invest or stop investing in these four groups as they violate the Securities Regulation Code. Anyone that acted as salesmen, brokers, dealers or agents for these groups may be penalized with a fine of up to P5 million, imprisonment of up to 21 years, or both. — Denise A. Valdez