The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) is asking people who invested in unauthorised collective investment schemes, and who may be eligible to receive some of their money back, to get in contact with the FCA.
Between 2005 and 2010, approximately 870 members of the public invested approximately £32.8m in unauthorised collective investment schemes established and operated by Countrywide Land Holdings Limited, James Kenneth Maynard (trading as Regional Land and Countrywide Land Holdings Limited) and Stephen Ronald Watkins (trading as Consolidated Land UK Limited). These schemes involved the unlawful selling of plots of land.
Following High Court cases in which the unauthorised businesses were ordered to repay investors, the FCA has received approximately £2.5m from a related Panamanian company Paradigm Consultancy S.A., which it intends to return to eligible investors.
To date, only 392 out of approximately 870 possible investors have contacted the FCA.
The FCA urges investors who think they might have invested, or might recall family members investing in these schemes, to get in contact.
Mark Steward, executive director of enforcement and market oversight at the FCA, said: “If you believe you were an investor in one of these unauthorised schemes, please get in contact with us. We will work to resolve this matter and return funds to eligible investors as soon as is possible but we need to demonstrate to the Court that we have taken reasonable steps to identify everyone affected.”
The regulator said that investors who have not yet contacted the FCA, should do so even if they no longer have records or documentation relating to the investments.