The Supreme Court has refused to give the 16 defendants (*) in the FCA -v- Capital Alternatives Limited case permission to appeal against the decision of the Court of Appeal that an African Land Scheme and a Carbon Credit Scheme, (a) were collective investment schemes; and (b) had been established, and were being operated, unlawfully. The result is that the Court of Appeal’s decision, which explains what a “collective investment scheme” is, is now final.

This is:

  1. Good news for the people who invested in the African Land and Carbon Credit Schemes, because it seems to bring them a step closer to the partial recovery of their investments;
  2. Good news for the FCA, because it’s views prevailed, and it’s clarified the law; and
  3. Good news for those who are trying to work out whether a particular set of arrangements are, or will be, a “collective investment scheme” – especially as the penalty for getting it wrong are so severe.

The FCA is now going back to the High Court to deal with the remaining aspects of this case, “including … the issue of misleading statements which the FCA alleges were made to investors in relation to these schemes“.

The FCA’s updated Capital Alternatives webpage gives a little more information about each of these developments. It also includes a warning: “We are aware that some investors may have been approached by third parties offering to assist them in disposing of their investments with African Land or Capital Carbon Credits, in some instances these individuals claim to work for, or on behalf of, the FCA. You should be extremely cautious if you are approached, particularly if you are asked to make a payment in advance.” Sounds like someone might be attempting an advance fee fraud. Nice.

(* Capital Alternatives Limited; Capital Secretarial Limited; Capital Organisation Limited; Capital Administration Services Limited; MH Trustees Limited; Marcia Hargous; Renwick Haddow; Richard Henstock; African Land Limited; Robert McKendrick; Alan Meadowcroft; Regency Capital Limited; Reforestation Projects Limited; Mark Ayres/Eyres; Mark Gibbs; and the estate of David Waygood.)