The FCA has commenced High Court proceedings against Mr Robin Forster, Fortem Global Limited and Mr Richard Tasker, over alleged links to investments in care homes in which investors appear to have lost at least £30 million.
Update 30 June 2023
The trial of our claim against Robin Forster in relation to the Qualia investment schemes commenced on 2 May and concluded on 15 May 2023 at the High Court. We expect to receive a judgment in the coming months and we will provide an update in due course. If our claim has been successful, we will then seek a Restitution Order from the court which will require the defendants to compensate investors for their losses.
The FCA has issued another claim against Mr Forster and other MBI companies for schemes which preceded the Qualia investment scheme, relating to investments in Downshaw Lodge, Oakesway, Ferndale, Birchley Hall, Sandycroft and Gilwood Lodge. Like our Qualia claim, the claim argues the schemes were collective investment schemes and we will seek a similar Restitution Order from the court.
We have also issued a claim against Lupton Fawcett, solicitors who we believe were knowingly concerned in promoting the Qualia scheme. This claim seeks an order requiring the defendant to compensate affected investors in the Qualia schemes.
Both claims have been stayed pending the outcome of the Qualia trial.
The proceedings – which allege that the defendants carried out unauthorised activity in relation to the operation and/or promotion of collective investment schemes - will seek injunctions and restitution for investors.
Mr Forster has given undertakings to the Court which have the effect of freezing his assets worldwide, pending judgment. The undertakings also prohibit the promotion of the scheme, and prevent any further sales of investments in the scheme.
The unauthorised schemes were established and operated by two of Mr Forster’s companies which are currently in administration - Qualia Care Developments Limited (QCD) and Qualia Care Properties Limited (QCP). Fortem Global Limited (FGL) was the main promoter of the schemes. None of the promotional material was approved by an authorised person.
Prior to the administrations, between them QCD and QCP owned 13 care homes in the North East of England. They sold, or claimed to sell, investments in rooms in these homes, as well as in a further 3 homes which were not owned by either QCD or QCP. A total of approximately £50 million has been invested across these homes since 2016.
A number of misleading statements and/or impressions were given to investors about the financial sustainability of the schemes. These included an unrealistic level of return of between 8% and 10% a year.
The FCA alleges that there was never any real prospect that the operation of the care homes could generate profits that could meet those returns. Payments of this kind were only ever likely to be possible by taking money from later investors to pay the earlier investors - unsustainable characteristics which are present in ponzi schemes.
Shortly before placing QCD and QCP into administration, Mr Forster moved £1.8 million, substantially all of their funds, into a newly established bank account in the name of Qualia Care Holdings Limited (QCH), leaving QCD and QCP without any funds.
The FCA also alleges that Mr Forster was knowingly concerned in the activities of QCD, QCP and FGL and that Mr Tasker, the sole Director of FGL, is knowingly concerned in the activities of FGL.
The FCA is seeking an injunction and a declaration from the High Court that the defendants’ actions amounted to unauthorised activity and will seek a restitution order to return funds to consumers who were affected by these alleged breaches.
Notes to editors
- The FCA has an overarching strategic objective of ensuring the relevant markets function well. To support this, it has three operational objectives: to secure an appropriate degree of protection for consumers; to protect and enhance the integrity of the UK financial system; and to promote effective competition in the interests of consumers.
- Most of the homes are operated by Qualia Care Limited (QCL). The FCA is not bringing a claim against QCL and does not believe that its proceedings should have any impact on the operation of the care homes. The FCA would like to thank the Care Quality Commission (the CQC) with whom it has liaised closely, to ensure that the residents of these homes continue to receive the care they need.
- Find out more information about the FCA.