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FSA puts UK landbanking firm into administration

The FSA has asked the High Court to wind up a large UK ‘landbanking’ company for operating as an illegal collective investment scheme.

The regulator has been granted an interim freezing and restraining order against UKLI Limited to protect its assets for creditors, including investors.

The firm advertised and sold plots of land to people by claiming that it could get planning permission for the land, which would increase in value and make investors a large profit once it was sold to a developer.

The FSA says that 4,500 investors paid UKLI £69 million to buy the land. It claims that none of the land sold was ever granted planning permission.

As UKLI operated as a CIS it should have been authorised by the FSA. Its investors are therefore not entitled to make a complaint to the Financial Ombudsman Service or to claim compensation from the Financial Services Compensation Scheme.

Lee Manning and Carlton Siddle at Deloitte have been appointed as joint administrators of UKLI.

FSA head of retail enforcement Jonathan Phelan says: “People invest to provide a better life for themselves and their families. The FSA will not hesitate to pursue companies like UKLI which offer unauthorised and illegal services which put such investments at unnecessary risk.

“We will continue to do everything possible to keep people safe from illegal schemes that deny them their right to complain and get compensation when things go wrong.

“Our action, against UKLI, should serve as a warning to other companies that might be breaking the law in this way.”

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