A few months after launching its IFISA investments and misleadingly named “cash investments”, reviewed here in April, Grounds has abruptly shut down and announced it is returning investors’ original capital.
Grounds was closely linked to the Dolphin Trust property scheme (now renamed German Property Group) through common personnel.
Grounds raised investment via Nicola “Superwoman” Horlick’s Money & Co platform. The Grounds website now instructs investors to contact Money & Co.
Dolphin / GPG previously raised funds via Money & Co’s P2P platform under the name “Project Seascape”.
According to Horlick, Grounds has decided to pursue other funding routes as a result of the ongoing series of investment scandals in the UK, combined with the negative publicity Dolphin has received over its failure to pay some of its investors on time (around 20% according to Dolphin).
As you know, there have been a number of negative events surrounding property investment in the UK (Lendy, LCF and then the You and Yours item on Dolphin), so they did not think this was the time to raise money through an ISA offering.
Withdrawing from the market and returning already-raised funds seems an extreme reaction to the collapse of an unrelated Ponzi scheme and scandal-hit P2P platform, but it’s their business.
Dolphin investors continue to complain of overdue payments.
Another Dolphin-related company, Vordere plc, which is listed on the AIM market of the London Stock Exchange, has temporarily suspended its shares since 5 July, pending the acquisition of six German properties for €59,290,000.
In 2017 Vordere acquired a number of German properties from Dolphin Trust companies in exchange for shares in Vordere, which constituted a “reverse takeover”.
It seems a safe bet that the six new German properties to be acquired by Vordere will again be coming from Dolphin Trust.
This is of course assuming that Vordere can raise the necessary funds to buy them; its net assets were £24.2m in March 2019 so it will presumably need to raise funds to complete the acquisition.