The Harlequin Property scheme was an investment venture to build over 6000 hotel and rental properties in the Caribbean and other locations.
An estimated £400m was put in by 6000 investors, the large majority of which came through investors with SIPPS.
However, it’s been reported that only 300 of the proposed properties were actually built.
Harlequin Property is an example of SIPP mis-selling at its worst.
Starting with unregulated marketing companies cold calling people offering free pension reviews. Often employing high pressure sales tactics and downplaying the risks involved or inflating the returns, in order to persuade people to invest.
Not to mention the negligent financial advice some people received which saw them put their pension pots into a totally unsuitable investment scheme.
Many people transferred out of valuable final salary scheme pensions without knowing they were giving up some hard to replace benefits.
The Harlequin Group of companies included; Harlequin Properties (SVG) Ltd, Harlequin Luxury Hotels Ltd, Harlequin Resorts (St Lucia) Ltd, Harlequin Boutique Hotel (St Lucia) Ltd and Harlequin Properties (Caribbean) Ltd.
Some of the investment locations were:
Problems with Harlequin began to surface in 2013 with the Serious Fraud Office (SFO) looking into business conducted by the Harlequin group between 2010 and 2015.
In 2017 the SFO charged the chairman of the Harlequin Group – David Ames with 3 counts of Fraud by Abuse of Position. The trial was scheduled to begin in September 2020.
A case upheld by the FOS in 2016 against an adviser who had recommended his client invest £48,000 in Harlequin valued the investment at just £1.
In April 2019 it was reported that the FSCS had paid out £125m in compensation claims for around 2,700 complaints relating to Harlequin and expected to receive many more.
These complaints were regarding the suitability of the advice received to invest in Harlequin and not the performance of the investment itself.
The investment is now valued at NIL.
Whilst each case is individual, as mis-selling specialists we know to look for certain signs that in our experience indicate that mis-selling may have happened.
Our assessment is free and there’s absolutely no obligation to use our service if you have case.
You are not required to use our services to pursue your claim. You can also seek further advice or shop around subject to any time limits within which a claim must be made.
It is possible for you to present the claim for free, either to the firm or person against whom you wish to complain or to the statutory ombudsman (Financial Ombudsman Service or Pension Ombudsman Service) or the Financial Services Compensation Scheme, whichever is applicable to your claim.