Is this the Beginning of the End for Harlequin?

Submitted by St. Georges Dragon
The Financial Services Authority (FSA) puts Harlequin under the scope

The UK  Financial Services Authority (FSA) puts Harlequin under the scope

Interesting news about Harlequin. The Financial Services Authority (FSA) in the UK, which regulates the financial services industry, has published an alert: Information on investments made through Harlequin Management Services.

Issued on Friday 18th January, it puts financial advisers on notice that if they recommend an investment in a pension for which the underlying assets are Harlequin overseas properties, the advisor must carry out a thorough due diligence on the various developments being sold by Harlequin Property to fully satisfy themselves that it is a suitable investment. The due diligence should involve:

  • consideration of how building work is progressing on the various sites and any factors involved in reported delays to completion;
  • establishing precisely how their customers’ funds will be used during the construction phase and the terms of their purchase agreements;
  • a full assessment of all publicly available information about the overseas property investments through Harlequin Property and on all the parties associated with these investments

The FSA does not regulate Harlequin, so it is quite surprising that it mentions Harlequin by name. Interestingly, the same day, the FSA released a second alert: Advising on pension transfers with a view to investing pension monies into unregulated products through a SIPP. This sets out further advice on what advisors need to do when recommending investments in third-party companies based on overseas property development.

Effectively, the two alerts have to be read together to see the FSA’s concerns about Harlequin. Also, it is  interesting to see that the FSA is investigating a number of advisors; has stopped them giving such advice and is looking at taking enforcement action against them. At last, someone in the UK is taking action to stop innocent people losing their pensions and savings.

With Harlequin’s ability to access further Ponzi funding starting to be closed off by the regulators, is this the beginning of the end for them?

30 responses to “Is this the Beginning of the End for Harlequin?

  1. Thanks St. Georges Dragon! The blogs have been harping about Harlequin for months now. In contrast see the article below written by Nation’s top award journalist. No doubt Harlequin paid someone for this promo.

    Harlequin big boost to building
    By Maria Bradshaw | Wed, August 22, 2012 – 12:09 AM
    The construction industry is about to get a major boost with the on-going development of two multimillion-dollar luxury resorts by the British-based company Harlequin Hotels & Resorts.
    Construction work has already started at H Barbados, Harlequins first luxury boutique hotel located at Hastings, Christ Church, while offices and a show villa are under construction at Merricks, St Philip, the site of the multimillion-dollar Merricks Resort.
    Yesterday, company officials held a media briefing at its Hastings, Christ Church offices on the projects and also took media representatives on tours at both locations.
    Garrett Ronan, VP hotel & resort development, David Campion, development director and Michael Woodruffe, project leader, gave extensive details about the two resorts, which they said would offer a luxury brand to Barbados.
    Please read the full story in today’s MIDWEEK NATION, or in the eNATION edition.

    Like

  2. Unlike Barbados where we are quite happy to give the office of supervisor of insurance a pass, not so in the UK.

    MPs: FSA left consumers exposed to ‘worst scandals’ in UK history

    by Michelle McGagh on Jan 21, 2013 at 10:16

    MPs have slammed the Financial Services Authority (FSA) for ‘failing consumers’ and warned the incoming chairman of the new regulator that he must do better.

    A report by the Treasury Select Committee has laid out the failings of the FSA which it said ‘left consumers exposed to some of the worst scandals in UK financial history’. It also said the FSA ‘created a box ticking culture whose benefits were far from evident and which still failed to pick up major failures in the making’.

    The Committee said John Griffiths-Jones, chairman of the FSA’s successor the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA), must adopt a ‘radically different approach’ to ‘restore the credibility’ of the regulator.

    The Committee goes on to criticise the board of the FSA, which includes recently knighted chief executive Hector Sants, for failing in its oversight of the organisation.

    Andrew Tyrie, chairman of the Committee, said: ‘The FCA is taking over from a body, the FSA, which failed consumers badly. If the FCA simply picks up where the FCA left off, consumers will suffer again.

    Tyrie urged Griffith-Jones to ‘develop a markedly better culture’ than within the FSA and set up a more effective board.

    ‘His actions will speak as loudly as his words,’ said Tyrie.

    This year the FSA will be split into two separate bodies, the FCA and the Prudential Regulation Authority (PRA).

    The PRA will have responsibility for overseeing the stability of banks and big financial institutions and will form part of the Bank of England. The FCA will supervise the activities of all other financial services firms.

    Like

  3. @Rosemary

    Dear God indeed. Do you know the number of people who invested their pensions, even institutions? Commonsense should have revealed a long time a go these people are questionable. To be expected they are in Barbados doing business.

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  4. I am aways amazed how a person will thoroughly inspect a new pair of shoes or jacket for tears discoloration, stitching etc yet the biggest investment of their lives they stand on the sidelines as someone else makes high risk investments with their future.If you are young you can take more of a risk but older people should be conservative. Take an interest in whats going on with your pension plan the person who knows best about your money is you.

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  5. St George's Dragon

    Harlequin will say, as they already have, that everything is ok and they agree with the FSA’s advice to do due diligence.
    The facts speak for themselves, though.
    On progress they are years behind on all their projects. On most they do not have planning approvals or in some cases, even own the whole site.
    They co-mingle their investors funds so someone buying at Merricks may find their money spent on Buccament Bay, Harlequin Air or the H Hotel in Barbados.
    A full assessment of publicly available information will hopefully lead financial advisors and potential investors to places like BU.
    If any investor would like photos of real progress on the Barbados projects, let me know.

    Like

  6. @St.Georges Dragon

    Correct, we see many hits/visits coming from the UK so far.

    Like

  7. When we were first alerted to this travesty by Harlequin, I think it was Blackett who posted a link to their website. I went in and reviewed their financials. They had no working capital. Read broke, broke. They must have survived this long on new investments. Sad, sad, sad.

    Like

  8. Whistling Duck

    From the Daily Telegraph, Barbados supplement January 12th: “And for something new, Harlequin Hotels, which already operates the Merricks Resort on Barbados, opens the boutique H Barbados this year on Hastings Beach in the South, complete with tempting steak and seafood restaurant”. Think they have got a bit ahead of themselves with Merricks, it must now be at least four years adrift!!

    Like

  9. St George's Dragon

    @ Whistling Duck
    That’s very unfair. Harlequin is operating Merricks – at least, both of the showhouses they built and the guard hut. They have not, of course, completed any of the units which people have paid deposits for and it seems very likely that they have spent the money on themselves, lawyers and other developments which have also not been built.

    Like

  10. Whistling Duck

    A guard hut to protect the show houses! Next you will tell me that they have a snack bar selling beef burghers – sorry English horse burghers.

    Like

  11. Whistling Duck

    Is it possible to scan the article you referenced and email BU?

    Like

  12. Whistling Duck

    I will scan and email tomorrow.

    Like

  13. Thanks, in turn we will forward to our local regulatory bodies, the FTC and FSC.

    Like

  14. What do I care.. This is about English people money right …?

    BTW Dennis Johnson ban me from the chat room today for criticizing the two individuals on the program. He would claim of course that I was using expletives as if I have actually done such a thing. (F#ckin’ is NOT an expletive okay) The man was protecting his and the stations interests in ensuring that the type of opposition to the politcos was of a very pleasant nature. That’s all … Cowards, the whole bunch of them. I wonder how much they will be raking in in the lead up to the election. The B’s already start to spend some of the BL&P money …!

    Like

  15. St George's Dragon

    @ BAFBFP
    When Harlequin goes down, it will impact on Barbados’ reputation as a place to holiday, buy and invest.

    Like

  16. What about the four seasons if the big tv personalities lose money.

    Like

  17. St George's Dragon

    @ Lawson
    That has been reported big-time already; we just don’t need more bad PR from something else.

    Like

  18. Didn’t the MoF promise a few weeks ago that he would update the country on Four Seasons and Almond?

    Like

  19. Check-This-Out

    David

    What is happening with the PURE property

    Like

  20. No accounts for Harlequin Property resort since 2005
    Author: Laura Miller
    IFAonline | 22 Jan 2013 | 14:20

    Categories: Alternative Investments| Investment| Property Investment| SIPPs

    Topics: FSA| SIPP

    Caribbean beach

    One of the main hotel resorts which received investment from overseas property firm Harlequin Property has not filed accounts for seven years.

    Buccament Bay Resort on the Caribbean island of St.Vincent – the flagship investment of the £200m unregulated Harlequin investment scheme – has failed to file any accounts or financial statements with the registrar of companies of the state of Saint Vincent since 2005.

    According to documents seen by IFAonline from the deputy registrar of Saint Vincent, the Buccament Bay Resort is now in “default” of its obligations.

    http://www.ifaonline.co.uk/ifaonline/news/2238103/no-accounts-for-harlequin-property-resort-since-2005

    Like

  21. St George's Dragon

    Here is another case being reported now which sounds as though it could prove very similar and which should put the fear of God up the financial advisors in the UK.

    http://www.ifaonline.co.uk/ifaonline/news/2237207/law-firm-to-pursue-67-advisers-embroiled-in-alpha-bank-case

    Like

  22. A volatile global financial market does not need this agitation,

    Like

  23. And it continues without end.

    Like

  24. Here is the supplement which was published in the UK Telegraph which speaks to Harlequin already operating in Barbados. Sorry for the late update but the email was sent to an old email address.

    Thanks Whistling Duck!

    http://bajan.files.wordpress.com/2013/01/barbados-guide-daily-telegraph-jan-12th-3013.pdf

    Like

  25. @ Pollak Wlodar ETC ETC
    Please use an AKA such as JOE
    as reading your name does my brain in.

    Like

  26. @ JOE

    P.S
    Electronic word translation allows for certain discrepancies.
    IE
    “The spirit is willing But the flesh is weak”
    Electronic translation

    “The booze is good but the meat is deteriorated”

    Like

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