Basset & Gold, which offered unregulated bonds, “pensioner bonds” and 30-day “cash bond” notice accounts, announced today that it has gone into administration.
Paul Boyle, David Clements and Tony Murphy of Harrisons Business Recovery and Insolvency (London) Limited were appointed as joint administrators of Basset & Gold PLC (the Company) on 1 April 2020 (the Joint Administrators). They were also appointed as joint administrators of B&G Finance Limited (B&G Finance), a related company, on the same date.
The Company which is not regulated by the FCA, issued bonds which were sold to retail consumers. B&G Finance, which is regulated by the FCA, acted as an intermediary between the Company and investors, arranging investments in the bonds sold by the Company.
Following the appointment of the Joint Administrators there will be no further bond issuances or related investment activity. No bonds have been issued to retail investors from May 2019.
[Hat tip to reader John Doe for spotting the announcement.]
As at its last accounts for September 2018, the company had raised £30 million from investors.
I reviewed Basset & Gold’s bonds in December 2017, commenting that contrary to their “100% asset backed” spiel, the bonds were high risk unregulated investments with an inherent risk of 100% loss.
Basset & Gold claimed on its 2018 website that its bonds offered a “high level of security”. The company also used to claim to offer FSCS protection, on the basis that one of its companies, B&G Finance Limited, was regulated by the FCA, and therefore investors were covered for “misselling”.
How many investors successfully make FSCS claims for Basset & Gold’s failed investments being missold to them remains to be seen.
It also remains to be seen whether the bonds being “100% asset backed” results in recoveries for investors. In other “asset-backed” investments which went into administration, investors have faced anything up to 100% losses as the assets backing the investments were not worth nearly enough to repay creditors.
In addition to its West Ham tie-up, Basset & Gold sold its investments via Google Ads, at one point piggy-backing on NS&I’s popular (and risk-free) “Pensioner Bonds”.
The company has sponsored state-funded football club West Ham United for several years and prominently features the tie-up in its advertising. Its Facebook page is still dominated by West Ham players bedecked in Basset & Gold logos.
The announcement provides no explanation as to why Basset & Gold has fallen into administration.
Reviews left last month on reviews.co.uk suggest the company was already struggling with payments to investors.
Last week I telephoned and was told some one would call me back and no one did. I called again the next day and eventually was put though to my find manager who showed little interest but assured me that he would sort the issue and email me that day. I am still waiting and getting very anxious about the safety of my investment.
As at September 2018, Basset & Gold’s investments consisted almost entirely of money loaned to River Bloom UK Services Limited. River Bloom UK Services Limited published accounts for December 2018 which were unaudited and contained almost no information beyond that the company had £35 million in debts and £35 million in assets described only as “other creditors”.
Both Basset & Gold and River Bloom are controlled by Hadar Swersky, Israeli founder of hedge fund Smart Box Capital. In 2015 Swersky described himself as “an award winning hedge fund manager and entrepreneur. Widely regarded as a savvy investor with accurate trend spotting, his fund was an early mover in multiple fields including algorithmic trading, online option trading and online alternative finance. “