The UAE's Securities and Commodities Authority (SCA) said in a statement on 1 January that it is to launch an "awareness campaign to confront unlicensed financial activities" over the first four months of 2023. 

Maryam Al-Suwaidi, CEO of the SCA, said the campaign was "necessary to protect investors and their savings, develop the securities sector and push it to advanced and competitive levels regionally and globally".      

It was also aimed at "sound practices and protecting licensed financial activities from unfair competition and promoting investment culture in a way that advances the comprehensive development process of the country". 

The campaign will communicate mostly through film materials (video clips - cartoons) that will be published on social networks, websites, internal screens in institutions, television interviews on satellite channels, press coverage of seminars and events, in addition to media statements and press interviews, as well as publishing Awareness guidelines in newspapers and websites, and publishing tips via SMS and WhatsApp.

The awareness campaign follows the directives of the SCA's board of directors headed by Muhammad Ali Al-Shurafa "to work on proposing solutions, initiatives and programs that support the supervisory and regulatory role of the Securities Commission Finance and commodities in preserving the rights of all categories of investors, and providing them with knowledge, expertise and supportive programs to enable them to make rational investment decisions".

Al Suwaidi added that the launch of this campaign comes within the framework of implementing one of the objectives of the authority's strategic plan for the year 2023, which is related to the development and implementation of adequate measures consistent with best practices aimed at identifying and intercepting unlicensed money transfer services and detecting and prosecuting unlicensed operators using relevant advanced technologies and strengthening cooperation with Law enforcement authorities. 

The SCA further said the campaign also came as a continuation of a series measures taken to contribute to strengthening the state's efforts in terms of countering money laundering and combating terrorist financing, in addition to consolidating the position of the country's stock markets as a leading, safe and attractive financial market that supports the growth and diversification of the national economy. 

The initiative targets investors, entrepreneurs, workers in financial markets, workers in the financial services industry, and youth, especially school and university students.

Al Suwaidi further said: "The media message of the campaign focuses on enhancing societal awareness of the proper procedures that must be followed in the field of financial markets, by conveying a set of messages to the audience of the recipients of the educational material, the most prominent of which is the need for members of the public to hurry to inform the Securities Authority and the competent supervisory authorities as soon as it is discovered that the company 

"Those that call for investment are not licensed, and individuals wishing to invest must, as a first step, ensure that the company is licensed for the purpose for which phone messages or social networking messages, websites and other means of communication call for investment, and this can be verified through the website of the Securities and Channels Authority other approved official."

The campaign also stresses the need to be alert and wary of the fraudulent methods used by the promoting companies and what they do in terms of impersonating real companies licensed by the regulatory authorities, fabricating forged commercial and professional documents and licenses, as well as warning investors against dealing with any unlicensed financial activity in order to preserve their savings. 

The SCA also highlighted that investors must ensure the promoted financial product is licensed for trading and verify that the licenses granted to the licensed companies are compatible with the promoted activity/service, in addition to verifying that the information and documents they receive from the promoters through the regulatory authorities and official channels are correct before investing with them. 

Al Suwaidi further pointed to the increasingly important need to educate the investor in light of the rapid developments in the financial markets and the multiplicity of financial products, which requires keeping pace with modern procedures to enhance the security of financial markets and develop the level of skill and knowledge of investors and protect them and enable them to make sound decisions.