The Resort Group
The Resort Group (TRG) sells itself as a “world-class luxury Resort hospitality company specialising in creating 5-star holiday Resorts and Hotels.” Established in 2007 by Rob Jarrett, a former financial advisor with the Prudential, the Gibraltar based company owns four luxury resorts in Cape Verde – Tortuga, Dunas Beach, Llana and White Sands. TRG partners with luxury hotel chains such as Melia Hotels International and Hilton Worldwide.
Following the collapse of the UK financial market in 2008, TRG needed to find a sustainable model to raise development funding. They decided to sell their luxury hotel rooms as whole entities or fractional ownership to cash investors or to pension holders via Self-Invested Personal Pensions (SIPPs).
TRG’s glossy promotional brochures promised potential investors double digit returns and IFAs, mortgage brokers and a whole host of unregulated introducers used slick sales pitches to sign pension holders up to a deal that seemed too good to miss out on. What these individuals did not know was that TRG were paying introducers commissions of up to 15%, making it extremely profitable for them to push on customers
Exposed by Panorama as a pension rip-off
The game was up when TRG was featured in a 2016 Panorama documentary investigating pension rip-offs. A reporter posing as a prospective employee of Lifestyle Connections – a company that worked hand in hand with First Review Pension Services at Pride Park in Derby – was told to lie to prospective investors with the aim of getting “everyone to invest in Cape Verde.” It transpired that both of the unregulated firms featured in the documentary were closely connected to The Resort Group.
In August 2017, the Financial Conduct Authority’s (FCA) unauthorised business team began issuing questionnaires to The Resort Group’s Cape Verde investors – it’s understood that this probe is still open.
All the while, investors continue to be disappointed by lower than promised returns from TRG as well as illiquid investments that can’t be sold on. TRG deny rental yields were ever guaranteed but that they are expected to go up as room occupancy increases.
To make matters worse, for those who invested their pensions with SIPP providers such as Rowanmoor and Guardian SIPP (GPC) and London and Colonial SIPP, low income plus high ongoing SIPP fees mean they are actually losing money each year.
Investors thrown a curveball
In September 2019, investors were thrown yet another curveball as rental payments stalled. In a letter dated August 2019, TRG claimed rental payments had been delayed due to a combination of “certain loan commitments” it had to honour and curtailed revenues during the summer months, which is low season in the country.
They added this was the first time they had missed a rental payment since 2011 and reassured investors they would “definitely be paid any outstanding amounts due” in payments “staggered” over the coming weeks.
There have now been a number of successful Financial Services Compensation Scheme (FSCS) claims made by disappointed investors relating to pension investments recommended by failed, but formerly regulated FCA firms. If you were recommended to invest your pension in TRG via a SIPP and have lost money, you may be entitled to compensation.
Our team at Beat the Banks can assess your situation to establish if faulty advice was given and support you in making a claim. Call us on 0800 193 1234 to speak to one of our advisors and find out how we can help you.