Bond Review is 2 today


Today marks the second anniversary of Bond Review’s first ever article, which happened to be a review of the now sadly notorious London Capital & Finance.

So far Bond Review’s two years have seen:

  • 90 reviews of high-risk unregulated investments promoted to the public
  • 190 further articles bringing you news on the progress of these investments (or lack of it)
  • 8 attempts at legal intimidation
  • Plus a further 2 attempts to remove Bond Review from Google search results by making defamation claims to Google (without making any attempt to contact us directly)
  • 0 court proceedings started
  • 1 fake DMCA takedown
  • 2 offers to buy the domain (and all its content) for an aggregate of £10,000 (to host a site reviewing James Bond films? sure guys)

On the industry side, 2019 saw a spate of collapses in the unregulated investment sector, starting with the high-profile failure of London Capital & Finance.

In 2020 we’ll see what effect, if any, the FCA’s recent ban on minibonds marketing to the general public will have.

The FCA has already confirmed that it expects some existing minibond schemes to collapse as a result of the ban (exactly who is unknown and unknowable). The outlook for minibond schemes in 2020 reminds me of the tagline for The Texas Chainsaw Massacre: “Who will survive and what will be left of them?”

Arguably more important than the effect on existing schemes is whether the ban actually has any effect on the amount of unsophisticated investors’ money going into unsuitable ultra-high-risk investments.

As regular readers will know I am deeply dubious about this. Even before the FCA ban, many companies were paying and will continue to pay lip-service to the idea that all their investors are high-net-worth or sophisticated. And minibonds are only one particular structure. The ban will not affect other types of unregulated schemes, including the ever-popular “invest in our collective property scheme with a fixed yield of 8% per year” which the FCA continues to largely ignore.

The need for consumers to be able easily access the facts about the risks of investing in unregulated investment schemes – as easily as these investments can be promoted to them via Google searches for “best interest rates” is as strong as ever.

Whatever the unregulated investment market dreams up over the next year, if it’s unregulated or quasi-unregulated (e.g. IFISAs investing in a single unregulated company), and promoted to the public, we’ll be there.

Bond Review is now entirely ad-free and funded by donations. If you regularly enjoy or at least appreciate our coverage, please consider a voluntary subscription or one-off donation.

As ever, thank you to those who have donated already. The knowledge that somebody values what I’m doing is as important than the money towards the hosting costs.

What you may have missed in November and December

(A selection of the more in-depth news articles since the last roundup)

Did the FCA withdraw scam warning after legal threats?

Astute Capital publishes accounts, scrubs critical posts from Internet

FCA officials shit on the floor, as well as the bed

Signature Living continues to struggle with repayments, libels owner’s own brother, reports him for fraud

Park First told Russian investors that they’d repaid buyback investors

Carlauren collapse shows it’s not just investors who suffer

3 thoughts on “Bond Review is 2 today

  1. Do you know anything about Marcello Developments and Asset Life. I was advised by what I thought was a brokerage firm called Amya and dealt with Blair Wilson who recommended both companies as good investments I had never heard of either of them. Marcello has had my money since October 2017, with no interest paid and no return of money. Asset Life all I got from them was a letter from David Rubin and Partners to say this company had gone into administration but they had few assets to liquidate did not even own the building they occupied. Again Blair Wilson recommended this company as being a solid and good investment. I have also received a letter from Rews, a recycling company who are asking their bond holders to turn 2year bonds into 4year bonds and no interest payments to be paid from October 2019 to November 2020. Can they do this? Would appreciate any info you have on the above.For the record I have invested in LCF, so now in poor financial health. Many thanks
    Lynne Garner

  2. Lynne Garner – Marcello Developments, Asset Life, Rews and LCF have all been covered on this blog. Use the “Search” at the top of the page to find them.

    You have invested in a large number of unsafe investments. Please do not invest in any more unregulated mini-bonds. Ignore salesmen (they call themselves “brokers”) from companies you have never heard of telling you these are great investments. They are not and never were, they just tell you that so they can collect their inflated commissions (sometimes in excess of 20%).

    If you assume all unregulated mini-bonds are scams you won’t be far off the mark. Stick to boring regulated investments (eg investment funds and savings accounts). Check the FCA register if you are unsure at though even there be on your guard for clone scams where they give themselves a name almost identical to a genuine legitimate company who are on the register.

  3. I have lent funds to REWS and been up to the site in Dudley 3 times. It is a REAL site, owned through a joint venture structure with the existing waste site owner. The founders of this technology worked at another company, and have a searchable background. The REWS technology has now (finally) been built and the Environment Agency (EA) permits for this type of waste treatment (known as pyrolysis) have been granted. REWS wrote to all lenders asking for a grace period as they simply had not completed the build or obtained the permits. The EA had not seen this specific type of process in waste technology before and the guy assigned left the department. This is what happens in business and with technical innovation. I had a 2yr loan and extended – effectively by force – because it was that or see the company wound up. And since I can visit the site and see the fixed assets and validate the model with the EA, I am comfortable this is a business that just needed more time. Lyn – i agree a lot of unregulated investments are scams, but in the case of REWS i would instead describe this as equity dressed up as debt. It is similar to the many EIS schemes, and many investors like to help new companies get off the ground. Stick with REWS, it may succeed in the end.

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