If you decide to invest your pension funds through a SIPP (a self-invested personal pension), then you have a lot more control over where your money goes.
That might be a good thing – you are free to invest where you see fit, and you aren't tied into your provider's own investment portfolios. But it comes with risks if you choose a fund that is hard to then cash out from, especially when the Financial Conduct Authority does not regulate that fun.
Many UK customers have invested in The Resort Group (TRG) and found that they are now struggling to get back the money they put in. Those customers may be able to claim for mis-sold pensions.
Many UK customers have had such issues when investing in property in Cape Verde – read on to learn more or get advice if you are one such pension customer.
We update all our guides regularly. If you are researching pension fraud and we haven't got an exact guide that helps you, keep coming back as we update daily.
The Resort Group (TRG) offered customers the chance to invest in a holiday property in Cape Verde – primarily the Llana Beach Hotel and the Dunas Beach Resort.
The promised potential returns were outstanding – up to 10% a year.
When launched as The Resort Group PLC in Gibraltar, the company began offering investments into these two properties through various independent financial advisors (IFAs) and other pension providers in the UK.
However, there were a number of factors that meant that these were unsuitable products that most people should have avoided.
While some of the investments made in The Resort Group (TRG) were classed as 'direct' (i.e. the investor directly owned a room/hotel/piece of land), most of them are 'fractional' holdings.
This means that the investor would invest indirectly in a dormant country. Therefore, they would technically own fractions of rooms/land.
When they invested, most customers didn't realise that to see a return on their money; they would have to personally take responsibility for the sale of the property – the second issue.
So now, customers own only fractions of rooms or land that are much more difficult to sell (because very few buyers want to own a fraction of a hotel room).
Even if they could find a buyer, they weren't aware they had to arrange the sale with all the lawyers, property agents and other associated property selling costs themselves.
Robert Jarrett founded the Resort Group Cape Verde in 2007, who serves as Executive Chairman. Charlie King is the current COO. The group's first resort, Tortuga Beach, opening in 2011, followed by Dunas Beach Resort and Spa in 2014.
The Resort Group (TRG) has not declared it is in financial trouble despite the issues with investors struggling to reclaim their funds. However, it is heavily scrutinised and investigated due to financial irregularities.
As of 2017, the company still planned on building a further ten resorts. However, in November 2020, the group posted a message to their website stating that they understood investors' frustrations at the lack of information available, and were working with the Cape Verde government.
The Resort Group (TRG) is still trading despite the issues with investors' money. Because it is unregulated and still trading, the Financial Services Compensation Scheme technically does not cover claims.
However, the FSCS has agreed to accept claims against UK-regulated advisers who recommended the scheme.
You were mis-sold your Resort Group investments if you were not given all the information about the holiday resorts and how you would go about getting your money back.
Advisers should tell you everything about your pension investments, including the likelihood of returns and spelling out exactly what you are investing in.
If your adviser did not make it clear what you were investing in – in the case of The Resort Group, only fractions of hotel rooms – then they have mis-sold you your pension investments, and you can make a claim through the Financial Services Compensation Scheme.
You can also report them to the Financial Conduct Authority and the Financial Ombudsman Service.
Some firms that have already had action taken against them include First Review Pension Services, Active Wealth UK Limited and Blue Ocean Financial Services.
They were known for exploiting social media features to target potential investors illegally.
You absolutely can still make a claim for mis-sold pension investments.
Investors are sometimes told that they are time-barred, based on rules which state you can only make a claim up to six years after your investment or three years after you became aware you'd been mis-sold.
While these rules do exist, there are many exceptions, so it is always worth making a claim.
That does not mean it is guaranteed to be successful. However, you should gather as much evidence as possible in order to give yourself the best chance of success.
The FSCS still does offer payouts on pension claims made after the three or six-year periods.
The amount of compensation you can claim for a mis-sold pension varies, depending on the size of your investments and the circumstances around the claim.
The average successful claim for private pensions is £25,000.
However, any individual is entitled to a maximum of £85,000, so if you've invested even more money with your SIPP provider, you could see a much bigger compensation payout.
Even though there is a defined regulatory compensation process, the system will not necessarily look at the wider picture when it comes to your investments.
This is why more and more people are looking towards claims management companies to pursue compensation as a consequence of negligence.
The Cape Verde situation is a perfect example where many pension fund investors were advised to invest in the Cape Verde project.
Consequently, it is unclear as to whether some investors own a direct element of the project or a fraction of the project. Again, a claims management company can help to untangle this mess of an investment with the FSCS.
Here at Money Savings Advice, we have partnered with some of the UK’s leading Financial Claims management companies. They have already helped thousands of people claim compensation for a mis-sold pension and they can do the same for you.
Choosing an independent claims management company means they won’t proceed with a claim unless they are sure it is in your best interests. They are also regulated by the FCA, which gives you an additional layer of protection.
If you would like to speak to one of these claim management companies who can help you make a compensation claim, then click on the below and answer the very simple questions.
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Money Savings Advice is a trading name of RMM Digital Publishing Ltd. Registered trading address, First Floor, 85 Great Portland Street, London, W1W 7LT. Trading in England and Wales, company number 11550143 with data protection number ZA747669.
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