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Shawbrook Bank

Timeshare Sales, Barclay Partner Finance & The FCA

For the past couple of years, Inside Timeshare has been following the case of the Financial Conduct Authority granting a validation order for loans provided by Barclays Partner Finance, brokered by timeshare sales agents of Azure Services Ltd. This validation order was granted to BPF after the finance company found out that over 1,400 loan agreements were brokered by Azure Services who were not authorised, competent or diligent enough to broker them.

Many of the clients who signed these agreements for the purchase of timeshares, tended to be either retired or just coming up to retirement. They were lured with the wonderful patter of you are “investing in property”, “it’s not timeshare”.

There was the promise of renting out the purchased weeks, which would give an income, supposedly to cover the maintenance fees and a bit more. Then after 2 years the “investment weeks” would be sold and they would make a profit. This would cover the cost of the loan provided by Barclays Partner Finance.

Well, we all know how that story ends, remember that Azure is part of the Limora Group of companies owned by the late Robert “Bob” Trotta and was also the sister company to Silverpoint in Tenerife.

Company Participations have been likened to this!

Silverpoint, formally Resort Properties, sold the same product, in fact, it was they who originated it. They further developed the product into the Company Participation Scheme, which changed by registering the apartments for sale as “companies”. But the same idea was applied in the sales presentation, it was an investment with rental income and profit after sales when the “company” was transferred to the purchaser. (Sorry but that is the very simple version).

The vast majority of these purchases were made by loan agreements brokered by the sales staff selling the products and provided by Barclays Partner Finance.

When you consider that in the two years which the FCA is looking at for Azure clients this has affected over 1,400, the number of loan agreements financed by BPF must number in the thousands and as far as money is concerned worth hundreds of millions of pounds. Although this is just a guess it is on the figures received by Inside Timeshare on the Azure loans worth around £40 million.

We now move to the latest phase of the case, back in August 2018, Judge Timothy Herrington, ordered the FCA to re-evaluate its decision to validate the order, citing that “consumer detriment” must be taken into consideration.

Judge Timothy Herrington

Over a year later, the FCA confirmed the validation order with a provision that BPF appoints a “competent person” to investigate client detriment.

Now the appeal has been launched to overturn this decision, there is a group that has been formed to coordinate clients who are affected by this decision called Azure Malta Action And Support Group. They are a closed group on Facebook and are gaining in membership, not just with Azure owners, many others affected by the sales practices of the timeshare sales reps and their brokering of these loans.

The group has now published a letter to BPF which Inside Timeshare has placed as a downloadable link below, which demands the right to know what information was given to BPF by the broker regarding the loan application. It also calls for BPF to provide all details of any correspondence between the client and BPF.

It is a legal right under data protection and known as Data Subject Request.

This template letter is not just for Azure clients, any timeshare purchaser who was brokered a finance agreement by the sales reps with BPF or any other finance company can use it. Inside Timeshare urges you to do so, as from all the people that Inside Timeshare has spoken with none have ever provided any full financial details such as “income v expenditure” which are normal procedures especially when considering the sums involved. These reports show if the repayments are affordable and in fact, Shawbrook Bank admitted it had not carried this out several years ago.

The Azure Malta Action And Support Group along with Inside Timeshare are urging all those affected by BPF loan agreements to begin submitting these requests and then filing complaints with the FCA. Hopefully, this may force the FCA to investigate.

Unfortunately, in an article in the Mail on Sunday by Jeff Prestridge, it appears that there are some very serious concerns about the FCA.

According to the start of the article, which we must point out is also our opinion, the Financial Conduct Authority is there to protect consumers, but “is more interested in protecting its own”.

It also goes on to highlight the inherent problems of staff untrained and lacking the knowledge to actually carry out their work. They are not being trained to spot “anything suspicious” in the companies they are supposed to be monitoring.

They lack any training, knowledge or experience in dealing with consumer complaints, and as Inside Timeshare has found in the past, every complaint seems to be dismissed in favour of the industry. Sounds a bit like the Resorts Development Organisation don’t you think!

Although the article is not about timeshare it is a very damning report of the FCA and their apparent inability to actually perform the job they are entrusted with. It certainly highlights the problems being faced by consumers who have had to endure lengthy high-pressure sales presentations, ending up signing agreements for finance on the false promises of sales staff, reliant on the loans to close the sale.

The link to the full article is below along with previous articles on this subject along with the link to Azure Malta Action And Support Group.

If you have purchased a timeshare with a loan arranged by the sales staff and would like more information on what your rights are, then please use our contact page and Inside Timeshare will get back to you. If we are unable to answer your question we will find out for you.

Link to the Azure Action Group

https://www.facebook.com/groups/1152657598482168

PDF & Word versions of the template letter

Jeff Prestridge Article

https://www.thisismoney.co.uk/money/comment/article-9070435/JEFF-PRESTRIDGE-FCA-let-investors.html?fbclid=IwAR3M0bPZrnghdan3Ae5zxaGP17CHfiwYQ5llR0V0ELMTzic-j9XZD_3-72E

Articles on the FCA validation

https://insidetimeshare.com/fca-validate-azure-bpf-loan-agreements/

https://insidetimeshare.com/fca-validate-bpf-azure-loans-update/

https://insidetimeshare.com/barclays-the-fca-and-azure-the-story-continues/

Shawbrook Bank

https://insidetimeshare.com/shawbrook-bank-announce-irregularities-timeshare-loans-similar-activities-usa/

Barclays the FCA and Azure: The Story Continues

Since the beginning of 2018, Inside Timeshare has been following the case of the Financial Conduct Authority’s validation of Barclay Partner Finance loan agreements brokered by Azure Services Ltd. As we know, Azure Services Ltd was not authorised or regulated to broker any loan agreements, yet Barclay Partner Finance approached the FCA to validate these “illegal” agreements to make them enforceable in law in the case of any defaults in payments. This has affected over 1,400 clients whose timeshare purchases were made using these loan agreements.

To recap, these loan agreements were made between 1 April 2014 and 24 April 2016 , the purpose was to finance the purchase of “investments” weeks at the Radisson Blu Golden Sands Resort in Malta. These “investments” were sold with the promise of rental income and a substantial profit from the resale of those weeks after two years.

This is the same “investment” product sold by Azure’s sister company Silverpoint (formerly Resort Properties) based in Tenerife, all are part of the Robert Trotta empire which all comes under the umbrella of Limora Investments Ltd.

Those sales have been the subject of many court cases in Spain and over 50 Supreme Court rulings, in every case the courts have sided with the consumer.

It is also a fact that Silverpoint, Azure and a myriad of other companies within the group have all filed for liquidation. The reason is very simple, it avoids the liability of legal action for the illegal selling of timeshare.

Virtually all of these sales were financed by Barclay Partner Finance, with all loan agreements being brokered by the sales staff, which in itself raises the question of “unfair relationship” between broker and lender.

It is also a fact that many of the purchasers through these loans were already retired or about to retire. So again it raises the question how were these substantial sums approved as we know for a fact that not one client Inside Timeshare has spoken with has ever or was ever asked to submit a full “income v expenditure” report. This is something which for any sizable loan needs to be done to ensure affordability of the repayments. (see link below on Shawbrook Bank).

By the FCA validating these agreements any client who is unable to afford the loan repayments due to a change in circumstances and then defaults, can be taken through the County Courts and receive a County Court Judgement. This also has a severe effect on any credit ratings.

Due to the FCA issuing the validation order, this has now left many vulnerable and mostly elderly people in a very difficult position. They have a loan agreement which they were promised would be paid off in 2 years from the sales of the weeks which never materialised.

To fight this decision many “consumers” have formed the Azure Malta Action And Support Group, which is located on Facebook. (link below).

https://www.facebook.com/groups/1152657598482168

Many of these members are already fighting their cases with the help of various law firms, some represented themselves, but due to the validation, they have come together to launch an appeal.

They have already sent a letter, a copy of which is on the PDF link below, to the following:

The Lord Chancellor Robert Buckland

The Right Honourable Robert Buckland, Lord Chancellor

Boris Johnson (PM)

Judge Herrington

Judge Timothy Herrington

The letter goes into great detail on how this product and the loan agreements were sold, the high pressure and lengthy sales presentations. They used techniques such as highlighting the investment into the hotel by two Manchester United players, this along with the fact that BPF was known and tended to be a trusted name, ensured that these non-existent “investments” looked very sound indeed. We do know from the Silverpoint scam, there was never any intention to begin any resales of these “investment” weeks.

This is a story which we are sure is not going away for some time, Inside Timeshare will be following developments and will publish any news on these pages.

If you have purchased through Azure between April 2012 and April 2014 with a BPF loan brokered by Azure, then you should contact Azure Malta Action And Support Group on the link above.

Letter to the Lord Chancellor Robert Buckland

Links to the full story in order of publication.

https://insidetimeshare.com/starting-the-week-2/

https://insidetimeshare.com/start-the-week-13/

https://insidetimeshare.com/fca-validate-azure-bpf-loan-agreements/

https://insidetimeshare.com/end-the-week-club-la-costa-name-change-and-barclays-acknowledge-repayment-of-interest/

General article on loan agreements

https://insidetimeshare.com/timeshare-loan-agreements/

Article on Shawbrook Bank admitting negligence on timeshare loan agreements

https://insidetimeshare.com/shawbrook-bank-announce-irregularities-timeshare-loans-similar-activities-usa/

If you purchased a timeshare using a loan agreement brokered by any timeshare salespeople and would like to know where you stand legally and what options are open to you, please use our contact page and Inside Timeshare will get back to you.

FCA Validate BPF Azure Loans: Update

In October Inside Timeshare published the news of the FCA (Financial Conduct Authority) validating loan agreements brokered by Azure Services Ltd on behalf of Barclay Partner Finance, at the time Azure was not authorised to broker the agreements either by BPF or the FCA. This case has affected around 1,444 Azure clients, who essentially now that the validation order has been approved, may be liable to legal action if they default, as the FCA has essentially “legalised” these agreements.

In August 2018, Judge Timothy Herrington of  Upper Tribunal Tax and Chancery Division of the Royal Courts of Justice ruled that the FCA reconsider the validation order as he considered that the FCA did not consider the impact of consumer detriment.


Judge Timothy Herrington

This “consumer detriment” covers the fact that not one “income versus expenditure” report was ever completed to check the affordability and ability of the consumer to keep up the payments. That the terms and conditions, the length of the loan agreement and other factors were also not explained to the consumer. It also transpires that the consumers were also under the impression that the timeshare sales staff were actually employees of BPF.

These are just a few of the factors which Judge Herrington brought up in his ruling, now 2 years on, the FCA has validated these loan agreements, it seems obvious that they have not considered the true impact of “consumer detriment”.

In fact, from very reliable sources Inside Timeshare, the FCA only sent out a questionnaire to 82 clients out of 1,444, this is only around 5% of those affected. This decision is now looking to those clients as being just a “whitewash” with the FCA backing one of the largest financial institutions in the UK.

Although the FCA has ordered BPF to repay all interest on the loan agreements and stop any further interest on the outstanding amount, this has not had the effect of cancelling the loans as “illegal”. It now puts those who are in financial difficulty in a precarious position if they default.

Inside Timeshare is also in contact with several clients who are disgusted with the FCA decision, they are forming a group with the intention of launching an appeal against this decision. Inside Timeshare is asking all those affected by this decision to use our contact page and register your interest in this appeal as soon as possible. Inside Timeshare will pass on your contact details to the group where they will give you more information.

The way timeshare sales have utilised the easy access to loan agreements without the necessary checks has been a regular feature over the years on Inside Timeshare. Below are just a few of the previous articles on this subject.

The first article is about Shawbrook Bank who in 2016 admitted their failure in their due diligence on the affordability of the loan agreements. They set aside £9m to cover any defaults on the loan agreements, the CEO at the time had to resign.

https://insidetimeshare.com/shawbrook-bank-announce-irregularities-timeshare-loans-similar-activities-usa/

https://insidetimeshare.com/fca-validate-azure-bpf-loan-agreements/

https://insidetimeshare.com/timeshare-loan-agreements/