Countrywide Land Holdings Limited, Regional Land and Consolidated Land UK Limited land banking schemes - information for investors

In 2013, we took action to wind up Paradigm Consultancy S.A. ('Paradigm') as a result of its involvement in unauthorised land banking schemes - Countrywide Land Holdings Limited, Regional Land and Consolidated Land UK Limited.

The liquidation of Paradigm has now concluded and we need to return funds that have been received to eligible investors. Find out what this means for investors.

The FCA does not regulate the sale of land but where land banking amounts to a collective investment, a firm or individual must be authorised by us to promote or operate a collective investment scheme (CIS) in the UK.

The following businesses did not have the proper authorisation from the FCA and were therefore not allowed to do what they did.

Schemes and individuals involved

Paradigm was a Panamanian company. The FSA (the predecessor to the FCA) took action in the UK to wind it up. It had a debt of £32.8 million due to its involvement in the following unauthorised businesses:

  • Countrywide Land Holdings Limited
  • Regional Land
  • Consolidated Land UK

These individuals were also involved:

  • James Kenneth Maynard (trading as Regional Land and Countrywide Land Holdings)
  • Stephen Ronald Watkins (trading as Consolidated Land UK)

These schemes sold plots of land across the UK with the promise that investors would make a significant profit when the land obtained planning permission and was sold.

Malcolm Cohen and Mark Shaw of BDO LLP were appointed as joint liquidators of Paradigm. The liquidators have now completed the statutory process and concluded the liquidation. As a creditor in the liquidation of Paradigm, we have received approximately £2.5 million which we intend to give back to eligible investors.

What this means for investors

Investing in unauthorised schemes means that there is a real chance that all your money can be lost, with little chance of recovery.

The funds which we have received are significantly less than the total amount paid to the schemes by investors. This means that the amount of money we can distribute to each eligible investor is likely to be significantly less than the amount they invested. At this stage, we are unable to confirm how much each person would receive.

Before making any payments to qualifying investors, we will, at our own cost, seek an order from the High Court to approve our distribution of funds. This is to ensure that we are doing so in a way which the Court considers to be just and fair.

What you should do

We need your help with this. You need to provide us with a completed questionnaire and any documents you have relating to the investment.

If you invested in the above schemes and have not heard from us, please contact us immediately so we can provide you with the relevant paperwork.

If you have not yet sent us a completed questionnaire and supporting documentation or have not responded to our requests for clarification, please do so now, even if you no longer have records or documentation.

If you have contacted us and are yet to receive a reply, please contact us again as soon as possible so we can ensure we have received your documents.

How to contact us

  • Email us at: [email protected]
  • Write to us at: Freepost RTZE–RHAL–URAJ, for the attention of UBD RC RE00654, Financial Conduct Authority, 12 Endeavour Square, London E20 1JN
  • Telephone us on: 0800 111 6768

When should I do this

We are working to resolve this matter and return funds to eligible investors as soon as possible, but we want to make sure we have identified as many investors as possible. We will need to demonstrate to the Court that we have taken reasonable steps to identify people that invested in the above schemes.

If you believe you need to contact us regarding the above but need time to gather relevant information and documentation, please let us know so that we can avoid any issues that may arise as a result.

We want to finalise arrangements and proceed without any further delays.

Other agencies

Other agencies such as the Metropolitan Police and Trading Standards have assisted us by allowing us access to investor documentation that they hold. We would like to thank them for their time and assistance.

Plateau Development & Land Limited

Some of you may have also invested in Plateau Development & Land Limited ('Plateau') and may recognise the name Wasim Minhas (who was the director of Plateau). There is a separate sum of money available to distribute to investors in this scheme. 

If you invested in this scheme and have not heard anything from us, please contact us using the contact details above and we will forward your details to the FCA team dealing with this matter. 

Contact by third parties

We are not working with any other parties to help return funds to investors and we will not ask you to make any payment to us before we return any money to you.

Do not deal with anyone who approaches you claiming to work on behalf of the FCA in relation to your investments – it will be a scam. Please report any contact to us.

If you are considering making an investment in land, see our information on land banking investment scams.

If you think you may have been approached by an unauthorised firm or individual, you can check our Warning List or contact us.

Previous press releases

http://www.fsa.gov.uk/library/communication/pr/2012/030.shtml

http://www.fsa.gov.uk/library/communication/pr/2011/062.shtml