Our second update this week for Harlequin Property investors as developments come thick and fast.
Freezing order made on personal assets of David & Carole Ames
David and Carol Ames, Chairman and Director of Harlequin Property have both had freezing orders served on their personal assets.
In a statement on the Harlequin Investor Board, Nikki Crozier of CPC Worldwide, one of the companies acting on behalf of Harlequin Investors, said: “At 8.27pm yesterday evening, a freezing order was served directly into the hands of Mrs C Ames and Mr D Ames at their residential address.”
Both David and Carol Ames can now content the order.
Responding to the move Gareth Fatchett of Regulatory Legal, who runs the Harlequin Investor Group, which represents a large group of investors, said: “The legal net is closing on Harlequin. The question is how much more can Harlequin take.”
Predicted £100 million bill for poor advice
Meanwhile Fatchett has predicted that the FSCS (Financial Services Compensation Scheme) will be left with a £100 million bill, following poor advice from Independent Financial Advisers (IFAs) in relation to Harlequin property.
Citywire reports that of the approximately 6,000 Harlequin Property investors, 3,000 invested a total of £150 million through IFAs. Speaking to Citywire, Fatchett said: “Most of the firms will struggle with the Ombudsman claims, and there’s a high chance that most of the 100 will default. The FSCS are looking at a good nine-figure sum.”
Many investments were made through SIPPs (Self-Invested Personal Pensions), Fatchett continued: “All of the pension (transfers) went through an adviser somewhere, just to sign off the pension transfer. All the pension transfers advice is regulated. I don’t know how the FSCS will wriggle out of it.”
Administration: contrary advice
Investors have received conflicting advice and information following the Administration of Harlequin Management Services (South East) (HMSSE), which was trading as Harlequin Property.
In an email from Harlequin Hotels and Resort: “There appears to have been some unhelpful speculation lately, so we wanted to provide a short update on a few areas.”
The email continued: “To be clear, investors do not need to take any action following Harlequin Property entering administration. Investors’ contracts are with an overseas resort development company, not Harlequin Property, which is the primary sales agent for Harlequin Hotels & Resorts. The same applies to cancellations and information to the contrary is incorrect.”
However, Regulatory Legal, have responded: “Since the company went into administration investors have been left confused whether or not they should be submitting a claim as a creditor of the company. Whilst investors contracts to purchase property were with overseas companies it appears funds were paid by many through HMSSE, leaving investors unsure as to whether they are creditors of the firm in administration.”
“It is very sad that investors who stand to lose significant parts of their investments are being encouraged not to take part in the insolvency process running with Harlequin Management Services (South East) Limited. Our colleagues at Pannone LLP (solicitors) are advising that all investors lodge Proof of Debt forms. We advise the same. Counsel we have spoken to advice a cautious approach is best adopted by lodging the forms.”
Are you a Harlequin Property investor?
If you are a Harlequin Property investor you will naturally be concerned about the recent developments. The investors we have spoken to have had mixed emotions, however all have wanted to take some form of action.
We would recommend that Harlequin investors continue to monitor the situation whilst completing the Harlequin Property Serious Fraud Office questionnaire , which can be found by clicking here and also visit the website set up by Regulatory Legal: www.harlequininvestorgroup.co.uk/ for more news.
You can also contact our team of Independent Financial Advisers on 0115 933 8433, alternatively enquire online or email email@example.com