Hundreds of elderly expats have their retirement cash trapped in a suspended investment scheme that may not pay compensation until after they have died.
Almost 5,000 investors have cash locked up in EEA Life Settlements Fund, but few may live to get their money back.
Many have had to sell their homes, cars and other valuables to fund their retirement because the money they thought would make them financially comfortable in their later years has not materialised.
Now the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) is urging any investors with a misselling claim against the company to come forward before December 1 otherwise they may be too late for a share of the compensation due.
EEA bought up life insurance policies mainly in the United States, attracting investors with an 8% a year return and low-risk investment promise.
However, the FCA says the fund was anything but low risk and should not have been offered to ordinary investors as an unregulated collective investment scheme (UCIT).
As a result, the FCA believes many expats are victims of misselling – even though they live overseas, if they bought into the fund through a UK regulated adviser they may claim compensation.
“The deadline for making a compensation claim depends on the merits of each investor’s case, but the first expires on December 1 and they roll forward from there,” said an FCA spokesman.
“If anyone has had dealings with this firm, we suggest they stake a claim for misselling as soon as possible to make sure they do not miss out.”
Disgruntled investors have formed the EEA Investors Group to lobby for a quicker pay out.
Spokesman David Trinkwon explained investors are getting some money, but only small sums depending on the type of shares they hold in the fund.
“Investors have anything from £10,000 to £13 million with this firm,” he said. “Many are quite elderly and plans to pay the money back over periods of up to 20 years are no good for them as they are in their 70s and 80s.
“Many are struggling to pay their bills and have sold their homes, cars and other assets to give them enough money to live.”
Trinkwon wants the fund put into administration so any assets can be sold so the cash raised can go towards repaying the investors.
The investor group has members in more than a dozen countries.