Savers may have lost what the City watchdog warns is “a ­substantial” amount of money in investment company Marvell Enterprises Limited.

The firm was an authorised credit broker but the Financial Conduct Authority says it also pushed ­investments without authorisation.

“Its communications with consumers regarding investments contain numerous misleading statements which appear designed to give false comfort to investors about the level of protection their investments would receive,” says the regulator.

It pointed out that the way Marvell Enterprises operated bears “striking similarities” to Cavendish Incorporated Limited, which had its FCA authorisation axed in August “due to concerns about similar misconduct” , as did a third firm that was authorised to act on its behalf, Cottesmore Associates Limited.

So, why were these fly-by-night outfits given the regulator’s seal of approval in the first place?

The FCA admits it had tried contacting Marvell but its landline did not work and letters were returned unopened – which should have set alarm bells ringing long ago.

This mess spreads to a chain of other companies.

There’s Grosvenor Associates, whose website has identical artwork and wording to that used by Marvell, both companies declaring: “We aim to be one of the most progressive and reputable property development and investment companies in the UK” and: “We deliver long-term value to our stakeholders through our rigorous approach to development…

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