The Financial Services Authority (FSA) issued an alert to financial advisers on 18 January 2013 regarding this subject. Since 1 April, the Financial Conduct Authority is one of the UK’s two new financial regulators, which has replaced the FSA.
The alert sets out our expectations where financial advisers recommend overseas properties purchased through Harlequin Property. It also sets out what advisers need to do before recommending an overseas property investment through Harlequin Property.
Since this date, important developments have taken place as follows:
- On 5 March 2013 the Serious Fraud Office (“SFO”) announced that they, together with Essex Police, are looking into complaints in relation to the Harlequin group. They ask investors who have invested in specific resorts to contact them. Full details of the announcement along with a complete list of the resorts and how to contact SFO.
- On 20 October 2014 Harlequin Property entered into liquidation and Leonard Curtis and Shipleys have been appointed as joint liquidators.
We are aware that on 13 May 2013, Harlequin Hotels & Resorts approached investors to state that Harlequin Property (SVG) Limited, another company within the Harlequin group, is working with SIPP and SSAS providers to facilitate the completion of built properties at Buccament Bay Resort. They invite investors who are in a position to fund the balance outstanding from their SIPP and SSAS or wish to relocate their investment from another Harlequin resort, to contact Harlequin Hotels & Resorts.
We wish to remind financial advisers that our expectations where financial advisers are asked for advice on overseas properties purchased through Harlequin group were set out in the alert of 18 January, which remain valid. Also, please note that Harlequin Property (SVG) Limited is not regulated by FCA and it is not a company incorporated in the UK. Harlequin Property (SVG) Limited is based in St Vincent and the Grenadines.
We urge financial advisers considering recommending consumers paying monies or further monies over to any of the companies in the Harlequin group at this time to proceed with caution. You should ensure that consumers fully understand the risks involved with the investment. You should also advise consumers to obtain legal advice from lawyers in the country where the property is located before proceeding with any investment in a company in the Harlequin group.