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Harlequin files for administration

Directors of unregulated overseas property firm Harlequin Property have begun the process of putting the company into administration.

Director Carol Ames filed a notice of intention to appoint an administrator with the Royal Courts of Justice in London last week. The notice was filed under the name Harlequin Management Services (South East), which trades as Harlequin Property.

The document sets out that Anthony Davidson and Stephen Ryman of Shipleys are to be appointed as the administrators.

An “interim moratorium” is now in place which prevents legal action being taken against the company.

The collapse of Harlequin, which marketed and built luxury off-plan developments in the Caribbean and elsewhere, comes after the Serious Fraud Office began an investigation into the firm last month.

Also last month, the FSA wrote to Sipp operators requesting information on members who had invested in Harlequin, and limited the disposal of assets by former Harlequin distributor Tailormade Independent. Tailormade has also been prevented from carrying out new pensions business.

The regulator issued an alert in January saying it had seen an increasing number of Sipps with underlying property investments bought through Harlequin.

Essential IFA managing director Peter Herd says: “The regulator should have taken reported concerns about Harlequin seriously. I feel sorry for the investors.”

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Comments

There are 6 comments at the moment, we would love to hear your opinion too.

  1. Dermot O'Logical 23rd April 2013 at 1:45 pm

    Prepare to get your wallets out.

  2. The people I feel sorry for are the investors as they have been misled.

    Financial services should use this as a test case to review the regulator activity or should I say lack of activity, as I for one have a number of questions I would like to have answers to.

    Why did it take so long for the regulator to act or to give warnings? After all I know that I was not the only adviser to report this and my report goes back to 2009 and 2010.

    Why did the regulator not take seriously adviser concerns about marketing?

    Why did the Inland Revenue not make clearer rulings in regards to taxable property enquires? When you asked revenue for an opinion on something they just refer you back to taxable property rules.

    Why was a declared bankrupt David Ames allowed to hold a senior position within a company that markets an investment opportunity directly at pensions without holding authorisation?

    Finally if there is an internal investigation within the regulator for its part in this potential scandal will let report be published or will it be wrapped up in secrecy like so many other investigations.

  3. Is there anything stopping Ames from heading off to the caribbean with whatever is left?

  4. Its not just the director who should be brought to heel its all the so called advisers who have made a packet at the expense of the poor investor who has been duped into getting involved in this scheme.

  5. Can anyone answer me these questions

    Has Harlequin been charged with anything?
    If SFO has a suspicion about any company, they have to investigate. Does that make them guilty?
    Harlequin went to court not long ago. Do you think if there was a big problem with Harlequin do you think the court would have done something about it?

    My god, If the Media and public get a hint of anything that might be suspicious, doesn’t make a company guilty does it. Just sells papers and spread bad publicity.

    If your neighbor said you murdered someone doesn’t make you guilty does it!!!

    I have bough a property myself with Harlequin and im really P!$$£d off about all the gossip that’s going round. Don’t the investors themselves realize that they may have shot themselves in the foot (and everyone else involved) if this was a completely legit.

    People are so stupid to listen to the news. Open your eyes and look through the trees people.

    M

  6. Flawed compensation system 24th April 2013 at 8:14 am

    Whatever the specifics of this are, I just dont understand why any misselling of something like this falls (as no doubt it will) to the IFA sector to recompense. Having had a quick glance at the Harlequin site and articles/blogs in the Carribean, it seems madness to me that “advice” on something like this is ever protected in the same away as conventional mainstream investments. If advice on this type of thing is covered then why isnt a timeshare sale covered? Or a car? Or a herd of cattle? What if Id decided that infant baby milk was a great investment 6 months ago (which it now appears it was!) – should that advice be covered too??
    The FSCS system is so deeply flawed that it needs root and branch overhaul. FSA authorised “salesmen” (for surely that is what they were at apparently 30% commission!!) for this product and others like it probably use the FSCS compensation scheme as part of the alluring presentation – “buy this and if it goes wrong youll still be covered by the FSCS…etc” so it creates a self perpetuating problem.
    The FCA should have to “authorise” products on which advice will fall within the FSCS compensation scheme and then any “authorised” adviser who recommends a product that is unauthorised should NOT have their advice covered and this should be made clear to clients – and if its not made clear and provably so, then the authorised adviser should become liable personally for any claims and face criminal charges for fraudulent misrepresentation. That would mean that properties like this could only be sold by Harlequin salesman who couldnt therefore pass themselves off as authorised advisers, which is how it should be. The system and regulatory rules make it all too easy for this type of thing to happen and somone bright over in Docklands should recognise it and ACT!!!

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