Grand designs from Dolphin Trust



If you want to invest in Dolphin Trust , you can watch a video advertising Canisius Careee, one of Dophin Trust’s investments. These are “real pictures”.

It’s property backed – it’s German – you get a first charge  and the bloke doing the voiceover sounds like someone you’d have a drink with – what could possible go wrong?

Screenshot 2019-05-25 at 07.12.07

Remember – these are “real pictures’ (even if the video is 2 years old).

The reality is rather different

The true narrative behind the Dolphin Trust scam is brilliantly told on Radio Four’s You and Yours program.

Listen to the program here

You can follow the sad stories of the victims through this BBC article by Shari Vahl.

It’s a narrative that – told by an unregulated investment salesman- proved irresistible to thousands of people with savings and pensions.

I know who these salesmen are, some are in my Pension Play Pen linked in group and one or two are actually connected to me on linked in. They are integrated into the financial advisory community but they are not regulated.

Here are some more of  the people who have been selling Dolphin Trust

There’s Tim Blogg (@tractorboy on twitter)

There’s James Hall

There’s William Butterwick

and in Ireland , there’s Cormac Smith

Then there’s the man who’s responsible for producing financial accounts for Dolphin International- Tom O’Connell.  The problem is there are no recent accounts

And of course there’s (ex) CEO Charles Smethurst , the man who promised to send a million dollars every day to Singapore to pay back the Singapore investors.

This is the video used to explain what Dolphin was about to Far Eastern Investors

Here’s Charles being interviewed in 2012 about Dolphin. Explaining how secure Dolphin is to investors. It includes at minute 6 a detailed explanation of the exit strategy.

Where there’s no financial capability – there’s Dolphin Trust

You can of course find out more about Dolphin Trust and its nefarious behaviour by visiting Angie Brooks’ pension life site.. Angie has been campaigning about the risks of investing in Dolphin (now German Property Group) for some time.

In September 2016 she wrote about  the exposure of the Trafalgar Multi Asset Fund

After the disasters of failed pension schemes Capita Oak, Henley and Westminster (aggregate of £20 million lost to over 500 victims through investments in Store First store pods – wound up by the Insolvency Service), there are now concerns about the suspended Trafalgar Multi Asset Fund of £20 million.  The board of directors have published the below report and are investigating how this fund came to be mostly invested in one asset: Dolphin property development loans.

In fact, Dolphin was one of the assets of Stephen Ward’s London Quantum scam which is now in the hands of Dalriada Trustees (appointed by the Pensions Regulator).  Dalriada stated a year ago that Dolphin was not a suitable investment for a pension scheme and yet the investment manager of Trafalgar has invested most of the fund in Dolphin.

The unlicensed adviser to the victims was also the investment manager of the Trafalgar fund.  The advisory firm, Global Partners Limited – which then changed its name to The Pension Reporter – was an agent of a firm called Joseph Oliver and was not licensed to give pension or investment advice.

It seems that certain vulnerable people are condemned to suffer scams such as Dolphin because no-one is prepared to shut down firms like Dolphin and stop the salesmen selling this rubbish from doing so.

Dolphin Trust is not new news, but the You and Yours expose makes doing something about the sales ecosystem that still exists in the UK , that much more possible.

In the couple of hours that I’ve been looking at Dolphin Trust, I’ve noted that Dolphin Trust was recommended by Darren Reynolds and Andrew Deeney of Active Wealth Management to people he was advising on BSPS benefits

Andrew is now at Fortuna Wealth Management having left Active behind him. Darren Reynolds has not been heard of since trying to explain the charges on the pension solution he sold to those transferring out of BSPS.

I’ve noted that Dolphin Trust was also linked to FCA regulated advisers Gerrard Associates, which like Active Wealth Management – used its regulatory status to scam the vulnerable.

Last weekend I said in the Times that it is time the FCA and tPR got on the front foot and stopped the ongoing sales of unregulated investments and the kind of fractional scamming sold by Active Wealth Management under the cover of legitimate SIPPs.

I will say it again, as Baroness Altmann said on You and Yours. It is not enough for the FCA to know what’s going on, it’s got to stop what’s going on and that means making it clear that those who have sold these funds in the past, don’t sell funds in the future. That means just about everyone mentioned in this blog (though I exclude Ros, Angie and the presenters of You and yours!)

Of course this isn’t an inclusive list and yes there are probably hundreds of other salespeople both in the UK and abroad who’ve sold Dolphin Trust and would sell similar as long as it had a 20% sales commission sticker on it.

And if you go back to the top of this blog, you’ll find the people who are still promoting Dolphin Trust on the web and – guess what – they all live in this country and can be contacted using the links supplied.

About henry tapper

Founder of the Pension PlayPen,, partner of Stella, father of Olly . I am the Pension Plowman
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5 Responses to Grand designs from Dolphin Trust

  1. Adrian Boulding says:

    The answer is Authorisation. Master Trusts are now under an authorisation regime and it has enabled TPR to remove around 1 in 2 master trusts from the market. The weak, the sub-scale, the dodgy, the well-intentioned but under-resourced, and those who had so little idea what they were doing that that they hadn’t even realised they were a Master Trust have all been weeded out.

    Only good master trusts remain, that pose no threat to the security of investors money.

    It was very hard work for all concerned, but this sort of story shows how important authorisation regimes are.

    Anything that uses the word “trust” should be inside an authorisation regime.


  2. henry tapper says:

    I think the problem is primarily in the SSAS and SIPP space where you don’t see many trustees. The FCA has a job of work to do with SIPP platform regulation. SSAS – gutted of trustees – is the tender underbelly

  3. SW Lee says:

    You may want to add these two who are really made up of the same people responsible for the grief they visited on investors in Asia and Singapore as Shenton Holdings, marketing agent and business partner of Dolphin Trust.

  4. MM says:

    German Property Group Ltd Company number 06148897 (UK subsidiary) accounts due TODAY 30.09.2019. See Companies House.

  5. Pingback: I’ve lost my pension pot – somewhere in Germany – what should I do? | AgeWage: Making your money work as hard as you do

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