Between 2005 and 2010 around 800 people invested £32.8m in unauthorised collective investment schemes connected to land banking - selling parcels of land to investors.
The schemes were established and operated by Countrywide Land Holdings Limited, James Kenneth Maynard (trading as Regional Land and Countrywide Land Holdings) and Stephen Ronald Watkins (trading as Consolidated Land UK).
The firms sold plots of land across the UK with the promise that investors would make big profits when the land received planning permission and was sold.
Investors were also told by sales staff the firms had corporate buyers lined up to purchase the sites.
The FCA said these schemes involved the unlawful selling of land plots.
The FCA has since recovered £2.5m from the liquidation of a related Panamanian company, Paradigm Consultancy SA, and this amount will now be distributed to the 573 qualifying investors identified by the FCA.
Mark Steward, executive director of enforcement and market oversight at the FCA, said: “Investment promising high returns means there is a high risk investors will lose their money.
“Sadly, this is what happened here. We have worked very hard to identify people eligible to receive compensation from these schemes and are pleased to have been able to recover and return some of their money.
“We would like to thank the Metropolitan Police and Trading Standards for their assistance with this matter.”