Global Forestry Investments: A classic case of financial mis-selling
Following our commentary in 2015, we have seen an increase in people reporting a mis-sold investment with a company trading under the name of Global Forestry Investments (GFI).
The company ‘sold’ plots of land in the Brazilian Rainforest where teak would be grown. Claims of a 10-20% return on investment were promoted by the company. Some customers reported an initial return, before the funds dried up. More cases were bereft of any return. The Global Forestry Investments website is now closed down and the business still under investigation from the Serious Fraud Office (SFO).
GFI was run by Omari Bowers and Andrew Skeene, under the name of GFI Consultants Ltd. Despite the suggestion of a limited company in their moniker, Global Forestry Investments was a PLC. Andrew Skeene was also found to have registered further businesses, including Positive Equity, a business behind Dubai property developments. Omari Bowers and Andrew Skeene also ran Global Forex Trading, another firm under SFO investigation.
The company was unregulated by the FSA, meaning investors were not protected by the Financial Services Compensation Scheme (FSCA) or Financial Ombudsman. Global Forestry Investments requested a £5000 minimum investment, with no upper limit. The lack of a maximum investment is curious, given that the land purchased by the company was a definite area.
Financial mis-selling from investment firms
As previously reported, the relaxing of pension regulations in 2015 has not only seen more people take advantage of obtaining their pension earlier, but has seen an increase in people being advised to invest their funds into investment schemes that have not proved of financial benefit to them.
Many people were advised to put their money in Global Forestry Investments by investment firms such as Emerald Knight, a company who promoted ‘ethical investments’. Given that investment is a specialist area, many people rely on the advice of professionals within the field to ensure their money is invested wisely. In the case of GFI, it would appear that investors have been wrongly advised in many cases, meaning they have been sold a financial product that was not in their interests as it was not suitable for them.
Many investors had been advised to invest some or all of their pension. Some were advised to shift their pension into the GFI scheme via a self-invested personal pension (SIPP), even though this advice was not suitable for them.
Investors in Global Forestry Investments are sadly just one example of people being mis-sold financial products. If you were advised to invest in GFI and have subsequently lost out financially, you may have a case for being mis-sold a financial product. Our expert financial mis-selling solicitors can look at your case on a no-win, no-fee basis and see if you have a case to pursue.
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