For many timeshare owners the belief is that the trustees who hold their ownership in trust are independent, but this does not appear to be the case.
Information is coming to Inside Timeshare from various sources and our own research, which show there is a possible conflict of interest between one major trustee and the resorts management companies. If this is indeed the case, then there is no independence, the trustees are part of the industry and a conflict of interest does actually exist.
One example is the Alanda Club Marbella SL, one of the directors is Phillip Broomhead, who also happens to be a director at FNTC (First National Trust Company). (see pdf links) This club is also part of the Alanda Group of companies which the ONA Group acquired around 2011.
So, when the ONA Group acquired Wimpen, the FNTC would have been duty bound to have advised the owners of the fact that a ”conflict of Interest” had now arisen. With this particular link it does appear that FNTC were no longer “independent trustees”.
To the Wimpen owners, it appears that Phillip Broomhead is the link between Wimpen and the ONA Group. The owners committee, from information received wanted a transfer of Trusteeship to another company Hutchinsons, but it appears that FNTC refused to transfer this. This does beg the question, is it because the FNTC do have a “Conflict of Interest”?
FNTC First Nominee Ltd is also listed as a shareholder of Regency International Services Ltd, alongside Mossack Fonseca with the intermediary being First Names Group. As we know the Regency Palace Hotel and Club had to close down for tax reasons, with Luis Comacho being prosecuted for failing to hand over more than 15 Million Euros to the Portugese tax authorities. He has also been barred from holding any directorships.
The trustees who hold the owners weeks are FNTC, it is alleged that they were either ignorant of the fact or even complicit in the events which befell this hotel. Apparently many owners have been met with a wall of silence and have not received any help when contacting FNTC. How many of these owners have lost all their rights?
FNTC also have an involvement with Club Jardine del Puerto in Puerto Banus, with many problems befalling the owners at this resort. This particular resort has caused the owners many, many years of grief, it was also the subject of an investigation by the late Sandy Grey.
One incident is when the founding members tried to stop an AGM, with Phillip Broomhead of the FNTC representing the founding members, claimed that the AGM was illegal. This followed the move by Declan Kenny also of FNTC, to persuade the club to sell back around 650 weeks to one of his suggested enterprises. FNTC also backed the sale of weeks as “floating” and as we know under Ley 42/98 of the Spanish Timeshare Act, these weeks are illegal. This has been verified on several occasions by the Spanish Supreme Court in Madrid, the highest court in the land!
It must also be pointed out that the present CEO of the RDO is one Paul Gardner Bougaard, who was also once a director of FNTC. FNTC are also an RDO member and therefore should be subject to the code of conduct and ethics. Somehow this does not look like the case.
So the question of independence of the trustees from the industry, does look very dubious indeed, it is up to you the reader to decide. But do bare in mind this is the first of many articles on this subject, as more information comes to light through research and information received it will be published here.
If you have any information on this article or any timeshare matter or have any questions, contact us through the contacts section.