“The Harlequin Investor Group met with David Ames in the afternoon of the 22nd April 2013.“
Date: Mon, 22 Apr 2013 22:06:21 +0000
Subject: Harlequin Investor Group – Meeting with David Ames – 22nd April 2013
The Harlequin Investor Group met with David Ames in the afternoon of the 22nd April 2013.
•3 investors and 2 Directors from Regulatory Legal met with David Ames.
The meeting was conducted cordially and respectfully as building a rapport in these difficult times is clearly key.
1.There is no doubt in the minds of those attending on behalf of investors that Harlequin is cash starved and requires new investment.
2.The lack of cash in the business is a key issue as without liquidity the business will continue to struggle.
3.The business has a significant number of non-completed contracts, many of which have completion dates which are overdue. In simple terms, the various companies are obligated to repay investors their money back plus 10%. The “repayment overhang”.
4.The business needs to source new monies. This is going to come from either
(a) Investment into the equity of the business
(b) Completions on properties (eg the balancing 70%)
(c) New investor monies
We feel (a) & (b) are the best way forward. The HIG see (c) as unlikely in the present situation.
(a) & (b) are certainly been addressed by Harlequin and their discussions are on going. It is the view of RL that unless and until the “repayment overhang” is dealt with, the various court challenges concluded and the issue of unsuitable advice from intermediaries reviewed then progress will be painfully slow. Any financier would not want to opt into a situation where investors and Harlequin were at odds.
1.With that in mind HIG have requested answers to their 34 questions to be provided. This will be done by 23rd May 2013 (earlier if possible) by Harlequin.
2.Additionally, HIG have asked that they be privy to a “ReLaunch Plan” so it allows the investor voice to be factored in. There is a high degree of probability that new contracts would need to be signed by investors to enable a formal financing to occur. HIG sees its role in this as assisting the process.
3.HIG suggested the David Ames that one option could involve him stepping aside for new senior management to be put in place.
4.Another separate area of concern is the suitability of advice provided by intermediaries and SIPP providers in relation to the Harlequin product. The FSA Alert of January 2013 set out the regulatory concerns. However, there does appear to need to be a process (which Harlequin should adopt) to encourage investors to have the advice they received reviewed. This would directly affect investors via SIPP and those who re-mortgaged (or took on unsecured debt) to make their deposit payments. There is a high level of investor concern over some of the representations around mortgages on completion, returns etc.
5.The more pressing issue for all is the short term cash need to deal with those who have already taken legal action. These people need a clear path to payment. RL have requested that Harlequin provide a response so that these investors can be dealt with.
6.We have agree to meet with David Ames (to review the answers to the questions) and to engage with any potential plan during the latter half of May 2013. It may be that earlier meetings are required. If so, the HIG would make time to assist.
Finally, we would urge all going to the investor meetings to give the Harlequin representatives a fair hearing. The company faces significant short term challenges that it is in the interest of investors to assist. That said, we would suggest investors to proceed with caution unless and until the detail of any restructuring / relaunch plan is made available.