A number of these companies have links to companies offering 'land banking' opportunities as well as 'investments' in carbon credits, bio-fuel, diamonds, graphene, twin headed snakes etc.
From the FCA Financial Crime Conference (1st July 2013)
'The FCA receives over 4,500 reports a year relating to fraud, with the average consumer detriment reported to the FCA in excess of £1 million a month. Proactively tackling such scams as boiler rooms together with consumers becoming more savvy about new kinds of fraud has, however, led to a significant reduction in those who have contacted the FCA who have actually invested in such scams from 768 in 2011 to 97 so far this year. Current investment fraud concerns for the team include: pension liberation fraud; inheritance fraud; rare earth metals; diamonds; carbon credits and fraud relating to overseas land and property.'
Please note that this list is regularly updated, while the directory on www.investdrinks.org was last updated on 17th October 2008. Although the information was correct at that date, it does not reflect any changes subsequent to that date and there are no plans to update 'the directory' on investdrinks.org.
1855 Fine Wine Investments Ltd: formed 3.11.2011 yet claims 'Generating consistent and long-term investment returns for its clients'.
Arlington Wine Portfolios Ltd. Company established on 26.1.2010. Didn't trade in year to 30.11.11. Failed to file annual return on time leading to a complusory strike-off proposal on 5.3.2013, which was withdrawn on 12.3.2013 when return was filed. Director and address links with The London Vines Ltd. Has website but currently a holding page: http://arlingtonwineportfolios.com/
Artemis Bellet Ltd: Company incorporated in April 2010 dissolved 26th July 2011 no return or accounts filed.
AS Fine Wine – trading name of As Incorporated Ltd. Although company set up 27.7.2011, claims to be established with a good track record. Website gives no indication of who runs company and contact address is a virtual office on London's Regent Street.
1.2.2012: Company uncontactable with a number of customers awaiting wines to be delivered to the bonded warehouse. Follow on company called Alexander Barclay Wines Ltd formed in August 2011. 27.2.2012: voluntary strike off application. 25.6.13: Proposal to strike off – no accounts or returns filed.
5.4.2012: Went into liquidation owing £1.5 million with apparently the only assets £30,000-£40,000 of en primeurs believed to be 2009s. Joint liquidation between Grant Thornton and Abbot Fielding.
Blakeney Bridge Wines Ltd: founded 10.6.2011 initially as London Wine Traders Ltd, changed name 6.10.2011. No accounts filed. Serviced/virtual offices. Company's wine prices are substantially higher than can be found elsewhere.
25.6.13: Accounts and returns filed.
Boltons Investments Ltd: founded by Vincenzo Tagliavia in 2006. Has gone into liquidation – early September 2013. Financial figures on Duedil suggest why the company become insolvent.
Bordeaux Claret Consultancy Ltd set up on 2.9.2013. 25-year-old Chris Vines is sole director. Registered office in Croydon, serviced offices in East London.
From website: 'For the last 25 years, we have been utilising our deep knowledge to structure and tailor strategic portfolios of fine wines within the Bordeaux region, helping both first time investors and long standing wine connoisseurs build their collections.'
Company's tax advice is not in line with current position as set out by HMRC:
Coverage in Mirror of Bordeaux Fine Wines Ltd. See also comments on an investdrinks post.
Gundlach is a keen race horse owner and Bordeaux Fine Wines Ltd sponsored the 2012 ROA (Racehorse Owners Association) Horseracing Awards on 6th December 2012.
22nd June 2013: company's website is now up for sale*. Gundlach has now set up Bordeaux Merchants Ltd – incorporated on 29.5.2013. Registered office and trading address is given as 52 High Street Pinner Middlesex HA5 5PW. Is Bordeaux Merchants Ltd about to take over from Bordeaux Fine Wines Ltd?
Gundlach is also a director of Invest in Storage Ltd, Capital Wealth Venture Ltd, Dmlg Ltd (provides leads), Driving Made Simple Ltd and Hunter & Reynolds Ltd:
From the net:
15th September 2013:Bordeaux Fine Wines Ltd's registered office and trading address is now the Lansdowne Building, 2 Lansdowne Road, Croydon CR9 2ER. These are serviced offices run by Regus.
2nd January 2014: Following a petition to the High Court from the Insolvency Service, Bordeaux Fine Wines Ltd was put into provisional liquidation in the public interest on 19th December 2013. The petition will be heard on 26th February 2014.
Ken Gundlach is closing several of his companies: Bordeaux Merchants, Hunter & Reynolds and Invest in Storage are down for voluntary strike-off with the first gazettes published on 5.11.2013. Dmlg has changed its name to Sales Recruit Ltd – its website is currently 'undergoing urgent maintenance'.
Bordeaux Merchants Ltd: see Bordeaux Fine Wines Ltd
Bordeaux NZ: one man band (James Colley) based in Auckland, New Zealand with the only contact a cellphone. The website claims a team of consultants. Colley, however, admitted to the New Zealand Herald that this claim is a fantasy. Colley's only previous experience of the fine wine market was a seven month stint with UK based Capital Vintners Ltd – another company from whom I would not buy wine. NZ Herald article here. See here for answers James Colley gave to the New Zealand Herald from Bordeaux NZ's website.
'Bordeaux NZ is a fine wine investment brokerage firm based in New Zealand. We provide a simple and cost effective solution to trading investment grade fine wine as a commodity on the open market.
Bordeaux Wine Consultancy Ltd: Founded 26.1.11. Company website is vague about who runs company and their experience. Share capital: £1. Registered office originally in Bromley but registered office and trading address now in Soho Square is a serviced office and meeting rooms. Website claims profits from wine investments invariably free of capital gains and no mention of inheritance tax. Sole director: 32-year-old Paul Ricketts
18.11.2013: A mention of inheritance tax has now been added and CGT amended. Website claims 'years of expertise'.
Bordeaux Wine Consultants Ltd: Founded 29.10.2013. Dissolved 23.4.2013. No accounts filed. Directors included 34-year-old Dean Doughty and 38 year-old Matthew Hart (both Encarta Fine Wines Ltd)
14.2.14: accounts overdue since 30.9.13
Capital Bordeaux Investments Ltd: This company and Capital Bordeaux Vintners share the same address – serviced offices at 68 Lombard Street, London EC3V 9LJ. (68 Lombard Street is a popular address for wine investment companies – also used by European Fine Wines Ltd.) Formed 24.4.2012.
Claims wine investment is tax free. Sole director: 24-year-old Scott Andrews
Cheap and nasty website.
Update: 5th August 2013: annual return is overdue since 22nd May 2013.
14.11.2013: annual return still overdue.
14.2.14: accounts overdue since 24.1.14
Sole director is 26-year-old Dean Page. Proposal to strike off
Capital Fine Wine Ltd: founded in August 2010 Website claims: 'When it comes to selling your wine or realising your funds, let Capital Fine Wine do all the hard work so you can enjoy your hard earned profits without any headaches.
Update 9.8.2013: company was dissolved 26.2.2012. Company had three directors.
Capital Fine Wines Ltd: Founded 3.7.2012. Sole director is 36-year-old Douglas Dalglish. Registered office: Dunwoody House, Willow Grove, Chislehurst, Kent BR7 5BU. Duedil list this as the trading address. However, the company's website gives contact details at 37th Floor Canary Wharf – Regus serviced offices. No mention of director on company website and Liv-ex performance graph dates from August 2010. Claim: 'Our extensive list of contacts and the close relationships we have forged with our wholesalers and advisors help us to provide and unrivalled service to our clients. Company's first annual return is now overdue – 31.7.2013.
Capital Vintners Ltd: Founded 1.7.05, dormant company until 31.7.08; unlikely claims on website.Serviced offices/accommodation address.
11.10.2012: website appears to have disappeared. No accounts filed – first accounts overdue and should have been filed on 21.7.2012.
Proposal to strike off. First Gazette published 4.6.2013. Earlier complusory strike off suspended in 2012.
22.6.13: Annual return overdue since 21.3.2013.
2013: Accounts overdue from 31.3.2013. Annual return overdue since 21.7.2013.
14.2.14: proposal to strike off – first gazette 3.12.13
'The fact that an investment in the wine market remains free from Capital Gains Tax is yet another attraction, this is due to its classification of ‘a wasting asset or chattel’ i.e. we would expect the wine to be consumed within fifty years.'
(Embassy Fine Wines Ltd. Dissolved 4.9.2012)
Embassy Wine UK Ltd: Founded 28.6.2011. 17 Ensign House, Admirals Way, London E14 – accommodation address. Sole director is Jonothan Piper.
Update: 15.8.2013:accounts overdue since 30.6.2013, annual return overdue since 26.7.2013.
14.11.13: Voluntary strike off suspended (2.10.2013)
Update: 9.8.2013 – annual return now again overdue 6.8.2013.
14.11.13: annual return and accounts now filed.
Current registered office: 3rd Floor, 2007 Regent Street, London W1B 3HE – mailbox address:
'Welcome to our Regent Street mail address services section.
We provide the opportunity for companies, businesses and individuals to use this prestigious London W1 location for mail forwarding and as a registered office address.'
Trading address: St Georges House, 2 Bromley Road, Beckenham, Kent BR3 5JE
Ethical Elegance Ltd: Company founded 25.10.2006. Dormant accounts to 31.10.2011. Registered office changed 5.3.2013 to 145-157 St John Street, London – a well known accommodation address, mail forwarding and virtual office. 30-year-old Craig Philip O'Driscoll appointed director 5.3.2013. Ethical Elegance Ltd's website claims to have been trading for over seven years, despite accounts being dormant until end of October 2011. Claims expertise in diamonds and exchanging assets – wine, diamonds, art, gold and silver. 'With over 100 years combined experience in the industry' is an unlikely claim from website. 'Here at Ethical Elegance we use a fully regulated FSA company to handle all of client’s money for a smooth efficient transaction.' No mention of the FSA regulated company. Furthermore the FSA no longer exists. Companies are now regulation by the FCA (Finanical Conduct Authority).
14.11.2013: This briefly active company went into voluntary liquidation on 29.10.2013.
14.7.2013: Two European Fine Wines Ltd directors have been banned from being directors for 11 years each. They are: David Evans (DOB: 28.5.1953) banned from 10.7.2013 to 9.7.2024 and Scott Assemakis (DOB: 15.1.1980) banned from 8.7.2013 to 7.7.2024. They both resigned as directors of European Fine Wines on 28th June 2013. On the same day Assemakis and Evans also resigned as directors from Sawa Wines Ltd (registered and trading address: 68 Lombard Street) formed 6.6.2012 – original name – European Fine Wines (2012) Ltd. Annual return is now overdue: 4.7.2013.
European Fine Wines Ltd has been mooted as a possible candidate for membership of the WIA (Wine Investment Association).
Details see Tony Hetherington Mail on Sunday (14.7.2013):
FCF Associates Ltd trading as FCF Investments. Founded 10.10.2011. Two directors: 38-year-old Matthew Simon Guy and 34-year-old Steven David Carruthers. Ludicrously optimistic projections on over-priced wines. 15% service charge!
17.5.2013: Trial of four accused started at Southwark Crown Court. The trial covers both Nouveau World Wines Ltd and Finbow. The accused are Daniel Snelling, Dina Snelling, Rebecca McDonald and Simon Dempsey. They face various counts of conspiracy to defraud and money laundering. The trial is expected to last some 10 weeks.
Update: Daniel Snelling, Dina Snelling and Rebecca McDonald found guilty and jailed. Simon Dempsey found not guilty.
Company dissolved: 17.7.12. Have received several messages from investors saying they haven't received wines they ordered.
The website and phones of Fine Wine Solutions based at Level 18, 40 Bank Street (HQ3), Canary Wharf, E14 5NR – serviced offices – appear to be still in operation even though the company is dissolved. The company's brochure can be downloaded with the company number (05382056) shown.
According to the website:
First Capital Financial Ltd – trade as First Capital Fine Wine Investments – Company set up 10.10.2011. Using Lix-ex logo without permission. Tax advice wrong especially on Capital Gains and Inheritance Tax. Nonsense claim inside knowledge of what Robert Parker's scores on particular wines will be in the future.
Name changed to FCF Associates Ltd 30th April 2013.
Founding and current sole director is 33-year-old Leon Hawthorne, whose other directorship was Hawthorne & Hawthorne, which was dissolved 14.12.2010 and based at
5.9.2013: Proposal to strike off. Accounts overdue since 30.9.2012 and return since 21.9.2012.
Heritage Vintners Ltd: formed 30.11.2011, cold calls, likely accommodation address at 41 Lothbury. £1 share capital. I received two messages last year about Heritage Vintners Ltd (March and June). In both cases I said I would not buy from this company. Annual return is overdue since 28.12.2012 and accounts since 30.8.2013.
Johnston & Carter Ltd: 'specialists in coloured diamonds'. Reports of cold calling cleints of The London Vines Ltd offering to buy their wines. Post with more etails here.
Kingsley Judd: Claims to be one of the 'leading Bordeaux wine traders specialising in investment grade French wines'. No indication where the company is registered – certainly not listed at UK Companies House. Addresses given in Hong Kong, France and UK – all serviced or virtual offices. Infers links with leading UK auction houses.
Le Bordeaux Wines Ltd. Founded 9.10.12. 25-year-old Jonathan Charles Braybrook sole director. Registered office and trading address 88 Wood Street, London EC2V 7RS – serviced office. Annual return overdue since 6.11.13.
14.2.2014: A 25-year-old man in London has been arrested by Staffordshire Police, so far, on suspicion of fraud by false representation and conspiracy to defraud. around £1 million belived to have been invested in wine through the company.
Anyone who has fallen victim to Le Bordeaux Wines Limited, or has had any contact with the company, is urged to contact DC Chris Pope at Staffordshire Police on 101 quoting incident number 258 of 9 December 2013, or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.
Braybrook is also the sole director of Le Bordeaux Wine Shed Limited founded on 5.10.12, also at 88 Wood Street. He is also a director of Jb Trading & Co Ltd with its registered office and trading address at 11 Burns Road, London, SW11 5AD. Both of these companies are in the process of being dissolved.
London Wine Brokers Ltd Founded 17.9.08. Dissolved 4.5.10 No return or accounted filed
London Wine Futures Trading Ltd, Founded 1.9.10. 2 Bath Place, Rivington Street, Old Street, London EC2A 3DR – serviced office. Dissolved: 24.4.2012 London Wine Shop Ltd: Founded 4.8.09. evidence of selling well above the price these wines can be bought from other companies.
LWEX Ltd: founded 20.12.2012. Cold calls. City of London serviced office but contact number in East London. Current director is 24-year-old Frederick Hughes. No accounts filed – so no track record. 25-year-old Chris Vines was initial director, now director of Bordeaux Claret Consultancy Ltd set up on 2.9.2013.
Mayfair Worldwide Trading Ltd (first posted 22.11.2013): founded 14.8.2013, sole director 32 year old Adam Edwards (no previous directorship experience), serviced office address in Mayfair. Claims to be 'Trusted Worldwide' – remarkable achievement in just three months. Looks to offer asset exchange for coloured diamonds as well as graphene. Cold calls.
Problems with graphene investments
Also offering to exchange wine for graphene:
One potential client phoned out of the blue and offered £6800 worth of graphene for wine being listed for sale on wine-searcher for £3900.The wine had been bought from European Fine Wines. I would hang onto my wine – this deal doesn't add up. Asset exchange or an asset strip?
28.7.2013: Current director is 26-year-old Atalay Mustafa, who is also a director of Liquid Assets Management Ltd.
Update: Vinance PLC in liquidation
Murdoch & Chase is not a UK limited company. Does have a glossy but uninformative website (full of vacuous puffery but no meat) – no mention of who is involved in the organisation etc.. Website was registered on 29th May 2013. Funnily enough Murdoch & Chase Asset Management is also based at Tower 42, 25 Old Broad Street, London EC2N 1HN. They claim to be experts in 'stagnant asset release'! Under investigation by City of London Trading Standards. Have been contacting clients of Worldwide Wine Investments Ltd.
20.10.10: company In liquidation and under police investigation. A number of arrests made, those arrested on bail.
16.4.2012: five charged with conspiracy to defraud and money laundering. Similar charges for five in Finbow Fine Wines.
17.5.2012: Trial of four accused started at Southwark Crown Court. The trial covers both Nouveau World Wines Ltd and Finbow. The accused are Daniel Snelling, Dina Snelling, Rebecca McDonald and Simon Dempsey. They face various counts of conspiracy to defraud and money laundering. The trial is expected to last some 10 weeks.
Update: 22.7.2013 – Daniel Snelling, Dina Snelling and Rebecca McDonald found guilty. Simon Dempsey not guilty. Daniel Snelling a serial fraudsters involved in other dubious investments – biofuels and diamonds – after his arrest.
Optimum Fine Wines Ltd, founded 9th July 2012. Sole director 21-year-old Harry Mosley. Its registered office is New Bond House, 124 New Bond Street, London W1S 1DX but it actually trades from Croydon. Cold calls and aggressive sales tactics reported. No mention of director on website, no registered or trading address shown. Claims to have 150 full time staff and 'several years combined experience in fine wine' – wonderfully vague.
27.2.14: Optimum Fine Wines Ltd will sell you five cases of wine for £10,000 that can be bought elsewhere for only £6155. Details to follow. Profitable business for Harry Mosley but thins investors wallets!
Premier Bordeaux Wine Company Ltd. Same address as now defunct Premier Bordeaux Wines (London) Ltd. Founded 3.12.09. Sole director is 44-year-old Jennifer Scorey. She was also the sole director and company secretary of the defunct Premier Bordeaux Wines (London) Ltd. However, Premier Bordeaux Wine Company Ltd was a vehicle for serial scamster Spyros Constantinos. As Spyros Constantinos is disqualified from being a UK director from 21.7.2008 to 20.7.2017 he would appear to be illegally acting as a shadow director here.
Update 9.8.2013: Company is under investigation by Tower Hamlets Trading Standards. A first gazette to dissolve the company was published on 6.12.2011 but the dissolution was suspended on 15.2.2012.
Apparently linked to Sophelna Ltd – founded 2.11.2012; dssolved 9.7.2013. Sole director: Emmett Gerard Joseph Lenaghan. Lenaghan was a director of Parker Knoll Upholstery Ltd and is currently a director of Julian Bowen Ltd (appointed 1.7.2010.
Prestige Wine Collections: Not a limited company so no indication of who is running company. London address is a serviced office.
Sanderson Forbes Ltd: company founded 27.4.2010 – £1 capital. Dormant accounts to 28.2.2011. Website created 28.1.2011. Incorrect claims that profits from wine investment are invariably tax-free. Lack of track record. 'Flying pig' claim of 15% average annual return. Highly unlikely in falling market and anyway Sanderson Forbes Ltd has only be operating for a short time. Linus Hornsey-Pennell is head of operations and the sole active director. He was previously broker with Boltons Investments.
29.4.2013: the company appears to have disappeared. Website domain up for sale and phone number not recognised.
SAWA Wines Ltd: formerly European Fine Wines (2012) Ltd. Founded 6.6.12. Name change 20.9.12
Select Bordeaux Ltd: Founded 28.10.09. Registered office is virtual – a telephone answering service.
17.1.2014: Sole director is is 29-year-old Salman Rahman. Both the accounts (since 31.12.13) and the annual return (25.11.13) are overdue.
The Ideal Wine Company
25.6.13: London Vines Ltd has a book value of £2748 according to Duedil
13.12.12: Now at 13 Holywell Row, London EC2 4JF. A google search notes that: 535 companies also use this postcode, this is probably a mail forwarding service address.
31st July 2013: The London Vines Ltd seems to have disappeared, apparently having failed to buy all of the wine that its clients ordered.
The London Vines Ltd has two directors: 33-year-old Barry Michael Gamble (appointed 26th January 2010) and 42-year-old Robert Phillips (appointed 9th April 2013) – Phillips was a director of Arlington Wine Portfolios from 15th March 2012 to 14th May 2013. Gamble was a director of Imperial Wines of London Ltd from 21st May 2008 to 1st January 2010. investdrinks understands that Gamble and Phillips are blaming each other for the collapse of the company and the failure to buy sufficient wine.
13.11.2013: The company went into liquidation on 31st October 2013. The liquidator is Joanna Wallace of Findlay James. There would appear to be a number of clients who have not received their wines. At present it is not possible to say what the final deficit will be. A number of companies have contacted clients of The London Vines Ltd offering to sell their wine. investdrinks suggests that these offers should be treated with care. How, for example, did these companies get hold of the address details of clients of the The London Vines Ltd?
UK Fine Wine Investments Ltd: Company founded on 5th January 2011. However:
Veblen Wines Ltd: Over optimistic tax advice (from their brochure*):
Another of the incredible advantages of this market is that in the UK there are no taxes on profits made and there is no upper limit to investments made in fine table wines. This equates to TAX FREE PROFITS. Fine wines are also considered to be ‘wasting assets’ which therefore are not subject to capital gains tax. Investments in fine wines therefore are CAPITAL GAINS TAX FREE. This makes an investment in fine wines different from many other investments, allowing you to keep your profits.'
Duedil currently lists the company's book value as - £68,871 GBP
https://www.duedil.com/company/06756983. Its sole director is 32-year-old Lazare James Morel.
17.10.12: latest accounts again overdue since 30.6.2012.
21.10.12: Charge well above going rate for First Growths from lesser vintages.
16.11.12: went into administration. Herron Fisher appointed. Deficit not yet known.
17.5.2013: went into voluntary liquidation.
We expect all candidates who wish to apply to be; Target Driven, Money Hungry and Hard Working. Experience in telephone sales is essential, however training is provided. Candidates with a proven sale's track history will have a much greater advantage in being successful.’ (Knowledge of fine wine not mentioned but previous experience of cold calling presumably an advantage.)
- Opener’s duties include: calling up and pitching new prospective clients explaining the benefits to investing within the fine wine market, start to build a trusting relationship with the client.
- Closer’s duties include: calling up prospective clients who have expressed an interest to invest in the fine wine market from the conversation with the opener, explaining the market in more depth and closing the deal.
- Loader’s duties include: up selling and maintaining clients as well as informing them of any market trends and movements within this arena.
28.11.13: appear to be more efficient at selling wine to their clients than selling wine for them.
Vino Bay Assets Ltd: cold calls.
28.7.2013: currently two directors: 71-year-old Norma Elizabeth Stone and 69-year-old Yohai Abraham.
Update 8.9.12: Laurence Adams resigned as a director on 29.8.2012. On same day Grant Burberry was appointed as director. Octavian has closed Vin Bordelais' bonded warehouse account. Vin Bordelais is now using EHD bond.
Went into voluntary liquidation on 18.2.13. Liquidators Nedim Allyan (Sidcup) and Alexander Kinnmouth (Eastleigh).
Vintage Bordeaux Ltd: set up 2.12.2009. Registered and official trading address: Imperial House, 21-25 North Street, Bromley, Kent, BR1 1SD but belived to operate from an address close to East Croydon Station. The company did not trade during ys/e 31.12.10 and 31.12.11, so started trading in 2012. According to Duedil Vintage Bordeaux Ltd has a book value of minus £1,024.Michael Joseph Solle is the only director. He is also a director of M.J.S. Consultancy (London) Limited. Solle is believed to have worked at Bordeaux Fine Wines Ltd, where apparently he preferred to be called Joseph Stanley. The East Croydon address is conveniently close to BFW's former trading premises, so a number of old friends may have been reunited. Company cold calls, offering a case (12 bottles) of 1995 Mouton-Rothschild at £4620. Apparently no website.
Vintage Bordeaux Wines Ltd:Incorporated 18.3.2011.Registered office: 68 King William Street, London EC4N 7DZ. No accounts filed – overdue since 18.12.2012. Annual return overdue since 15.4.2013. Proposal to strike off with First Gazette issued: 27.8.13. Sole director is 34-year-old Mark Oscar.
Update: compulsory strike off suspended: 24/09/2013.
Vintage Wine Investors: highly unlikely claims (50% profit in three months) and offers from a company that is not registered in the UK with no indication on its website if it is registered elsewhere. Virtual office/accommodation address. Website registered in Canada. Appear to be linked to Classic Bordeaux Vintners – another scam to be avoided.
The company founded on 10th July 1989 as Nerigrass Ltd, changing its name to Safety Watch Ltd (11.10.89), to Kestral Holdings Ltd (20.12.91) and to Vin-X Ltd on 10.3.2010. It has been run since 1990 by Peter Shakeshaft. The company's accounts were dormant until 31.3.95 with the first full set of accounts covering the period to 31.3.96.
The background in 'stockbroking' is unfortunate as a number of those involved in Vin-X Ltd were also involved in Wills & Co Ltd (fullname: Wills & Co Stockbrokers Limited), which was censured by the FSA and later closed in the High Court.
On 31st October 2007 Wills & Co were fined £49,000 by the FSA (Financial Services Authority) 'on the basis of failings in its sales practices, the information provided to its customers and its systems and controls'. The FSA required the company to put these right by 23rd December 2007. Wills & Co confirmed to the FSA that the required remedial actions had been carried out.
May 2008: 'The FSA visited Wills & Co in May 2008 to assess whether it had implemented the remedial actions required by the settlement agreement and rectified the failings identified in the 2007 Final Notice. As part of the visit, the FSA identified similar failings in sales practices and compliance monitoring as set out in the 2007 Final Notice. The FSA reviewed a further 19 transactions between 17 January and 17 March 2009 as part of its Enforcement investigation and identified similar failings in sales practices and compliance monitoring as set out in the 2007 Final Notice.' (from FSA Final Notice 16th February 2010).
17th February 2010: The FSA 'stopped Wills & Co Stockbrokers Limited (Wills & Co) from giving investment advice, because of its poor sales practices. This includes poor risk warnings and misleading information to its high-risk penny share customers. The firm will no longer be able to provide recommendations to retail customers on buying shares.'
Peter Shakeshaft was the Group CEO (Wills & Co Financial Group plc) and was a director of Wills & Co Stockbrokers Ltd from 23.8.2010 to 10.5.2011. Staff at Vin-X Ltd include Darren Lansdown, associate director, previously a director at Wills & Co Ltd and censured by the FSA and Guy Hemphill, a salesman with Wills & Co Ltd. Please see Shakeshaft's comments below:
Further details on Wills & Co Ltd:
'6.2: For the reasons set out above, Mr Lansdown did not demonstrate the degree of competence expected under the regulatory system in carrying out his (CFI Director) function. Such failings seriously undermined the protection and fair treatment of Wills & Co's customers and confidence in the financial services industry.
Also Wills & Co were described by Tony Hetherington in the Mail on Sunday (6.11.11): 'Wills & Co were as dodgy as they come.'
Vin-X Ltd is represented by pha media – see here.
Peter Shakeshaft responded to comments made on Motley Fool in relation to Wills & Co and to Vin-X here. Lansdown and Katharine Pritchard, the compliance director of Wills & Co, were censured for failing to deal adequately with the issues the FSA raised in 2007. Lansdown and Pritchard did not contest the FSA's findings.
17.9.12: comment from Peter Shakeshaft:
'As far as I am concerned I have told you I was not a director of stockbrokers whilst it held its FSA license. I have told you that I have owned Vin-X (formally Kestral) since 1990. Your blog should allude to both those facts. I was not fined nor was I publicly censured by the FSA following the stockbrokers notice. I was commended by its Administrators for not washing my hands and walking away and becoming a director to effect (with the Administrators) an orderly wind down. I am a Corporate Financier and as a consequence on the other side of a chinese wall ! I had no idea of what was occurring within stockbrokers (or any complaints) until after 2007 when I instantly (with The FSA's knowledge) took decisive action. As a corporate financier I had no understanding of running a stockbroking house and left that to others more qualified. The FSA after 2007 still expected me to maintain a chinese wall. Which I did.'
Wine Asset Ltd: Amazingly high prices for ordinary Bordeaux wines with no investment potential. See warning on This is Money Company registered in Belize.
Wines World Wide Ltd: incorporated 1st July 2013. Registered office: 23 Admiral House, Rivergate, Peterborough PE1 1ES, United Kingdom – given on 192 as an address for Paul Freeman but not on Electoral Roll. Sole director: 48-year-old Paul Freeman (DOB: 9.9.1964). Paul Freeman also is the sole shareholder with 100 shares@£1. (May well be the return of Peterborough's favourite son after spells in Rotterdam, Monte Carlo and Tamarin in Mauritius.)
Wines World Wide Ltd should not be confused with Worldwide Wine Investments Ltd.
June 2013: company disappeared some time ago. Proposal to strike off – First Gazette published 21.5.2013. Appears to have bought some but not all of the wine ordered by its clients. See post here:
Woolf Sung Ltd: Company founded 29.6.2012.The sole director is 33-year-old Sebastian Joseph Woolf. Cold calling a number of clients of the disappeared The London Vines ltd.
Worldwide Wine Investments Ltd (dissolved 28.9.10 on voluntary strike off)
Worldwide Wine Investments Ltd (Mark 2): Founded 28.3.2007 as Clearpoint Trading Ltd. Changed name 15.10.2010. Dormant company accounts made up to 31.3.2010. Milton Keynes address is virtual office. Cold calls, no track record for en primeur sales. 'These so called "investment-grade wines" from the Bordeaux region are finite as the 1855 French regulation restricts vineyards expansion.' What '1855 regulation' would this be?
28.7.2013: Proposal to strike off for non-compliance: accounts overdue since 30.6.12 and annual return since 8.3.13. Company has had a number of directors including 43-year-old Geraint Jones and 46-year-old David Nicol (14.11.2013 - now 47 years old).
23.10.2013: Police arrest three people (including one 47 year-old man) in Essex in connection with their over a year old investigation into the company. Arrests made on suspicion of fraud and money laundering. Suspects on police bail. Clients of Worldwide Wine Investments Ltd have been contacted by Murdoch & Chase and Spencer & Elstein Ltd .
Worldwide Wealth Collections Ltd: founded 11.7.2011. See Mirror investigation here. In liquidation – liquidator appointed 5th March 2013. Sole director was 44-year-old Nicholas Jones.
Page last updated: 27th February 2014