Harlequins Hotel and Resorts was an investment scheme offering investment in the Caribbean. The company has now entered administration after failed to pay contractors and investors. Sadly, the scheme was underpinned by many UK-based investors resulting in many losing their money and the finances they deposited in the project. As the Harlequin Hotel and Resort investment scheme was an offshore account; it was not held to the rules and regulations of a Financial Ombudsman compensation scheme.
Having recovered over £70 million of money for investors, our solicitors are experts in the recovery of money for those based in the UK who have made a financial mistake or have been mis-sold an investment scheme. We indeed do specialise in SIPP Claims for Mis-Sold SIPP investors and victims.
If you were the victim of a poor investment or if you were mis-sold a SIPP or an investment opportunity in Harlequins Hotels and Resorts, contact us today by calling us on 0808 250 2997 or visit the SIPP Mis-selling claims section on the Expert Pension Claims website.
Background of the Harlequins Hotel and Resorts Case
Agents from Harlequins Hotel and Resorts misled many investors when encouraging investment in the company with some stating that all the money invested would be ring-fenced and paid back with significant yields, which was not the case. Estimates show that roughly £250 million was invested from the UK. While many investors lost a significant amount of capital, many investors in the UK were misled either by their independent financial advisor, celebrity endorsements published by the company or by an agent of the enterprise.
Thankfully, at Expert Pension Claims’ we offer help and support to those who invested in the SIPP scheme with their retirement fund. With one phone call or an email to our team of experts, we can get your claim underway and try and get the compensation you deserve.
What is Harlequins Hotels and Resorts?
Harlequins Hotels and Resorts was a group offering luxury housing and vacation homes in the Caribbean, promising around 6,000 luxury homes that would be used to provide returns for investors. This, sadly, never came to pass. Although compensation claims can be made against Harlequins Hotels and Resorts, the company traded under different names and had an extensive list of related companies including:
- Harlequin Management Services (South East) Ltd,
- Harlequin Property
- Harlequin Group
It is also possible to hold these branch organisations to account if you were misled in investing.
How was Harlequins Hotel and Resorts a Mis-Sold SIPP Investment?
As well as misleading a number of investors by being unclear about how the money would be invested and how it would be retained, the Harlequins group claimed that in exchange for the investment, the group would build 6,000 luxury villas in St Lucia, St Vincent, Barbados and the Dominican Republic. Despite this promise, the company only delivered around 300.
Under SIPP rules, the maximum amount that can be borrowed to finance a property purchase and development is restricted to 50%. However, under the Harlequins Group, the entire amount was invested with as much as 80% of all pension assets invested. Often, those who had given money to the investment were unaware that the group was breaching guidelines with their investment. Indeed many investors stated that they put in significantly more capital than they thought with many financial advisors simply investing more without telling their client.
Why did Investors put Money in?
In a study by Regulatory Legal, 95% of all investors in Harlequins Hotels and Resorts said that if they had the chance again, they would not invest in the company, with the same percentage stating that they did not understand the rules of their investment. Investors were informed that their money was ring fenced and they would return with significant investment, however, this was not the case with the group effectively misleading clients.
This is exceptionally common when investing in such schemes, with an independent financial advisor or agents of the company often stating that investment is safer than it is to obtain a healthy commission. While some people believed that by investing in Harlequins Hotels and Resorts they were protecting their money and improving their retirement fund, in reality, they were entering an exceptionally risky investment that would most likely result in significant losses.
In a statement, a Harlequin Property spokesperson said that their policy statement does not show that investors were misled. However, some celebrities, such as Pat Cash, allowed their image to be used to promote the scheme which also led to an increase in investment felt that they were also misled. Estimates about the scheme show that around £250 million was invested from the UK alone. .
How was the Investment Mis-sold?
Harlequins Hotels and Resorts assured investors that they were building luxury homes in St Lucia, Barbados and other luxury locations. When encouraging investment, the group stated that the money would be held securely in ring-fenced accounts however this did not come to pass with a statement from the chief executive of the company, David Ames, revealing that the company used investment money to cover costs and that the payments were not regulated by the Financial Services Authority.
Rather than have the payments ring-fenced which many agents told clients, in a statement, Ames said: “The payments are used to cover development costs, commission and marketing expenses. The marketing expenses are important to ensure there is increased demand for properties and that the value increases.”
Effectively, those looking to invest were duped by agents and financial advisors who misled their clients into how the money would be spent and the unsafe nature of the investment. In exchange for their investment, many financial advisors were given significant commissions, which led to further investment and others being duped into the scheme.
How was the story reported?
As the company was based in Essex but encouraged investment overseas, many UK investors were involved in the scheme. As such, the financial issues regarding Harlequins emerged in some publications.
The story originally leaked due to their inability to pay contractors, however, sites such as Professional Advisor soon began to report the financial difficulties faced by the company and the impact it could have on UK investors. The story also received national attention in the Mail on Sunday after the newspaper reported the issues with the investment scheme and the danger of the investment.
Regardless of the stake of your investment, if you are one of the many people who is unsure of whether or not you could be entitled to compensation following investment in the Harlequins Group, we would love to hear from you and get you the compensation you deserve.
Whether you are looking for advice or if you want to start a claim, our no win, no fee solicitors will be able to give you the best advice and representation to try and reclaim your investment.
Can You Claim for SIPP Compensation?
At Expert Pension Claims, we understand just how appealing the Harlequin investment opportunity was at the time and how difficult it can be not to invest when receiving “expert” advice from a financial advisor. To enlist the help of our solicitors or to start your claim, contact our team today. You can do that by visiting the Expert Pension Claims website which has a dedicated section relating to SIPP claims.