Consumer watchdogs are warning about a financial firm offering an astonishing 239% return over five years to investors who plough cash into farming projects in Africa.
Senegal Farming Club is one of a growing number of projects seeking investment overseas from UK investors.
Web site standards firm Kwikchex, working as part of lobby group Timeshare Task Force has complained to the UK Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) about the claims of returns of investment by Senegal Farming Club.
Kwikchex argued the information given to investors on the club web site were ‘misleading and could not be substantiated’.
The complaint was up held by the ASA, which ordered the club not to continue advertising the claims and to make sure any future investment returns quoted to investors could be substantiated.
However, the club web site is still running the marketing promotion online.
The web site says: “Our latest pioneering investment opportunity in Senegal, backed by both insurance policies and a highly experienced team, is now available to investors with expected returns of 239% over 5 years.
“To participate, purchase one of a limited number of memberships of our UK-based company (limited by guarantee) for a fixed price of £20,000 and enjoy returns paid out every year after harvest.”
The club web site also states the people behind the investment Sun Agro have a track record in advising and promoting on sustainable farming.
Senegal Farming Club made no response to the ASA’s requests for information about the project.
“We are concerned about their lack of response and apparent disregard for the advertising code,” said an ASA spokesman.
“We felt the claim of a 239% return on investment had to be substantiated and that the advertiser needed to prove the figures. They made no attempt to do so, so we can only assume the advertising is misleading.”
The ASA has no legal power to stop the advert, but has referred the club to their compliance team in a bid to get the claims removed from the web site.
The team behind the Senegal Farming Club are Oliver Smeets and Dean Jobling.
The club is offering 12% commission to IFAs selling the minimum £20,000 investment – which is £2,400.