The Resort Group
Many of the cases of pension mis-selling that we investigate are complex, and those involving The Resort Group are no different. This organisation provided investment opportunities relating to luxury holiday resorts in Cape Verde. Their involvement has been from the bottom, starting with identifying sites, designing the properties and constructing the resorts.
It goes without saying that such projects need a great deal of investment, so the company looked to bring in money from people right across the UK. Unfortunately, The Resort Group used a number of techniques that were to prove more than controversial. The process began with cold-calling individuals and offering them what was claimed to be a free pension review.
The victims were convinced by these callers that a review could be trusted, and would lead to reliable advice and recommendations. What they got was encouragement to transfer their money away from safe, well-performing pensions and into Self-Invested Personal Pensions, and then into schemes that were wholly unregulated and, ultimately, extremely high risk.
Supposedly independent advisors were shepherding investors towards these schemes and picking up a sizable commission in the process. In return for a hefty pay-off, those advisors were coercing innocent men and women into taking risks that really shouldn’t have been taken. The Resort Group, headquartered in Gibraltar and therefore outside the full weight of UK law, sat back and watched the cash come in.
Perhaps inevitably, promised returns failed to live up to expectation and investors started to lose money. On top of the diminished yields, they still had to pay management fees as well. This has been a double whammy for many investors, most of whom should be looking forward to a comfortable retirement now rather than facing years of uncertainty and doubt.
The pensions advice service that supposedly led investors to TRG was set up originally by TRG itself, and the advisors were employed on a commission basis to get people to sign on the dotted line. Building luxury properties in a location like Cape Verde doesn’t come cheap, of course, so there was a great deal of pressurised selling in order to get the projects off the ground.
Taking risks that shouldn’t have been taken
If an investment scheme is unregulated, it’s a high risk proposition that would usually be totally unsuitable for ordinary people looking to augment their life savings or their pension pots. Investors with a high net worth who understand the risks that are being taken should have been the ones this scheme was aimed at, but the chances are it was simpler and more profitable to convince others to part with their money.
The Resort Group was established in 2007, unfortunately just before the collapse of many of the world’s financial markets in 2008. In order to keep investment money coming in, they set up a complex web of organisations that together seemed to point independently towards investing in TRG. The call centre called Lifetime Connections and the review company First Review Pension Services were both heavily linked to TRG, without of course appearing to be.
After regular reports of discontent among investors started to materialise, the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) started to issue questionnaires to investors. Returns on investment, once touted to be pleasingly high, continue to disappoint, and in some cases investors have been left with properties that rarely find tenants and are proving difficult to sell on.
It’s worth pointing out that those who were targeted by The Resort Group were not wealthy individuals who saw this as one investment in a portfolio of opportunities. They were a group of well-meaning individuals who saw one final chance to enhance their savings as their working years were coming to an end. They should never have been encouraged to get involved in something as volatile as this.
Both The Resort Group and the advisors who worked for them should have carried out checks on the suitability of their investors but they failed to do so. Transferring money into a SIPP is a risk in itself, and in most of these cases it shouldn’t have occurred. Those left behind in the wake of this scenario are continuing to lose money and there appears to be little hope on the horizon at the moment.
Here at Beat the Banks, we have a dedicated team of professionals dealing with a number of cases of mis-sold pension advice, and we continue to fight for the justice that our clients deserve. The men and women who invested in TRG and similar schemes should have been protected from the hard selling and the cold calling. The latter practice was banned in 2019, but it’s too late now for many.
Please get in touch with us soon if you were mis-sold advice and ended up losing money through a SIPP. Call 0800 193 1234 today. We look forward to hearing from you.