On May 18, the Philippines Securities and Exchange Commission issued an alert concerning the firm Hyper Program International and its affiliates, warning investors to stay clear. But what are the reasons for the worries surrounding Hyper Program International (HPI)?
It helps to know some background information about the company. The firm began in Quezon City in 2014 as a direct marketing operation selling collagen-based cosmetic products. This includes face masks that claim to revitalize the skin, collagen soap, a drug called Gluta Colla-C and Collagen Coffee.
Its founding statement promised investors that HPI would be “creating business to build people and change life and to provide infinite growth and possibilities to its members.” HPI claims to use a common direct marketing strategy to sell its products. Using social media networks on sites such as Facebook, HPI recruits investors to join its Rewards System and then claims to pay them a bonus due to their customer loyalty.
According to the SEC, this had entailed promising returns of between 35 and 40 percent within 40-45 days. As the SEC also reports, investors in HPI are paid their bonus if they then recruit other investors. Investors are also rewarded, in theory, if they recruit customers to purchase the collagen products marketed by HPI.
However, the Commission warns investors that HPI has not been issued with a securities license, making any investment potentially illegal. The SEC warning notes that the firm may be in breach of Sections 8(8.1) and 12 of the Securities Regulation Code. The penalty for participating in an unlicensed securities operation can be between P50,000 and P5,000,000 – and a 7 year prison term can also result from prosecution.
Unregulated securities scams can result in investors losing all of their capital, which is why the SEC attempt to issue licenses to officially approved firms. Because HPI has been refused a license, anyone thinking about making an investment in the firm would be advised to think twice. It seems likely that the company has an unsound business model that seeks to exploit online investors.
Direct marketing is a common source of employment in the Philippines, with around 4 million people involved in the sector across the archipelago. However, there is sometimes a small difference between a genuine marketing network where all sellers are rewarded for their work, and a pyramid scheme which only enriches a few criminals at the head of the organization.
The SEC clearly suspects that HPI has been acting as a pyramid scheme, where investors are rewarded solely for recruiting others (who pay for the privilege), instead of for their sales activity. That’s why the Philippines SEC issued its strongly worded warning to anyone thinking about making an investment in HPI which, on the surface claims to be a forward-thinking, dynamic sales operation. Anyone still considering investing or offering investment opportunities with this companies has been warned and may face prosecution if they take part.
You can view the warning of the SEC at their website or click HERE