SIPPs, or self-invested personal pensions, are a type of government approved personal pension that allows the pension holder to choose exactly where they would like to invest their funds. Generally speaking, SIPPs are for the more knowledgeable and affluent investor. Unfortunately, between 2009 and 2012, and then from 2014 until 2017, unscrupulous companies and individuals often persuaded pension holders to move some or all of their perfectly safe and adequately performing pensions into non-standard investments – All typically involving substantial commissions and in many cases, unregulated advice.Many of these investments have subsequently performed poorly or gone out of business, leaving a trail of debt and investors devoid of their pensions. In some cases, the investors are still paying costly ongoing SIPP fees or even facing HMRC demands.
You may have a claim for poor and unsuitable advice. You may also have a claim if you were advised to use any savings or even to re-mortgage your property to invest in any unregulated investments.
The Resort Group, or TRG, was first established back in 2007 by Rob Jarrett, a former financial adviser with the Prudential. Headquartered in Gibraltar, and therefore out with the scope of the UK regulators, they have now completed a number of luxury hotels in Cape Verde. They boast of partnerships with the likes of the Melia Hotels International and Hilton Worldwide. It’s fair to say that on occasion, they have hit the headlines, but for all the wrong reasons.Following the collapse of the UK financial market in 2008, TRG urgently needed to find a sustainable model to raise development funding. Financial advisers in the UK were targeted to sell TRG investments to their clients via the transfer of perfectly safe and performing pensions into SIPPs, with the promise of mind-blowing returns of up to 10%. It’s a pity that these financial advisers and mortgage brokers weren’t decent enough to disclose the huge level of commission this shameful advice earned them.
We also now know that The Resort Group owned and operated a call centre in Derby called Lifetime Connections. Their sole purpose was cold calling to offer pension advice. The leads generated were then, in turn, passed on to First Review Pension Services for a “free pension review”. Victims were completely unaware that the advisers were unregulated and picking up a whopping 7% commission on sales. Perhaps unsurprisingly, this business was also owned by TRG. Both companies have since been struck off.
The Resort Group have been the subject of investigations by BBC “Panorama” and BBC Radio 4’s “You and Yours”. A number of “false and unfounded accusations” were subsequently retracted.
Unfortunately, investors continue to be hit by less than promised returns and illiquid investments that cannot be encased. Finally, in August 2017, the FCA through its unauthorised business team started issuing questionnaires to The Resort Group’s Cape Verde investors.
If you have lost money by investing in TRG, you may be entitled to compensation, but you need to act as soon as possible as time limitations can unfortunately apply.
Sadly, this was yet another elaborate fraud. The Global Forestry Investments Belem Sky Plantations was all about growing teak in the Amazonian rainforests. Plots were offered for the princely sum of £5,000 each, with returns of 10% per annum promised. The two men who engineered the scam, Omari Bowers and Andrew Skene, boasted that teak was a better investment than gold, property and shares. Sadly, and not surprisingly, this was far short of the truth with an estimated loss to investors of over £20 million and an investigation by the Serious Fraud Office.
Incredibly, the ER Network (ERN) also gave pension advice to invest in Global Forestry Investments Belem Sky Plantations. Here is a slide of a presentation given to member firms within the ERN. Astonishing returns were promised.
In the case of “Mrs R,” The Financial Ombudsman adjudged that “Mr M,” an appointed representative of Intrinsic working within the ER Network, not only gave advice to invest in this scheme, but also that the ERN even sent the application to the SIPP provider.
If you have lost money by investing in Global Forestry Investments Belem Sky Plantations, you may be entitled to compensation, but you need to act as soon as possible as time limitations can unfortunately apply.