If you’re looking at your SIPP portfolio and wondering what Freedom Bay is, now could be a good time to pick up the phone and speak with claims handler at Spencer Churchill Claims Advice, especially as the value of that investment may look different from when you invested…
The Freedom Bay investment is an unregulated overseas property scheme that was mis-sold to many SIPP pension investors who weren’t suitable for this high-risk scheme.
The resort itself – Freedom Bay St Lucia – was designed and marketed as an eco-luxury resort surrounded by the sun, sea and sand of the Caribbean, and promised many investors that they’d actually own a little slice of the 5 star resort due to a “timeshare-like” element to the investment (see Fractional Ownership) on top of the 6% returns even during the construction phase – great!
But despite a two year get-out clause that meant investors would get a refund if the resort was not completed within 24 months, things got ugly…
Years later, Freedom Bay St Lucia is STILL not finished.
If you invested as part of a SIPP or SSAS pension, you may be able to claim over your Freedom Bay investment.Get started now
Several financial advisers and the FSCS have been paying out compensation for having been mis-sold Freedom Bay investments via SIPPs and SSASs for a few years, with Spencer Churchill Claims Advice often leading the claim on a No Win – No Fee* basis.
Then you may have been mis-sold, and you could be able to make a claim for negligent SIPP advice.
Fill in your details below to have a no obligation chat about your situation
Freedom Bay was always a high-risk investment, and in many cases, Freedom Bay started to go wrong the moment people were advised to invest, simply because they were mis-sold!
While all investments carry risk, some are in the high-risk category, and Freedom Bay is one of them.
Not regulated by the FCA, the UK regulator was never looking over the shoulder of the Freedom Bay scheme, and if other overseas property schemes are anything to go by, the potential for problems is large.
Because of this, financial advisers should only have been recommending Freedom Bay as a SIPP investment if the investor had plenty of experience with high-risk schemes, and plenty of money and income to fall back on if things went pear-shaped.
Which it did… Despite an original 2012 completion date, Freedom Bay is still incomplete.
Furthermore, despite many requests to cash-in the two-year refund policy, there have been reportedly no refunds issued by the Malgretoute Hotel Development Company which presides over Freedom Bay, which is now in receivership.
With all the £millions invested in Freedom Bay, you’d hope that they buildings would be finished and making money by the completion date.
Sadly, this wasn’t the case…
In 2017, one SIPP provider forwarded letters to some Freedom Bay investors, which featured an update from the Malgretoute Hotel Development company:
Delays were at least partially blamed on the “frustrating actions of the previous Governments in St Lucia”
There were “Severe delays suffered”
“[the firm is] now working to ascertain how best to complete the build out of the entire resort”
“It is clear that in order for the resort to be fully built out further funding is required”
“We would ask that everyone would bear with us…”
By 2018 the mis-sold SIPP Claims scandal was really hitting the news, and Freedom Bay got more than a few mentions too, including in a Daily Express article entitled It sounds ‘too good to be true’ for a reason.
Although well-intentioned, SIPPs can be dangerous for a happy retirement if the wrong financial adviser gets involved.
The difference with SIPPs is that the pension holder can choose from a larger range of investment options, including high-risk, unregulated and overseas schemes – just like Freedom Bay!
This might be find for a sophisticated investor who understands and can manage those risks effectively, but if a negligent adviser puts an investment like Freedom Bay on the table for somebody with little investment experience, it may well be mis-sold.
Freedom Bay isn’t alone – just look at Harlequin Properties – another high-risk Caribbean investment!Get started now
All investments carry risk, but some are high-risk and Freedom Bay is one of them.
Financial advisers when considering a pension transfer, switch to a SIPP or investment need to consider if the risk of the investment matches up with their client’s risk-profile.
Not everyone has the experience needed to make an informed decision about Freedom Bay, or the money to recover from a situation where their pension fund has collapsed.
For the average investor, Freedom Bay would not likely have been a suitable investment, and if you placed your SIPP money into St Lucia’s never-built resort, you may be able to make a claim
Like all overseas property schemes, Freedom Bay is not regulated by the FCA, putting it in the high-risk category.
A 2017 update from Margretoute Hotels blamed the lack of progress on the St Lucian government.
Now, the main firm is in receivership, and the question of whether Freedom Bay will ever be complete is still in question.
If you can prove that your financial adviser gave your negligent advice to invest, then you may be able to claim compensation over Freedom Bay.
Speak with a specialist at Spencer Churchill Claims Advice for a free, no-obligation discussion about your potential claim.