Almost a decade since property syndication investors lost billions, it is surely time to reconsider the recourse for those enticed into such investments. Two recent cases highlight the shortcomings. In one, the Ombud for Financial Services Providers (Fais ombud), orders a Bloemfontein adviser to repay a woman R1.3m lost in a Sharemax-promoted syndication. In the other, the KwaZulu-Natal High Court rules an adviser is not liable for the loss suffered by a family trust which invested R5m in the same scheme. The investors were very different, but the outcome is nevertheless hard to fathom. Rusaan van Staden was 20 years old when she lost her mother and the R1.3m her mother intended to fund her studies. Soon after Hermanus Lombard of Legacy Invest invested the money in the scheme developing Villa Retail Park, the income dried up, forcing Van Staden to give up her studies. The development remains unfinished. The Financial Advisory and Intermediary Services (Fais) Act obliges advisers to ...

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