Total losses expected for unsecured Signature investors

The administrators of Signature Living Hotel, the parent company of the Signature Capital investment scheme, have released their initial report.

How much the company owes to investors is difficult to pin down. Signature Capital consists of a dizzying web of 106 currently active companies controlled by Lawrence Kenwright. Although it was these subsidiaries that borrowed money from investors, a guarantee was typically given by Signature Living Hotel Ltd as the parent company.

As covered in May, Signature made an unsuccessful attempt to wriggle out of this guarantee in the High Court, a few months before going into administration. In that case the investor had loaned money to Signature Heritage (Belfast) Limited with a guarantee by Signature Living Hotel.

The administrators have totted up a total of £111 million in liabilities, the majority of which is debt owed to intercompany and related parties. It includes a £10 million provision for liabilities to retail investors, but the administrators expect “the final figure will be much higher”.

In addition to soliciting investment from retail investors, Signature borrowed money from a host of bridging lenders and other commercial lenders, secured on its freehold properties.

Even a homeless shelter opened by Signature to great fanfare, including a half-hour video documentary produced by the Grauniad, was mortgaged – to bridging lender Stoneygate. The homeless charity has found alternative premises and is said to be vacating the Signature property shortly.

The administrators say that after paying off the secured creditors,

it is anticipated that there will not be sufficient realisations to enable a dividend to unsecured creditors… however this remains uncertain

The collapse of the Signature empire probably puts the kibosh on Lawrence Kenright’s ambitions to be Mayor of Liverpool, though given the current state of UK politics, who knows.

I reviewed Signature Capital’s investments in May 2019, noting that despite claims on their website to provide “fantastic returns in a secure environment” and “a safe place [for money]”, their investments paying up to 16% per year were inherently high risk.

Despite the factual nature of my review, Signature Capital spent investors’ money on paying the law firm DWF to threaten me with a defamation claim in the weeks after I published my review. Hilariously, their complaint included an attempt to claim that Signature did not offer investments paying 16% per year, despite this coming from Signature’s own marketing material.

They claimed that my review was misleading as I had failed to regurgitate Signature Capital marketing spiel about their investments being guaranteed by Signature Living Hotel (the same Signature Living Hotel that is now in administration). According to Signature’s lawyers, I had “failed to understand or explain the nature of the guarantee”. As Signature Living Hotel is now in administration, I think we can now take it as read that I did.

Only a few days after my review was published, and while their lawyers were fruitlessly SLAPPing at me, the BBC first reported on Signature Capital’s problems with repaying investors.

Signature Capital’s problems appear to have started before then, however. On February 2019 the website signaturecapital-scam.co.uk was registered, which made various allegations against Signature Capital.

In May 2019 Signature Capital took over the signaturecapital-scam.co.uk domain, and replaced it with a website which directed investors to “Avoid Being Scammed and Invest With Signature Capital”. Subsequently the website was blanked. How Signature acquired the domain from the original aggrieved owners, e.g.  by paying them off or using legal proceedings, is not known.

Signature Capital’s repurposing of the signaturecapital-scam.co.uk domain was not their only financial promotion to investors. Both Signature Capital’s own website and owner Lawrence Kenright’s personal blog promoted Signature’s investments.

Let’s see how we compare to other investment opportunities in the UK…

Signature Investments – 11% or 8% ROI

Current accounts – 3-5%

Property – 3-6%

Retail bonds – 5-7%

[…]

As you can see from the investment table above, Signature Investments can provide an excellent return on your investment. You only have to review our proven track record to realise you can embark on a rewarding investment with a successful, passionate hospitality company.

Neither Signature Capital nor Lawrence Kenwright are authorised by the Financial Conduct Authority. Distributing financial promotions without authorisation in the UK is a criminal offence punishable by a prison sentence and a fine.

Despite issuing financial promotions to the public via the Internet for years, resulting in what seems certain to be at least tens of millions of losses, no action has been taken by the FCA against Signature Capital that is in the public domain.

Addendum

Signature’s hotel and restaurant business appears to be partially insulated so far from the collapse of the Signature Capital investment scheme. The Liverpool Echo reports that several Signature venues are preparing to reopen after being closed due to lockdown.

Despite these problems, a number of the group’s most popular venues – including the Shankly Hotel and Alma de Cuba bar in Liverpool – are preparing to open, with administrators Duff and Phelps confirming in an update that the trading operation of these venues does not fall under the scope of the administration.

Kenwright stated “while certain parts of the group may be in administration, Signature Living will continue to operate” and “it is worth noting that the value of our overall ‘bricks and mortar’ assets significantly outweighed our liabilities pre Covid”. How much it is worth is open to question given that Signature’s failure to pay investors on time began in early 2019, when Covid was a twinkle in a pangolin’s eye.

9 thoughts on “Total losses expected for unsecured Signature investors

  1. Excellent write-up Brev.

    You were right from the very start about Signature Living/Capital. I wish I’d taken note of your wise warnings.

    I was a Lawrence Kenwright lackey who got duped by his PR hype and empty words. I got duped into loaning money into his hotel developments by his slick Signature sales team. Those sales reps blatantly lied to me, stating repeatedly all borrowings they were making aggregate were no more than 25% of the value of Signature’s real estate. [Edited: Allegations about companies other than Signature will be considered off-topic and removed. -Brev]

    Signature’s Administrators are now in the pockets of the people with big money and are only focused on making money for themselves. Even though I and other retailers lenders have a legitimate claim, they just brush us away every time. Almost all my emails don’t get a reply, they NEVER pick up or return phone calls and it’s obvious their only priority is to maximise how much they pocket at their hundreds of pounds of an hour billing multiplied by thousands of hours plus very lavish “expenses”.

    I’ve been duped and will ever get my savings back that I invested in Signature. Kenwright is like most leftie socialists – as the documentary you link to shows, his only loyalties are to the unemployed, druggies, alcoholics, criminals and those people who didn’t bother to study at school or college. He hasn’t invested his own money into them – it has come from Signature lenders he has milked dry and whoms lives he has ruined.

    People like me and hundreds of other hard-working lenders he has no qualms of causing extreme distress to by not giving them money back he has loaned from them. I’ve tried to contact him and his team a thousand times, all to no avail.

    I know people who are suffering severe depression and are suicidal because of what Signature has done ot them. Lawrence Kenwright’s morals are highly questionable and his priority is to take money from hard-workers to syphon off for his loss-making vanity projects.

    Lawrence Kenwright has disappeared off the face of the earth and not bothered to communicate ONCE with his lenders this whole year! He has run for the hills and is living it up with his wife and kids. That’s how little value he has for them.

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  2. Even though I and other retailers lenders have a legitimate claim, they just brush us away every time.

    Sorry for your loss. You may have a legitimate claim but the administrators have stated that it appears that there is no money to pay that claim with. (In administrator-speak, a dividend is not expected to be paid to unsecured creditors.) There are only so many ways the administrators can tell angry and depressed retail investors that all their money is probably gone.

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  3. Yet again you have all got what deserve ” You will not do your research , and will not be told “. This is how these con men suceed. Brev has a unblemished record on this . Just waiting for one i have been watching come to fruition.( Well on his radar screen !!)

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  4. I am finished I had invested all my savings and pension in signature living with guarantee attached signature living hotel ltd my all payments not paid till now
    No communication all telephone failed goes to wrong no.
    What is this asked adminstration staff was told to send all enquires to investors relations at signature living . No response sent over 50 messages
    No reply
    Don’t know what should I do
    Can we not all investment ors get to get her and do some joint action
    Can crime committee do any thing
    I am so desperate have got no money to feed my self
    I am finished
    What shall I do
    My e mail is [removed due to risk of fraud]
    Can some good person get m
    To me please
    Thanks for bless

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  5. If you are unable to afford basic necessities you should contact Citizens Advice, turn2us.org.uk or a similar organisation in your area.

    The money you invested in Signature is almost certainly gone. Sorry to be the bearer of bad news.

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  6. People must have a ” Intelligence Factor ” of a negitive number to get caught by these ” CONMEN” .Where did they get the money they invested..ONE WONDERS…Hm worth HMRC to look into as this is MILLIONS Tax paid i wonder….

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  7. Graham, it really isn’t helpful to tell people who lost everything “you got what you deserve”. They aren’t experts and were told their investment was safe and guaranteed. Many of them have lost their life savings and your lack of compassion does you no credit.

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  8. Ref , PREVIOUS COMMENTS ..Where do these people get the money from !!! They can all find “BOND REVIEW ” After the loss.. Repeat HMRC Should look at this . These ” Investments are now in multi millions…” if you have this amount of money where did you aquire it from???.

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  9. I got taken in by the slick sales team unaware they were operating out of Marbella in Spain not Liverpool. They were very convincing regarding the strong equity position which it now is obvious was false. Signature Capital Invest is actually a Spanish company now operating under a different name. Their highest earning sales people and directors are still operating from the same Marbella office as Accumulate and Investor Live. Investors should be aware of this before thinking of investing with them. I have been into the office and met the guy who misled me and there was no remorse at all.

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