Hanover Merchant Capital Artesian Water – 5.29% per year plus “up to 30% aggregate market return” after two years for investing in mineral water

Hanover Merchant Capital is offering the opportunity to invest in lease-back contracts for the delivery of mineral water from an aquifer in New Zealand, which pay “annuity type” income of “5.29% guaranteed” each year. After two years, the contract is sold for which Hanover Merchant Capital projects “up to 30% aggregate capital return”, with the caveat that this is “subject to market prices”.

In email promotions, the investment is promoted as offering “NO Capital Depreciation” and “Secure Underwritten Investment”.

Who is Hanover Merchant Capital?

No details are provided on hanovermerchantcapital.co.uk as to who is behind the business.

Hanover Merchant Capital was incorporated in Switzerland in 2016 as Hanover Merchant Capital AG. The Swiss company registry shows that the two “registered persons” were chairman Tahar Keddech (who in May 2018 appears to have been removed as a registered person) and director Michael Gassner.

Hanover Merchant Capital was also incorporated in the UK in December 2015 as Hanover Merchant Capital Limited. The company is 100% owned by Bruce Rowan.

How safe is the investment?

These investments are unregulated commodity contracts and if for any reason Hanover Merchant Capital defaults on the promised payments of 5.29% each year, and Hanover Merchant Capital is unable to find a buyer for your water contract, and cannot make good on its “NO Capital Depreciation” promise, you risk losing up to 100% of your money.

The investment Hanover Merchant Capital is offering is a contract to deliver bottled mineral water from New Zealand. Hanover Merchant Capital says “we trade the water units on a matched bargain basis market trading with buyers and suppliers for physical delivery and transport”.

Commodities are in general an extremely volatile investment. Contracts to deliver bottled water are no exception.

As with any commodity, in 2 years’ time the contracts to deliver this water will only be worth what someone will pay for them. If Hanover Merchant Capital is unable to find a buyer for your water, you risk losing up to 100% of the money you handed over to buy the contract.

Hanover Merchant Capital’s promise of “no Capital Depreciation” is only as good as the company backing it, in this case presumably Hanover Merchant Capital. No details of Hanover Merchant Capital’s financial strength are provided in the investment literature.

Very little mention of these risks is made by Hanover Merchant Capital. The literature also states the investment offers “annuity type income”. Annuities, at least from a UK perspective, are insurance contracts which are guaranteed by regulated insurers who have to meet solvency requirements, and receive 100% protection from the Financial Services Compensation Scheme. Hanover’s water investments are unregulated and have no FSCS-protection.

Illegal financial promotions

Providing financial promotions in the UK requires the company to be regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority.

In their “About us” page, Hanover Merchant Capital claims

The origins of the company started over a decade ago (at the time regulated by the FSA now the FCA) dealing as a financial investment house for private equity clients based in the city of London and the Isle of Man but due to growth and expansion the company merged the private equity division with an International Fund Management company and de-merged the property group which today consists of HMC Holding AG (subsequent FSA regulation was transferred with the equity business separating from the property group). The company de-merged the commercial and residential property asset management portfolios in 2009.

I have read this ludicrous run-on sentence twice and I am still none the wiser on where the FCA/FSA regulation is supposed to have been transferred to – Hanover Merchant Capital in its present incarnation or the other unspecified business(es) which were de-merged from this incarnation.

The UK, Swiss and Liechtenstinian registries show that neither Hanover Merchant Capital Ltd, Hanover Merchant Capital AG nor HMC Holding AG (a company registered in Liechtenstein) existed prior to 2015/2016. Nominet shows that http://www.hanovermerchantcapital.co.uk was registered in August 2016. Hanover’s waffling on about mergers and de-mergers with unnamed companies does not change the fact that there is no concrete evidence that Hanover Merchant Capital existed prior to 2015, much less 2009.

Hanover Merchant Capital does not provide an FCA registration number on its website, nor does it disclose its regulatory status in emails. A search for both Hanover Merchant Capital and HMC Holding on the FCA register provided no results. The inescapable conclusion is that Hanover Merchant Capital is offering financial promotions despite being unauthorised to do so in the UK or any other country in which it operates.

Under the Financial Services and Markets Act, it is a criminal offence for an unregulated firm to offer financial promotions to the UK public.

Should I invest with Hanover Merchant Capital?

This blog does not give financial advice. The following are statements of publicly available facts or widely accepted investment principles, not a personalised recommendation. Investors should consult a regulated independent financial adviser if they are in any doubt.

As with any unregulated investment into individual commodity contracts, this investment is only suitable for sophisticated and/or high net worth investors who have a substantial existing portfolio and are prepared to risk 100% loss of their money.

Any investment offering 5.29% per annum yields plus a projected 30% return after 2 years (a total projected return of 19.3% per year) should be considered extremely high risk. As an individual security with a risk of total and permanent loss, Hanover’s water contracts are higher risk than a mainstream diversified stockmarket fund.

Before investing investors should ask themselves:

  • How would I feel if Hanover was unable to find a buyer for my water contracts, pay the promised 5.29% returns or back up its “NO Capital Depreciation guarantee”, and I lost 100% of my money?
  • Do I have a sufficiently large portfolio that the loss of 100% of my investment would not damage me financially?

If you are looking for an investment which guarantees “no capital depreciation”, you should not invest in unregulated investments with a risk of 100% loss.


70 thoughts on “Hanover Merchant Capital Artesian Water – 5.29% per year plus “up to 30% aggregate market return” after two years for investing in mineral water

  1. No, it’s not safe, it’s an investment in commodity contracts. If all goes bad then you don’t get your money back. That’s what going bad means.

    What does Alliance Southern Lien Securities have to do with it?


  2. Their Web page is down for “Restructuring” what does that mean? All investments are risky except banks and building societies. One’s got to rely on the INTEGRITY of it’s CEO (owner).


  3. Their Web page is down for “Restructuring” what does that mean?

    Could mean anything. Have you asked Hanover Merchant Capital?

    All investments are risky except banks and building societies.

    A meaningless statement equivalent to saying “all water is wet” to justify jumping off a cliff into the sea.

    All investments are risky. Some are medium risk, such as regulated diversified non-geared stockmarket portfolios which have minimal risk of permanently losing money, providing the investor doesn’t panic and cash in. This is an ultra-high-risk investment which has a risk of permanent and total loss if no buyer can be found for your water and Hanover Merchant Capital fails to meet its promise of “guaranteed” returns.

    One’s got to rely on the INTEGRITY of it’s CEO (owner).

    The integrity of the CEO is almost at the bottom of the things you should be relying on. As this is an investment in a company promising a fixed rate of return, what you should be relying on is professional due diligence into the company backing the “guarantee”, including
    * its debt cover ratio and other indicators of its ability to pay its debts
    * its projections of future earnings
    * audited monthly management accounts showing its projections are reasonable.

    And, as this is an investment in commodity contracts, you can add the demand for bottled water in two years’ time.

    Confirming the integrity of the CEO should be just a small part of the start of the due diligence process, an insignificant formality. Plenty of companies have had impeccable CEOs and still gone bust.

    Last time I checked the CEO of Hanover Merchant Capital was unknown in any case. Their website (when it was up) did not disclose who was behind the company. The Swiss company registry identifies a couple of directors but not which is CEO.


  4. I suspect they’ve gone into hiding. They won’t respond to phone calls or emails. I’ve been trying to get my money back for months so I’m not surprised.


  5. I havent had my interest payments for sometime now and I have been chasing but have had no reply either something is wrong here. I was thinking of physically going over to their offices to visit as everytime I have called I have been told they are busy with a client or on a call


  6. Which office were you thinking of visiting? The UK address registered with Companies House (Office 7 35-37 Ludgate Hill EC4M 7JN) is shared by over 1,500 companies, which means it is very likely to be a virtual office.


  7. I have also thought about going to the Ludgate Hill office but there’s no guarantee anyone will be there. I don’t want to lose a days pay and travel costs for nothing.


  8. I have not received my interest this year and no one has answered my email, I think this company is a big con, don’t send them any money


  9. I have eventually received interest on my investments but only after making many phone calls and emails. I have had sleepless nights worrying about this company and their lack of response to all enquiries and now that their web site is down I am beginning to feel even more concerned. This morning I have made calls to Thomas Lucas and Bruce Rowan and left messages asking them to phone me back. I will send another post and let you know if I ever received a reply.


  10. Not recieved mine yet for a few months – I did get a call back advising of high costs due to the move from Africa to Newzealand and that I will recieve a call this week – yet to recieve that – there are a number of addresses … so not sure yet


  11. Originally it was for 5 years eith a get out after three, I don’t know why they moved to New Zealand, I am hoping that my interest shows up soon but I’m not holding my breath.


  12. Thanks for the heads up Shan.

    Technically this is a petition to wind up. If the petition is granted by the court, the company will be wound up and any assets – if any – distributed to creditors. A strike-off is when the company is removed from the Companies House register and ceases to exist; if it has any assets (which would be unusual) they are forfeited to the Crown.

    The Swiss company has been in liquidation since October.


  13. I have been assured by Bruce Rowan that all investors will the given the opportunity to have their investments repaid early in 2019. He said people should begin receiving letters at the end of January. Has anyone else been told this?


  14. I have had about 2 – 3 calls from Bruce, no one else i.e. either Thomas Lucas or Robert Johnson calls me even though I have left multitude of messages. Last call I had was week before last and nothing since. I have been told that all investors will be given an option maximum by june/july but I am so sceptical as there is no information to go by just the calls


  15. Well I am constantly leaving messages on Bruce’s mobile phone, text messages and also with the girls on 02032827188 I bet they are tired of me but I want answers


  16. Michael have you contacted them if so what did they say ? I might contact them when I go back home today to see if I get a response – I am still constantly leaving messages for a call back; the last call I got was 2 weeks back


  17. I’ve just been told by the Bankruptcy Clerk that the winding up petition has been adjourned to 14 February.

    Continually ringing Hanover Merchant Capital is unlikely to achieve anything except more stress. Your options boil down to either a) write off the money or b) take legal advice and risk throwing good money after bad.

    You invested in an unregulated firm which made highly misleading statements about its investment offering and it is very possible that your money is gone.


  18. The landline number printed on hard copy documents 0203 282 7188 is a call forwarding company based in Wales. They can only email them, have no number. Smell a rat?


  19. If on 14th February the petition to wind up the company is agreed are creditors like myself likely to be contacted at all


  20. That makes you a creditor due to Hanover Merchant Capital’s promise to pay you 5.29% of your investment a year. Assuming you invested in the product described in this blog. If a liquidator is appointed you and all the other creditors should be contacted.


  21. When taking out the bonds I was also told that a insurance policy which would cover us this was provided by Alliance Southern Lien Securities L.L.C and have the documentation aside from the contract for this.
    The annual premium was £185 and 5 year cover was £925
    Would it be worth contacting them as I have an email address to see if its still in force and also if there is any cover at all for us the creditors


  22. No insurer acts as a guarantor for an unregulated investment scheme and potential multi-million pound liability for £185 a year.
    Upload the documentation to DocDroid or another PDF upload site, post the link and we can tell you whether the policy does what they claim it does.


  23. I will attempt to upload the documentation I have in the meantime I notice its headed up not as a policy but as A Deferred Consideration Bond not sure what relevance this has


  24. I am also an investor and have not received my annuity despite calls and emails I am being ignored – Bruce Rowan does not return calls or answer emails,in addition to not receiveing any annuity I guess I have to kiss goodbye to my £40,000 which was my entire wealth

    Green i may have been but I am seeing red now!

    is there nothing that can be done?


  25. Trouble is the assets of the company are only around £233,000 and your investment and mine cover around just half of that and we I expect many other large investors out there so its not good.
    I am having someone look into this surety Insurance policy but we don’t even know for sure that the premiums were paid.
    It will be interesting to see what happens on the 14th February when the petition to wind up the company is heard again.
    In saying this I’m not hopeful and for me I have made a huge life changing mistake


  26. I am glad I only made a taster investment, and was suspicious when I was offered more at a 20% discount. I feel sorry for all those people who invested large sums of money with this company


  27. I am seriously considering attending the Bristol High Court to witness the outcome of the winding up petition on 14th February
    Hoping some like minded people will be there not sure what it will achieve apart from knowing the outcome


  28. Hi guys, me and my husband are in the same situation like all of you. We made an investment of 18k and they never return our calls or emails. I’m waiting and hoping that after 14th Feb we can see some money back, at least part of it.

    I’m not sure how the assets will be be divided between all of us so i cannot say how much we should expect.

    If anyone hear something from the the court of if you guys receive something let us know. It will be helpful.

    Finger crossed.


  29. Despite been given assurances from Bruce Rowan that all investors will be “settled in full with accrued dues” it seems unlikely this will happen. I’m afraid my faith in human nature has taken a nosedive and just hope that we can all get something out of this mess. As Alexandra say let’s all keep one another informed.


  30. Hi Steve,
    How did you manage to get in touch with Bruce Rowan? Or how did you hear that he is promising a full settlement to the investors?
    That would be helpful if you make us aware of the source you have.
    Is there anything public online somewhere?


  31. I was told by Thomas Lucas when making the investment that it was impossible to loose the capital because that was insured – is this a lie?

    I was told by Robert Johnson that Bruce Rowan would be in touch within a week to explain and let me know when my annuity would be paid – another lie – never phoned me and wont return my emails or telephone calls

    All deathly quiet since November last year

    Girls on the end of the phone are obviously sick of the situation – cant blame them.

    Bruce Rowan (bruce_rowan@eircom.net) does not respond.

    There must be some legal route that can be taken to place him into a position to repay surely?

    When banks lied to customers about PPI for example the law made them repay – so how can these guys get away with lying?


  32. They have a business bank account in Barclays.
    This situation makes me question the due diligence that Barclays makes on businesses.
    Or they give a bank account to anyone even to the worse fraud business?


  33. Alex,
    I have received 3 txt messages from Bruce Rowan since the 1st Jan all stating that our investments will be repaid in full. He has “been consumed with paperwork and process to set up complete settlement of all our clients to a total of approx £3 million” etc. That was his latest message.
    I, or my wife have called or txt him every day since the start of the year so I guess we’ve been lucky to have got a response.


  34. I have just returned from a 300 mile round trip to Bristol justice courts to sit in on the petition to wind up Hanover Merchant Capital. Mr Rowan was not present and the Judge ruled to approve the petition.


  35. Does anyone know how things will go now? If someone will write to us about the money we invested and give us some updates? Or we need to get a solicitor for this?


  36. “What now” – an official receiver will be appointed to liquidate the company’s assets, if any. After collecting their fees, anything left will be distributed to creditors.

    Investors would be well advised to write their investment off and treat anything recovered as a bonus. It is very likely that the money is long gone.

    Investors should beware of recovery fraud. If someone contacts you claiming they can get your money back it is highly likely to be a scam. They will ask for “legal fees” or “liquidation fees” which you will never see again.


  37. The last comments are exactly the way I am now treating this Assuming the money has gone and treating any that might come my way as a bonus


  38. This was his reply when I asked whether the liquidation was compulsory or voluntary.- he said…..

    “a considered voluntary decision but your contracts and all water assets have always directly been held/protected in the offshore trading company so nothing has changed as far as your funds and contracts are concerned …. HMC was simply an administration company on behalf of the contracting asset holding offshore company and given that there is no requirement for further funding but instead a full refund of all investors funds with accrued interest is intended for end of July …. HMC is no longer required and decision was taken to let it go …. I will be directly managing existing relationships here in the UK until July when all contracts are settled in full”

    I’m not sure if I fully understand everything but they may be light at the end of the tunnel!!


  39. What offshore trading company? Hanover Merchant Capital has three corporate entities that it has disclosed to my knowledge: Hanover Merchant Capital AG (Switzerland), which is already in liquidation, Hanover Merchant Capital UK Limited, which is now in liqudation, and HMC Holding AG in Liechtenstein, which would appear to be all that’s left.

    Is there any reference to another company on the contract notes investors received when they invested?

    There is nothing “voluntary” about the winding up. A creditor petitioned for the UK company to be wound up, the judge granted the order. Not showing up in court to defend the petition doesn’t make it voluntary.

    The most important facts that have not changed are that Hanover (in whatever guise) is still not making payments as promised and its website is down.

    Investors need to decide what they intend to do in July if they have still not been paid and Rowan says “something something you’ll be paid in December”.


  40. Don’t hold your breath, seems like everyone is being given the runaround. I will consider myself lucky if I ever see a penny back


  41. Only other name on contract is inverthorn International Ltd where we transfered our monies too they are supposed to be a division of HMC


  42. Hi Sevecoates,

    Would you give me his phone nr, i would like to have a chat with him too.
    Let me know if you are willing to so do.
    thanks in advance.


  43. Hi All

    I have had a call about a week back from Bruce re assuring me regards the payments back to all investors in July – I am constantly ringing and messaging him and do end up eventually getting a call back. I was also advised the contract is direct with an offshore company am waiting for call back again as advised but on the voice mail he left he is looks like he is coughing his guts out



  44. Alex – his number is 07513 677638.
    Bruce Rowan rang me yesterday and left a message that reaffirms everything he had already “promised”. I am more hopeful than I was but I guess we will have to wait and see.


  45. The boy Rowan shows promise. It takes some cojones to have two of your companies put into liquidation and persuade investors that this is a good thing.


  46. If you think you are going to get anything back from guy this then I have some oceanfront property in Montana you might be interested in.


  47. could you guys that keep posting the updates of whts happening with our investments keep up the good work as its helpful to people like me whom are not very good on the computer, appreciate all the information and up dates,


  48. I’m assuming that as the winding up order has been upheld, that all investors will formally be advised of the decision, together with what, if any, the next steps in the process are, or am I being overly simplistic, (shrug)?


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