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Friday 13 December 2013

Is the Investors Chronicle corked?

Château Gazin, Pomerol

Today the Investors Chronicle, part of the Financial Times group, has published an article on wine investment entitled: 'Is wine investing corked?' Written by Mark Robinson, 'alternative asset investment expert for Investor’s Chronicle', it makes some good points including a strong warning to avoid cold callers. However, there is one gross inaccuracy when Robinson blames wine investment funds for the losses that too many investors have suffered: 

'Dwindling alternatives - the DIY option
Given that UK investors have lost upwards of £100m since 2008 due to the collapse of dozens of managed wine investment vehicles, we remain highly sceptical about the claims of many managers of wine funds. And we're not alone. In June, the UK Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) banned the promotion of wine funds and other alternative investments to the bulk of retail investors in the UK, while from 31 December fund managers running unit trusts will not be allowed to invest in wine funds and other alternative investments. And while we're certainly not suggesting that every wine investment scheme out there is badly administered, or is misleading with regard to expected rates of return, we believe that the bulk of retail investors would be best served by adopting a DIY approach to wine investment.'

I was contacted yesterday by Speed Communications, a PR company who work for The Investors Chronicle, and given sight of the article before it was published. Naturally I pointed out the inaccuracy about wine funds:

'Managed wine funds
The figure of £100 million lost does not relate to managed wine funds, which as you know come up some financial regulation. The £100 million is a quote from
Nadim Ailyan of Abbots Fielding and refers cold calling companies offering cases of wine as an investment, examples would include Bordeaux UK, Nouveau World Wines etc. The list continues to grow.'   

The estimated £100 million loss quoted in the article has come through scam, cold calling companies offering the DIY alternative. I hope the Investors Chronicle will correct this error. 


  1. Edited comment by anon: Why is Albany Portfolio Management (Amphora Portfolio Management) still being listed as a member of the so-called "Wine Investment Association?" This organisation (The WIA) was founded in the autumn of last year, yet Amphora Portfolio Management still haven't passed the cursory audit that is meant to be a pre-condition for members? They still have "Pending" beside their name (Their old name, not even updated to Amphora Portfolio Management)on the WIA website. This just further proves that the Wine Investment Association is is just a •••• •••. (Watch now, when this topic was raised about Culver Street Trading, miraculously, within 24 hours, the "Pending" was removed from their name. Do these audits even take place? Proof has not been forthcoming ...

  2. Hi Jim, on the subject of the WIA. I want to know how Vin-X can call themselves "the fastest growing wine investment company in the UK". They seem to plaster this term all over their website and marketing gumpf (see here on their site for example

    In what sense are they the fastest growing wine investment company in the UK? Certainly not on turnover or net worth. I also doubt that their team has grown much over the last few years.

    The first of the WIA core aims states:
    1. To seek to safeguard the general public against fraud, malpractice and misrepresentation.

    If Vin-X are making this claim without any proof it would seem like clear misrepresentation to me!

    Interestingly section 4.1 of the WIA code of practice states that members must "clearly disclose the source of any data and the market basis" when quoting market data/prices. Should this also not apply to this sycophantic PR soundbite?

    1. Anon. I don't know which is 'the fastest growing wine investment company in the UK'. One possible candidate would appear to have been Bordeaux Fine Wines Ltd whose turnover grew from £5.9 million in 2010 to £19.3 million in 2012. This growth is likely to be short lived, however, as the company is now in provisional liquidation on petition to the High Court by the Insolvency Service.

  3. Interestingly in a reply to your blog "Any regulatory body for wine investment has to be independent" dated 3rd August 2012 Peter shakeshaft states "I believe we are the fastest growing wine investment business in the UK".

    Is Peter's 'belief' enough to justify priniting the term as gospell on all his published literature and website?

  4. Vin-x accounts now showing net worth of negative £140k, I would hardly say that was growing!!!