The 2 day hearing went ahead on the 27th and 28th January 2015
As you know all the Court of Appeal were deciding was 'was the African Land scheme 'managed as a whole'
Here is a brief synopsis.
From the previous hearing, in the judge’s view, it was proved beyond doubt that “Investors have been paid by ACSL or African Land for the value of the rice grown on their individual plot” , i.e. investor returns were based on income from that investor’s property.
On the interpretation of ‘managed as a whole’ Andrew Green QC acting for African Land, navigated the judge’s attentions to the FCA’s own interpretation as found in their perimeter guidelines:
“Q12. I run a scheme where each person owns individual properties or parts of properties in the property investment club. … Is this scheme likely to be a collective investment scheme?
No, unless the properties belonging to each person, company, limited liability partnership or limited partnership are managed as a whole by or on behalf of the operator of the scheme. So, the mere fact that the operator is managing a number of properties and achieves economies of scale in his management charges or in things such as insurance cover would not mean that the properties are being managed as a whole. Neither would the fact that the operator may be able to offer reductions in sale price because of bulk discounts negotiated with developers. This is provided the operator is managing each property on an individual basis.
As an example, if a managing agent manages a block of flats on the basis that the only profit or income each individual flat owner obtains is what arises from the management of his property, there is no management as a whole. However, if the managing agent managed the flats in such a way that each individual flat owner received an income from total lettings, regardless of whether that person's flat was let or not, the properties are managed as a whole and the arrangements are likely to be a collective investment scheme.”
It is difficult to see how the FCA can say that African Land have acted unlawfully unless the very guidelines that they themselves wrote, are flawed.
If this is the case and the judges rule for the FCA, it will mean that – managed buy to let schemes, managed hotel schemes, managed student accommodation schemes, managed care home schemes or for that matter any ‘managed scheme’ that works on behalf of more than one investor - are now illegal.
A decision on the case is expected by the end of March.
With regards to the Ebola situation, as you may be aware the UK has sent a hospital ship along with troops to the country, the epidemic is still ongoing with up to 240 new cases reported in the last 21days, see http://apps.who.int/ebola/current-situation/ebola-situation-report-4-march-2015
Again, thank you for your continued support.
AFRICAN LAND LIMITED