Hugh James represents individuals who have invested in Park First Limited and are advising on potential claims.
Park First Limited describe themselves as a “market leader in airport car parking” and manage a range of different sites at a handful of major international airports across the UK, such as Glasgow International Airport and London Gatwick Airport.
Many of those that have invested in Park First did so using pension funds via a Self-invested Personal Pension (‘SIPP’) or a Small Self-Administered Scheme (SSAS).
The Financial Conduct Authority (‘FCA’) has already taken action in relation to Park First Limited and concluded in December 2017 that the company and related entities had been promoting and operating airport car parking investment schemes illegally.
The FCA concluded that Park First was a collective investment scheme which can only be operated or promoted by authorised firms, as they can be high-risk investments. Given that Park First was not authorised by the FCA it was not permitted to provide regulated financial services and therefore agreed with the FCA that it would stop operating and promoting the schemes.
Park First update
The FCA informed investors that Park First would in the circumstances be offering investors in the Gatwick and Glasgow car parks the choice of either getting their initial investment backor moving into a new ‘Lifetime Leaseback’ scheme which they contend isn’t a collective investment scheme.
Park First published on its website an update for investors, this states that the majority of investors have decided to take the option of entering into a Lifetime Lease.
Investors wishing to proceed with the buy-back have been informed that if they choose this option they will receive repayment of their original investment less any rent received with Park First making payment within 12 months.
What are your options?
Park First say in their ‘Investment Options’ document that the buy-back and repayment option is being offered by Park First Gatwick Rentals Ltd and/or Park First Glasgow Rentals Ltd. However, these companies were only incorporated on 3 October 2017 and have not filed accounts. The parking investments were actually with different companies, Park First Glasgow Limited and Park First Limited. These companies have made very significant provision in their respective accounts for liabilities relating to the buy-back offer. It is not entirely clear therefore where the funds to repay investors will come from. The companies’ ability to honour the buy-backs may, at least in part, be dependent on the resale of spaces to other investors.
The protection afforded by the Financial Services Compensation Scheme (FSCS) or The Financial Ombudsman Service (FOS) does not cover investments in unregulated investments provided by unauthorised firms and this has been reiterated by the FCA. The FCA has also made it clear that it does not endorse the Lifetime Leaseback or any other Park First investment. It has recommended that existing investors seek appropriate financial and/or legal advice if asked to make a decision in respect of their Park First investment.