Hope for some Harlequin victims? Investment victims’ lawyer going after Harlequin agents who misled about protection of funds

Harlequin & David Ames: Knew sales agents were lying to investors.

Harlequin & David Ames: Knew sales agents were lying to investors.

“After learning that some of his agents were misleading investors, did Ames and Harlequin take steps to alert investors? Now there is a question.”

Some agents and financial advisers selling Harlequin Property pre-March 2009 were telling clients that their investments were protected in a solicitor’s client account. This according to the UK law office representing a group of disgruntled Harlequin investors.

Gareth Fatchett... Pit Bull, lawyer or both?

Gareth Fatchett… Pit Bull, lawyer or both?

Talking to Barbados Free Press, Gareth Fatchett of Regulatory Legal Solicitors explained “It is clear that Harlequin identified instances where agents were telling people that a solicitors client account was being used to protect their monies.“

Mr. Fatchett also provided a clue that his law office intends to go after agents who lied to prospective investors, saying, “Many agents think that by using a limited company they can absolve themselves personally of any liability for a statement made either fraudulently or recklessly. It is clear that some agents / financial advisers made statements which were plainly untrue.  English law makes provision for limited liability protection to be removed when grossly reckless statements are made.”

Regulatory Legal Solicitors are reviewing advice files for investors who are concerned that they have been misled by agents. Mr. Fatchett is also looking closely at advice given by advisers, financial advisers and pension advisers.

Dave Ames and Harlequin knew agents were misleading prospective investors!

In a March 24, 2009 “Policy Statement”  from Harlequin to agents, Dave Ames told his agents to stop the practice, saying “I am aware that some agents have been suggesting to investors that we do ring fence the payments and this has to stop immediately to avoid investors being misled.” and “It is also not true to say that investors’ money is held in a solicitor’s client account.” (PDF of Ames’ statement here)

While it is shocking is that Harlequin’s Dave Ames was apparently aware that some of his agents were misleading investors, the natural question is: What did Ames do after learning of the lies? After learning that some of his agents were misleading investors, did Ames and Harlequin take steps to alert investors? Now there is a question!

No reply from Harlequin or Dave Ames   

Barbados Free Press contacted Harlequin’s UK office and asked whether, upon learning that investors had been deceived, Ames and Harlequin informed old and new investors to ensure that they knew the truth. As of press time we have not had a reply. We’ll certainly publish any statement from Mr. Ames or Harlequin as we have done before.

Lawyer Gareth Fatchett had no problem speaking with BFP though, saying “It is clear that Harlequin identified instances where agents were telling people that a solicitors client account was being used to protect their monies.”

Something tells us that Mr. Fatchett is right, that Harlequin agents lied to prospective investors, that Harlequin and Ames knew about it and that the involved agents might be on the hook personally even if they operated under a corporation.

What’s that smell?

Tis the smell of fear, horror and realisation by dozens of Harlequin agents that they might be personally accountable, and that Mr. Fatchett and other lawyers have them squarely in their legal cross-hairs. Victims of the Harlequin pyramid scheme just might have some options that they haven’t considered.

Next in the Harlequin series at BFP… 

Gareth Fatchett: Pit bull, lawyer or both?

As lawyers go, Regulatory Legal Solicitors’ Gareth Fatchett is young – but he’s no upstart… and Harlequin victims aren’t his first clients. Is he a champion of the little guy, a predator – or a hardworking lawyer who does the best he can in his special area of legal practice? Barbados Free Press will be looking at Mr. Fatchett’s successes, failures and legal style in a future article.

Do you know something about Mr. Fatchett? Do you have an opinion? Let us know via email at barbadosfreepress@yahoo.com or through the contact page here at BFP.


Filed under Barbados, Barbados Tourism, Business & Banking

74 responses to “Hope for some Harlequin victims? Investment victims’ lawyer going after Harlequin agents who misled about protection of funds

  1. Regulatory Legal Solicitors

    If 42 is young, I will take that.

  2. C Brian Barnes

    I hope Mr Alair Shepherd QC takes a few pages out of Mr Fatchett’s book as I was personally assured by an executive and Sales rep of BALICO that everything was safe and above board! I am sure there are other BALICO and CLICO policy holders with similar experience

  3. Gingerbread Girl

    A Pyramid Ponzi Scheme.

  4. 158

    He is like a dog with a bone!

  5. hmmm, maybe I need to think again

    You go reel em in Mr Fatchett

  6. Canuck

    Looks like Fatchetts bottles gone!

  7. Swill

    I happen to think Mr Fatchet is right in his assumption that advisors did not undertake much verification work in this case. However, cases against finance companies and in particular insurance companies are won on evidence not what is right or wrong. Is this not like negligence cases? Proving duty of care? Proving it was breached not just that things went wrong. Then reasonably foreseeable quantified damages. All sounds just and right but my experience in this field is a long and costly road to tread. This is surely not like PPI insurance where large banks provisioned many hundreds of millions to meet claims. The beloved IFA community are likely to go into liquidation. Further proof will doubtless be required to prove that the Advisor should have personal,liability.
    To me it is clear that the advisors recommended this product given the level of commission paid. Is this really news to any of us. I suspected this of these kind of people 30 years ago. I wish Mr Fatchett success in this case as I am sure he is right about these advisors. I doubt however that this will result in a real return of any investment given the vast legal costs that will doubtless be incurred and the way in which these people will use insolvency solutions to their problems. Perhaps someone should suggest that harlequin make Mr Fatchett their investor relation firm and allow his open approach to liaise with its investors in an independent way but work a level of control over Harlequin plans to bring confidence where it has been lost. He is clearly more effecient in communicating with investors than Harlequin themselves. In other words do a deal to protect investment made rather than a lengthy and doubtless costly litigation process which I presume would result in Harlequins failure in order to quantify the extent of financial,losses? Maybe something like this is Mr Fatchett,s plan in any event.

  8. john Delhirro

    Wow now we are talking .I was on the phone with Coast to coast 3months ago and this Guy Antoni who is the owner is telling me what a great investment BB is can you believe this guy and of course he has no idea why I made that call let him sweat more than he already is

  9. Sam Spade

    Other than Tailormade wont anyone else who may feel they could be implicated in future legal action be tempted to liquidate assets? I know its not as easy as that if anything is proven in court.Dont hold your breath on the SFO but HMRC will go in to get anything they feel they are owed,regardless of any rescue plan.Also the only way I would imagine of taking control of BB is from SVG govt. or someone who can give title.The tactic of wait and see indicates deals with HP ,best of luck with that.Im up to invest with BB but to buy it of HP?? DD would be interesting.Not being in any way knowing all the facts its hard to say,but this trust me Im a lawyer is fine ,and I do ,but we are dealing with a group of people who have ,trust me im a developer/IFA/agent etc given to them,I take my hat of to Erica,she must feel like giving up,I hope not.How do you sort out this lot ,I know some people claim to have title on parts of BB that will have to sorted in any future deal . The FSA have been warned of problems that were brewing on this years ago .they need to explain why the actions they have taken so far seem to be to little to late ,and AIPP? could they have asked questions of companies ? I am asking .But I have to say the last thing this needs are deals struck behind closed doors with everyone claiming to have won, I believe these investors need know (thats ALL investors} whats going on

  10. Sam Spade. I agree. Yet another sleepless night worrying after what seemed like a glimmer of hope. I didn’t expect an overnight solution but I did expect answers to e-mails and questions from RL. As we have invested through a SIPP and our contract has not yet been breached we had decided to sit it out and wait until it had. However all this talk of act immediately, get your letter of intent done etc. changed our minds. Not sure who we can trust now. The only person who I think is genuinly on our side is Erica. Well done and keep it up. (your good friend!!)

  11. Crazy Horse

    I think that Gareth Fatchett is the right person to represent the investors, and i truly hope he can get their investment back before HP goes bust.

  12. Anonymous55

    The original PowerPoint presentation that I saw in 2007 and was given to agents to use DID state that funds were held in escrow. At some point in 2008/2009 this did change. Perhaps someone has the original PowerPoint presentation??? And also the update/email from harlequin as to when the decision not to be held in escrow was announced??

  13. Getting more worried by the day

    I would also like to see a copy of the early presentations if they are available?

  14. h

    invest5star are back on line selling harlequin ,endorsed by Phil Spencer

  15. h

    invest5star platinum that is

  16. simon

    As an agents selling Harlequin in 2007/8–I can confirm the Harlequin where telling agents the clients monies where held in separate ESCROW accounts regarding each development- In fact this was a common question from investors.

    The idea that agents from all across the country would just come up with this is ridiculous -and rather disingenuous, it came from Harlequin. Not just in emails but in training session they held for agents.

  17. Anonymous55

    @simon. Agree the original presentation/training/PowerPoint I saw in 2007 did. say this and maybe clients prior to this change were protected and hence why some have got refunds. However, this was changed and certainly advisers could see from the contracts that monies were not ring fenced at all AND the slightest bit of DD would have shown that this was high risk, not regulated, no protection, no planning, existing contracts already breached, insufficient finance to build, no eia, no cost projections to build, etc etc etc. reality check they were offering bmv over 7 yrs ago, have constantly increased the purchase price of units, still advertising as BMW on most resorts yet in the main no planning, no builds, no accounts to prove viable profits. The true value of any built units was only EVER going to be based on rental yield as who would pay over the odds for a property you cannot live in that was not returning a profitable rental yield.

  18. simon

    @anonymous55….As I recall contracts seemed to change often.
    I also recall that we were given evidence of land ownership and planning etc—-one client even went into detail regarding building materials and Harlequin supplied the information.

    As to due diligence, property and rental comparable’s were supplied by Harlequin, at the time I believe they where consistent with contemporary properties…we did check—and also gave all this information to clients to check for themselves also.

    Also there was a break down of build cost on contracts around this time as I recall…i.e a further payment on foundation laying , roof, second fix, completion etc—which were meant to roll into some sort of 100% mortgage.

    also around this time–2007/2008 most sellers of Harlequin were agents not advisors… we where supplied with a great deal of information from Harlequin,, we did do due diligence ( in hindsight possibly not enough), but again we acted as agents, not financial advisors or legal experts and always went to great pains to get this across.

    We also went to visit the resorts, or should I say plots.. We had no reason at this time not to believe the resorts wouldn’t be built and be a success.

    I am not trying to offer excuses ..just trying to add some context from an agent at the time 2007/8

  19. Erica Broughton

    I remember being told we would all get a Bank of Harlequin cheque book and cash card to withdraw our income from

  20. Anonymous55

    @ Simon. Yes, lots of information and yes lots of changes along the way. As I recall the original plan was not to be ai and projections were on room rates only . H were going to make their profit from the peripherals and their share of the room rate. Apart from BB the only planning I saw was outline. And yes the figures looked good. However as an agent I agree you may have done as much DD as you could. Hindsight is a wonderful thing. Not having a dig at you or anyone specifically but IMHO ifa’s and fs companies should have carried out far more DD.

  21. just want to know

    I wish someone will go after CLICO as they have done with this company!!!!!

  22. Gingerbread Girl

    That all folkes. The Harlequin cartoon is over. It was brought to you by Mickey & Minnie Mouse-Ames.

  23. simon

    I didn’t think you were having a dig at me,
    just trying to recall things—there was also a company in Manchester–Birchall Blackburn–who offered their services –overseas conveyancing and legal work–to harlequin clients…we gave our clients their details if they wanted to instruct a UK solicitor. I would think if they acted on behalf of Harlequin clients they would have a number of copies of early contracts

    I would agree with you that some ifa’s have a few things to answer, also sipp
    providers and possibly agents too

  24. 158

    lo oks like he is the only lawer who knows wot is going on …dont see any other comin forward

  25. Dude

    The money is gone and why on earth spend more to find out what really happened? Sorry to be so blunt yet you all got done, you are not the first and you will not be the last. My suggestion is get on with your life and learn something from it.

    Any lawyer that indicates they can get anything back for you will just be milking the cow so to speak.

    I am not involved in this, to be honest I know nothing about the situation yet seem these scams going off year after year all over the place, all that is new is the next group of investors about to loose their shirts.

    Too good to be true normally is, don’t get involved in anything you don’t fully understand and due diligence is the key.

    Whether or not you were told this or that by some agent or whoever at the end of the day no one forced you to write a cheque.

    That is why these guys and these companies always are able to take the money and run, you have no protection and no one can actually help when it all goes pear shaped.

  26. 95

    I assume the last poster is a legal expert as well as an accountant, and has information to back up these rarther silly comments

  27. Dude

    What is silly regarding those comments? Good money after bad, legal expert, accountant what exactly does that have to do with anything. You got done, you can get a team of forensic accountants and the best lawyers in the world. It will cost you millions and where is the money?

    Does anyone have any idea where the funds went? Which global banking hub? Then probably transferred to numerous other accounts, washed here and there all over the shop.

    Even if by some chance you found it you would be battling for years trying to get anything sorted, offshore jurisdictions and the list goes on and on. Lets just say the funds are onshore you can bet your bottom dollar that some locals, politicians and the rest will have it all sewn up so you cannot get anything anyway.

    And your telling me I am writing silly comments. What I am writing is the truth, and that is the issue. You don’t want to be told walk away and get on with your life.

    I lost money on my first stock transaction it was a scam, and at the time it was a lot to me. Yet I learnt from it, and all I am trying to say is don’t waste anymore of your life or money on something like this as you will get nowhere.

    Lawyers will tell you anything you wish to hear in a case like this and all you will be paying for what they are telling you.

  28. Regulatory Legal Solicitors


    remember much of the money came via regulated advice. So the investment itself is not the only redress route.

    Agents, IFA’s, auditors, SIPPs to name 4. UK standards applied.

    Silly suggestion to just write off and move on. Most people have got a redress option.

  29. 95

    as I said silly comments, you dont know what you are talking about, butt out

  30. 174

    I can see that the agents and IFA’s, who sold and advised on the product and took huge commissions might be culpable and hence a possible source but why the auditors – I thought there weren’t any audited accounts so how could it be their fault? Also why the SIPP Providers? They didn’t sell or advise on it (as far as I know) and as I understand it the pension rules allowed people to invest via a SIPP. Why would it be their fault if the investment goes pear?

  31. anon

    @canuck who at harlequin told u no more monthly payments would b made. I knew missed months wldnt b made up but thought they may start again with normal payments.

  32. hmmm, maybe I need to think again

    Whatever this turns out to be ponzi scheme, robbery or fraud…whatever…..I cant seen investors will see much money returned…look at previous cases…how much of the stolen money got found and given back

    Hopefully smarmy looking AMes and the rest of the familly who were/are involved will go to jail…..but that wont get the dosh back

    Its gonna be gone, spent , hidden

    the curtain is about to come down

    thats all folks

  33. perplexed

    @hmmm : That’s the cunundrum of the entire situation. If lawyers,
    either in-house or retained are still on the HD payroll then there has to
    be money somewhere. From what I know of the profession they do
    NOTHING until they are assured of payment. They don’t seem to work on
    “contingency fees in the rsUK”. The only question is if there is -how much, and the law needs to step in and equitably distribute it. Of course they
    have to find it first

  34. yatinkiteasy

    some history to read here…Its hard to believe this has been going on for so long, and only now Investors are panicking.

  35. Mark Fenty

    @ Yatinkiteasy
    Your recent discovery only echoes the level of absurdity of a group of individuals,who relied on empty phrases that paid homepage to lip-service.

  36. Anon - reasons unknown


  37. 241

    Crazy to think people were still buying recently despite there being so much in the public domain demonstrating what a con harlequin is. Upsetting to see so many people stuck with mortgages they cannot pay, but people have been warning others about harlequin for many years. Should have been stopped in 2006.

  38. Mark Fenty

    I really appreciate your watchful eye and supportive presence, I actually meant Homage. But, my phone somehow converted it automatically to Homepage, which is word by the way.

  39. Dude

    I have been told I am silly, I don’t know what I am on about and most recently to just butt out. I will therefore fall on my sword and leave this thread.
    BUT I can only do it after doing one thing……………and that thing is giving Free Financial Advice. Yes you heard it free financial advice, you can hand this down to your children and their children and on and on 🙂
    Firstly never invest funds in anything you cannot afford to lose 100% of. Next never borrow money to invest, never invest in anything you don’t understand. Pretty standard stuff, but wait there is more…..
    Now the final point is a little more complex and it requires somewhat of a history lesson. In the times of the Wild West you would have individuals moving from town to town selling elixirs that can fix anything. “Snake charmers” they were routinely called.
    This species slowly evolved to what we now call “Extractormus Maximous”, this species normally is found in watering holes globally whereas congregations of 4 or more expats normally drink. They sit and wait and are devastating to their potential victims.
    To most of you their common name is very well known………………”Financial Advisor”
    No matter what you may or may not think of US, UK or European bankers, the above species has caused more devastation than all the bankers combined. The above bankers do not get on a plane and fly to little islands and extract the last $500 out of a pair of pensioners selling them insurance or funds or whatever just so they can get a commission.
    They all have 3 letter credentials at the end of their names and are all of course certified in some form, yet that means little. They cause nothing but destruction on a family and at an individual level. They will sell anything to anyone and even help you get loans to buy the crap they peddle. They have no risk as they get annuity streams from everything they sell. You can throw the mortgage brokers in as well; they would lend you anything to sell more mortgages.
    This species never lose anything because they never invest in anything; ask the next one that tries to sell you something what their exposure is to that instrument they are trying to sell you is ? They will quickly give you a multitude of reasons why they cannot invest in something (their funds are tired up, conflict of interest the list goes on) yet the bottom line is they know what they are pushing. If they do not wish to divulge that information then ask them for their last 5 year financials, they are a financial advisor so they should be doing very well one would think. They will not give you those details either, if they do contact me as I want a photograph as I don’t think one ahs ever been photographed in the wild 🙂
    The simple point is a good financial advisor does not work as a financial advisor, they do what all good financial advisors do and they trade their own assets and do a Hans Gruber (Die Hard… “We will be on the beach earning 20%”. You have to say it with a German accent to get the full effect 🙂 )
    As some of you have pointed out in above posts you have no recourse against these guys for steering you into this mess, I am sure they got their commission. Unfortunately you do actually have to take some of the blame as they never held a gun to your head. Yet if they were forced to actually be accountable for the crap they push their numbers would drop overnight.
    All over the world people with money listen to people with no money, I have never to this day figured that one out. Billionaires listen to private bankers (private wankers as I like to call them). Monaco for instance PB who make 150k per year are telling someone with billions what to do with their money. The bigger issue is the billionaires are listening so don’t think you’re the only ones losing cash. .
    You want to risk you funds in any asset class, then do your research and take control of your finances. You don’t go and climb a mountain before learning to climb. If you think you can sit back and others will happily manage your funds with no risk to you and everything is groovy you living in “Wonkerland”
    As said above, bankers really don’t care for this, the simple fact is they don’t really loose anything. They can write losses off, carry forward, repackage, create new securities, create land banks, CDO’s, CDS’s and the list goes on. The simple point is they have no interest in screwing pensioners over. Why you ask (this may sound brutal) the simple answer is because there is not enough cash in it.
    The financial meltdown of late 2009 started in 2002 when people borrowed more and more, schoolteachers became property developers; everyone got caught up in the rush for riches. As Gordon Gekko said so famously “Greed is Good”, well it is not really.
    Everyone wanted it all and they wanted it now, now what is happening is they are just paying for it.
    And for those who will quickly say I have been jaded by a Financial Advisor in the past, well for the record I have never used nor would ever use one. I have just lived in too many countries and heard the same thing over and over from people that have lost money.

    Well done Webber in the F1, you were robbed.

  40. 183

    There’s some logic in the first bit of this, and then a load of nonsense. A quick survey of the leading IFA sites makes it fairly clear that most IFAs are very annoyed about this whole thing. It’s a highly regulated industry, where customers — assuming that they go to a regulated adviser — have a very sturdy route to recourse if things go wrong. Compliance is a huge deal. Since the RDR came into effect this year, it is very difficult for advisers to attempt to chase commission (if credible individuals and firms ever did) — and full professional qualifications are mandatory. Proper advisers pay huge insurance premiums and all contribute to the FSCS. Proper IFAs shouldn’t all be tarred with the same brush; to do so is grossly unfair and inaccurate.

  41. 75


    March 23, 2013 at 7:04 pm
    The SIPP companies are at fault, because they are the trustees of the fund and should have done DD on Harlequin, they did not, why who knows, if they did their job we would not have been allowed to invest.

  42. 75

    too much waffle, no substance good bye

  43. Eddie Lizzard2

    These were unregulated investments, sold by unregulated individuals and firms and in some cases downright lying amateurs who have ‘trousered’ a great deal of money in commissions. The scheme was deliberately and cynically aimed at unsophisticated investors who in the main did not understand just how risky it was and there is no regulatory body to fall back on if/when the investment goes badly wrong. It is only since the RDR came into effect earlier this year that concerns were raised amongst investors themselves despite others trying to warn them for years. That and the fact that Carter-Ruck couldn’t keep the lid on it any longer.

    Any of you contemplating putting cash into buying a ‘freehold’ unit on a resort that hasn’t returned a profit and is almost empty in high season should seek proper legal advice from a solicitor. Remember it is not a holiday home or a villa – all it is a hotel room and its resale value is vastly inflated and immaterial. What are you going to do if the management company does fail? How are you going to rent your unit out? There is enough information out in the public domain now to help you make an informed decision. Don’t believe what these property spivs tell you. YOU are solely responsible for DD so get legal advice or you deserve to lose your money, after all no one is forcing you to sign that contract.

    I beg you not to throw good money after bad.

  44. 75

    Thinks when BB goes bust what happens to your hotel room then? its not a holiday home as EL2 rightly points out…. and wont be worth anything like you paid for it

  45. We have not posted recently for several reasons, it seems to bring out the HP supporters and trolls, this is not productive nor pleasant.

    We will keep our posts to a minimum, when we do try and make the posts informative and helpful, rather than getting into pointless rhetoric.

    This link is one of the things we have been working on with Regulatory legal & Pannone LLP:


    More will follow in the near future.

  46. J chalmers

    So the eagerly anticipated Panorama programme was cancelled I wonder why.

  47. Swill

    How does bringing Harlequin down help investors? It is clear funds are not there given missed finance payments. All bringing it down will mean is what assets that are there will be acquired by others at discounted rates who will profit from investors pain. Appoint a representative to Liaise with harlequin and demand information and future plans and direct policy as you would want. Whatever that may be that will surely produce greater returns on the asset values than it’s closure. Negotiation to achieve ones objective is always preferable to litigation where the only real winners are those professionals engaged in the process.

  48. 113

    Has anyone tried to call Harlequin recently? after several attempts I eventually got through . I asked the reason why it was so hard to get through to the sales guy who answered the phone . He informed me that they had got rid of 15 staff and that they will no longer be making any finance payments going forward.
    Has anyone got any idea how I go along the legal route to get my money back ?

  49. Fatchett does not represent me.

    @113, yeah right, I’m sure that is going to be said to you over the phone. I got through yesterday no problem. And why post the same thing on every thread you can find? Repetition gets very boring.

  50. 113

    I wasn’t sure which thread to post it in. I didn’t want to start a new thread.
    I just found it very concerning. When you contact them , could you see if you can get a different answer then please? As I would love for you to be correct and for me to start getting my payments. It wasn’t aimed to scare people , it was a query for help .

  51. 138

    Anon, don’t mind fdnrm, he won’t hear a bad word about harlequin.

  52. 113

    it does seem that way , I have only just joined the forum. But assume he/she works direct with Harlequin . After searching the internet , it doesn’t take long to put a picture together with the facts , not speculation.

  53. Short Legs

    Harlequin have lost some staff its a fact….. and I don’t care they deserve it

  54. Dude

    It seems strange that so many on this thread that got stuck in this situation seem to think they are owed something? I have commented before on this strange phenomenon, you invested simple. Investments carry risk, so if everything went ok and there were no issues you have no complaints. Yet it all went belly up and you lost you investment, so now you are all saying it is not fair and you deserve this and that and yet it was all your own fault, you were greedy………simple as that.
    It seems these days more and more people want to be protected from themselves, things go bad it is not your fault. Someone has to help you out of this, it is not fair, it was a scam, bah bah bah.
    Your responsibility it is that simple. Whether or not this was all a scam is a mute point at this stage, the cash is gone, you can spend more trying to find it and only to be scammed again by people telling you they can help.
    These scams happen at a rate of probably 1000’s per year all over the place and the only reason they keep happening is because stupid people keep buying into them.
    No one wants to accept the fact that they were stupid investing in this crap, so keep posting pointless threads about how you going to get some results doing this or that or someone said this…………
    walk away and just get on with your life and hopefully you will stop this next round of scammers doing the same thing.

  55. 228

    Dunce – IFAs were paid good money to do this on their clients behalf and failed to do so – many advising this was a low risk investment.
    Your either dumb or don’t understand the real issue anyway your here to wind up so the best thing for you is to piss off!

  56. yatinkiteasy

    Nice place for rent…it is even painted in Harlequins colours (to match the planes)

  57. Dude

    Made comments about IFA before in the forums as well, there is no such thing as a good IFA. Simple as that, if they were any good they would not be an IFA, why would you manage other people money if you were great at managing money?????? If you need an IFA to steer you into crap investments like this then you deserve to loose you funds.

    There is no such thing in the big wide world of finance and investing as a “Low Risk Investment”. Greed and stupidity lost a lot of people money, not the first time and definitely not the last.

    All I am trying to get across is walk away, there is nothing yet more grief and loss waiting if you think your going to achieve anything from all this.
    Unfortunately life teaches lessons some good, the majority bad.

  58. Anon73

    Dude, in part fair but harsh points. On the flip side, the impression in the UK is that IFAs are regulated and therefore supposed to do due dilligence on products they sell, and investors were paying them for these services. If someone has a low risk profile, and a regulated IFA then puts them into a scheme that with only a tiny bit of due dilligence would have revealed it to be a scam, or at best massively high risk, then they will have been duped. Yes, should always take responsibility for your investments, but not everyone has the experience and obviously were hoping that a supposedly civilised country like the UK would not allow IFAs to so openly scam people out of their pensions/savings. Conmen like Ames are always around, although how anyone felt he was a man to trust really does astonish me. When I met him I was speechless with shock about how clueless he was about the industry, and just generally how out of his depth he was and dare I say it, how plain stupid he came across. We all knew in the Caribbean from day one that this was a scam and we did try to warn people in various sites and forums, and it was horrifying to see so many people buying into it when simply making a call to a few people here or getting on a plane would have saved them this awful experience. I do have sympathy for people who have been conned, no matter how it transpired. It does go on all the time though all over the world all the time, perhaps it is rare for it to happen to so many people at the same time with the same scam.

  59. Dude

    Good post, I have said previously that all IFA should be banned globally, they are the lowest of the low. Of course they all have this and that and they are regulated by this and that body, yet they are the conduit between companies like Harlequin allowing them to be able to disconnect themselves from the whole fiasco.
    They are in every market place pushing crap and pretending it is gold.
    Harlequin says they had no idea what the IFA’s were telling people and the IFA’s are saying they had no idea about what was Harlequin doing. So where are you left???
    Well simply put when an IFA is making 10% of all sales they know they are in the middle of a scam, finance margins are not over 1% these days if your lucky and yet these guys were making 10%, so that says it all.
    So for any of you that lost cash go after your IFA, pretty sure they would have left the island by now.
    IFA’s should be banned from every market place, they have no business destroying peoples lives.

  60. 183

    Dude, you seem to be fairly misinformed about what the role of an IFA is, and are conflating the charlatans who have got involved with this with proper professionals. The industry is highly monitored and regulated, which is why this whole thing will be giving any regulated IFAs involved some very sleepless nights. Moreover, a quick scan of industry publications reveals how seeting most IFAs are about what other members of the industry — if not many of them — have been up to (most having rejected it themselves at the outset). Managing a client’s attitude to risk, is 101 stuff and some socalled professionals have failed in that respect. The role of a proper IFA is vital in some peoples’ lives, allowing them to understand all the options available to them (for all their financial needs), and to make informed, appropriate choices about these. It’s absolutely not about peddling high risk products for sky high commissions.

    It’s worth pointing out too, that the RDR that came into effect this year, means that commission driven business is virtually impossible — and that qualifications for regulated IFAs are stringent.

  61. 204

    Dude, you are a prick, why come here upsetting people more, we all can’t be so cleaver as you…..you smarmy git

  62. Dude

    It is certainly not a point of being clever, it is a simple point that people got into this to make money. It didn’t happen and so now they want restitution, so when you buy a lottery ticket and it does not pay out, do you get your money back? When or if you go to a casino and bet and do not win do you get your money back? You know your going to lose the lotto and you definitely know your going to lose at the casino. So what is the difference?
    People lose money everyday all over the world the ones that learn from it get on with their lives and make better investment decisions. The other individuals blame everyone and everything and waste years screwing around, yet the simple issue is that no one forced you to buy into anything.
    Of course it is harsh but it is straight to the point. If you think for a second that this lawyer or that guy is going to make anything happen and fix everything you letting yourself get taken for the second time.
    The blame is ultimately that of the investor, if you think this has to do with intelligence well it does and it does not. Don’t invest in something that you don’t understand.
    In regards to the wonderful world of IFA’s, once again anyone that is good at managing money does not bother managing others unless they make good returns from it. Or in the case of large hedge funds they have such a large pooling of funds (billions++) then they can get all different pay outs all day long based on various performance factors.
    It can be a regulated as you all seem to keep telling clients it is but as above it is just a way to disconnect the parties and make it harder to follow a paper trail. Why if there are so many controls in place do the average mum and dad get taking to the cleaners over and over again????
    Me, 30 years global finance background, US, Asia and EU. Derivatives, structured products, stocks, FX, fixed income. Have seen it all so I do have some idea of what I am talking about.
    I have watched the IFA clowns for years create nothing but mayhem and loss. As said earlier if you really stupid enough to think of using an IFA, get their accounts or 5 years tax returns to see if they can actually manage their own money before you let them lose yours.
    So the simple point of all this, walk away and get on with your life and stay away from IFA’s.

  63. Short Legs

    @ Dude the Bore
    We don’t want your CV, go away you boring man

  64. Mr Blue

    I actually agree with Dude. I don’t like or believe in Financial Advisors either. Anyone who is good at identifying good investments keeps their mouth shut, and uses their own money to make themselves weathly. Anyone who wants your money with a promise of making you wealthy should be treated with the utmost suspicion.

    I group IFA’s with people who write ‘self help’ books. They couldn’t make it by doing what they preach, so they make their money by selling you their expertise, which is largely useless as they could never make it in the first place.

  65. 183

    Yes, but most IFAs don’t make big claims about “making you wealthy,” they make you aware of the best way to ensure that your money is working for you in the most appropriate way (pursuant to your risk profile): They assist with the opaque world of financial products (pensions, insurance etc) and ensure that your individual intentions as a client are best catered for. It’s financial planning, not get-rich-quick central — and with that in mind, most of them do follow their own advise with the products that they use.

  66. yatinkiteasy

    Before my daughter could get married in the Catholic Church, she was told that she had to go to marriage guidance classes. She found out that the person conducting the classes was twice divorced. Sounds like the financial advisors who have a few thousand pounds of net assets to their name, but will tell you how to make money.

  67. J chalmers

    Forgive me if I’ve got this wrong but didn’t people invest in a property that they could use for holidays and its the property that hasn’t been built,they didn’t do it to make primarily to make money.It wasn’t an abstract thing like stocks and shares which are always risky.If the properties had been built and resorts run properly there would not be a problem,but Mr Ames took that money and went to the next project.why didn’t he complete one before he started another? Because I suspect he didn’t have enough money and then it became like loosing on the horse you have to keep betting to get your money back.It seems most investors were pensioners who just wanted to enjoy the sunshine and used IFA because they had no knowledge of the world of finance which it would seem all who post on here are.

  68. BBaywatch


    Financial services may be sexy 8-o – tells you just about all you need to know about the kind of people taking your money. A certain irony in that it was Thatcher who brought into being Basildon Man and the Loadsamoney characters and that HP, the pinnacle of that mentality, is about to implode and put them back where they started.

  69. BBaywatch

    Gremlins in the WordPress – that should have read –

    A certain irony in that it was Thatcher who brought into being Basildon Man and the Loadsamoney characters and that HP – of Basildon, the pinnacle of that mentality, is about to implode and put them back where they started.

  70. Mr Blue

    @Anonymous, rule no 1 when investing. Do NOT borrow to invest. Borrowing costs you money, now your investment has to be twice as good just to cover the cost of borrowing in the first place. This doesn’t even take into account the risks of loosing money you didn’t have in to start with.

    IFA’s suggested and even helped people borrow to invest in HP. This is such bad advice that I barely know where to start. They made their money, and that’s all thay cared about. There is no truely benevolent act, there’s always an angle, the smart people look for it.

  71. 183

    That may or may not be true, but IFAs are very much the thin end of the wedge in terms of the financial state of the country. I say again, most decent IFAs have a long term relationship with their clients, assisting them in making sure that their financial needs are catered for — that is very different from trying to get involved in any off the wall get rich quick schemes in pursuit of a hasty buck. This is particularly the case after the recent raft of regulation — notably the RDR.

    To those asking why this shouldn’t be considered an investment in the same register as any other investment, it is to do with the way in which it was sold. If a customer knows an investment is high risk, is explicitly told it is high risk, understands the dangers of that, invests and then loses their money, that is fine. If a customer is explicitly told that a product is very low risk, invests as a consequence of that, and then finds it is not, it is a very different issue.

  72. Mr Blue

    @J Chalmers, HP and the IFA’s were targeting first time, unsophisticated investors, with promises of little outlay for big returns. The Holiday in the sun was a bonus. If all you wanted was a holiday there are safer and cheaper ways to do it

  73. BBaywatch


    The City and Financial Services industry are riddled with crooks and at the lower end many self styled IFA’s are little more than fake perfume MLM charlatans. Worse than that are the property guru’s and motivational speakers on wealth creation, BTL ‘businesses’ property portfolios – blood suckers the lot of them.

  74. Anonymous


    How much did you get paid for that rubbish – grow up.