Breaking: Buy2letcars closed to new investment by FCA, assets frozen

buy2letcars logo

After over 8 years in operation, the Buy2letcars investment scheme has been closed to new investment by the FCA.

A “first supervisory notice” placed on Buy2letcars’ parent company, Raedex Consortium, prohibits the company from carrying out any regulated activities other than collecting payments on vehicle leases that were already in place.

Buy2letcars solicits investment from the public via social media, local news advertorials and radio ads. Their money was used to purchase a car to be leased out to a borrower. As the investment is unregulated, the FCA does not technically have the power to stop Buy2letcars taking in investment. However, FCA does have the power to stop Buy2letcars arranging new vehicle leases, and if Buy2letcars can’t arrange new vehicle leases, it can’t take in new investment as it can’t do anything with it.

In addition, Buy2letcars has been instructed “not to dispose of, withdraw, transfer, deal with or diminish the value of any assets it holds or receives on behalf of itself or another, otherwise than in the ordinary course of business”, effectively an asset freeze.

8 years in operation

I reviewed Buy2letcars in 2018, when the company had already been running for six years.

In its early years in 2012, Buy2letcars was advertising not just returns of 33% over three years but “a substantial six figure income”.

You keep your job and existing lifestyle and use our automated asset backed income generator system to a) realise 33% yield and b) develop a substantial six figure income.

The potential for “six figure income” appeared to rely on recommending others invest in Buy2letcars.

Once you are happy with our service and comfortable with the business you can recommend your peer groups and start earning a fortune. It is possible to replace or double your full time income within a short period of time.

buy2letcars will show you how to grow through the levels up to £250,000.

The “six figure income” claims were rowed back on shortly thereafter. The 2013 version of Buy2letcars’ website still contained details of “affiliate income” (i.e. earning commission by introducing investors to Buy2letcars) but no longer made claims about “six figure income”.

In my review of June 2018, I highlighted that Buy2letcars looked an awful lot like an unauthorised collective scheme. Investors did not just invest in a car but Buy2letcars itself, via a guarantee to return 85% of their money regardless of what happened to the car and the lease payments from it.

But until now the FCA was apparently happy for Buy2letcars to do its thang, so it’s not clear what has changed.

The FCA has stated that the reason for permissions being withdrawn was “concerns about its finances”. No further detail has been provided as yet.

In October 2018 I covered the Buy2letcars group’s 2017 accounts which showed significant losses and net liabilities. But that in itself doesn’t explain the FCA’s “concerns”, as the scheme has been posting net liabilities and losses since inception. In 2012 Raedex Consortium’s net liabilities were £172k and in 2013 £784k. Those net liabilities would only continue to mount.

In 2017 the net liabilities position improved from minus £6.8 million to minus £2.9 million, but only because the group managed to magic up £4.8 million of goodwill, representing “the expected future value of profits”. Where these profits were going to come from was unclear from the limited information disclosed in the accounts, given that the company continued to post losses.

The recently filed 2019 accounts showed more of the same – more losses and expanding net liabilities.

As at December 2019, Buy2letcars had taken in £34 million of investment, as far as we know from the “other creditors” line in its unaudited and limited accounts. How much it has taken in since is not yet known.

What happens now?

The FCA has emphasised to Buy2letcars’ existing borrowers that they should continue to make the lease payments on their vehicles.

So in theory, everything for existing Buy2letcars investors just carries on as before, and their interest will continue to be paid from the interest Buy2letcars receives from its borrowers.

But if the FCA has concerns about Buy2letcars’ finances, its a fair bet that investors will now share them, notwithstanding that Buy2letcars continues to claim on its website to be “protecting your assets
for peace of mind”
.

Watch this space…

Literary Review

Buy2letcars owner Reginald Larry-Cole’s booky-wook, Compassionate Capitalism: How I Turned 150 Nos into 1 YES, had previously rocketed from 981,479th in October 2019 to the heady heights of 373,779th in January 2021.

In more bad news for Larry-Cole, the best-seller rating has since collapsed to #1,658,028. On the positive side, it retains its 5-star rating from 6 reviews.

Buy2letcars gave out “free” copies of Larry-Cole’s tome to new investors (if something that comes with a minimum investment of £7,000 can be accurately said to be free).

Hat tips to a pseudonymous contributor and Mark Taber who separately flagged the FCA’s shutdown.

Addendum 22.02.21

Buy2letcars has hit back at the FCA shutdown, stating:

We are surprised at the FCA’s interpretation of accepted accounting standards and principles,” said the directors of Raedex Consortium, which owns the business.

Although our company is well financed with a strong cashflow and bank balance, the FCA is putting 24 jobs at risk with this bizarre decision.

We would like to reassure our customers that we fully intend to challenge this and will be in touch with them directly this week.

By “customers” they presumably mean “investors” as the customers hiring the cars have no particular reason to be fussed.

Fundamentally this is not an issue of accounting standards but whether Buy2letcars can demonstrate that it can consistently earn enough from leasing out its cars to pay investors 11% per year, on top of all their other costs, while meeting its guarantees to make good any losses to investors from the individual vehicles.

13 thoughts on “Breaking: Buy2letcars closed to new investment by FCA, assets frozen

  1. Thank god for that, stop more victims being sucked in.

    I wonder why the FCA have NOT stepped in on other similar schemes over the last few years ????.

    Why this one now, why not NPD or Carlauren or any of the others ??? – Why is that ???

    What has been so special about Reg Cole and his dodgy scheme to enable the FCA to step in , in such a manner???

    Can you elaborate Brev as to why you think they have stepped in on this one and none of the others, at least in any meaningful way ??.

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  2. I see from the article published in The Times that the FCA issued a warning (to Raedex Consortium?) 2 years ago. I cannot find this warning on the FCA website and there is nothing in the public domain.
    Can anyone put any more flesh on this? I expect Buy2Let cars etc. will be contacting their investors (including me) very shortly with their uptake on recent events.

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  3. I disagree with all of you, FCA is destroying a company that none of its investors put any formal complaints, the reasons have not been disclosed and I know because I’m an investor and receive a copies of the FCA email to buy 2 let cars.

    In my personal experience, in the last 6 years of investing with buy 2 let cars, they have repaid me on time and never missed.

    FCA have frozen buy 2 let accounts, meaning that all investors have not received their payments this month, this is disaster to all investots caused by FCA not but 2 let.

    [Edited: Off-topic comments on unrelated companies removed. -Brev]

    So you are all telling me that FCA actions are justified! really , freezing a company account out of tin air, causing repayment to default is the way forward.

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  4. I disagree with all of you, FCA is destroying a company that none of its investors put any formal complaints, the reasons have not been disclosed

    Yes they have.

    The FCA imposed a number of restrictions on motor finance provider Raedex Consortium Limited (Raedex) requiring the firm to cease conducting regulated activities because of concerns about its finances. – The FCA

    In my personal experience, in the last 6 years of investing with buy 2 let cars, they have repaid me on time and never missed.

    None of that alters the fact that Buy2letcars has consistently posted losses and net liabilities since its inception.

    Every unregulated investment scheme in history made all its payments on time up until the moment that it didn’t.

    FCA have frozen buy 2 let accounts, meaning that all investors have not received their payments this month, this is disaster to all investots caused by FCA not but 2 let.

    From where I’m standing, making scheduled payments to investors isn’t prevented by the FCA’s asset freeze – that seems to come under “the ordinary course of business”.

    How is the FCA “destroying the company”? All Buy2letcars has to do is repay existing investors using the income from the existing vehicle leases. Even if the asset freeze does prevent them from making payments to investors (which I’m dubious about), the leasing customers will still be paying their leases and all B2LC has to do is make up the interest when the FCA’s concerns are addressed and the freeze is lifted.

    This is an article about Buy2letcars and I’m not going to comment on unrelated companies; however the one you mentioned isn’t an FCA-regulated company so the FCA would only be able to intervene by applying to the courts. As described in the article, Buy2letcars’ investment scheme is unregulated but the vehicle leasing side of the business is, so the FCA does have the power to stop it entering into new leasing arrangements.

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  5. Since the FCA is allowing the firm to continue collecting lease payments it means if you are right and the business is a going concern then that will fund all your interest payments and the return of your capital and you have nothing to worry about apart from a delay.

    However if it is not viable business and only new investor money has propped it up then the FCA measure to prevent them siphoning off the remaining assets is essential for you to get even a portion of your capital back, as well as avoiding new investors being duped.

    I think you have mistaken regular payments over the years as a sign of robust health, when the reality is even a Ponzi scheme (not that I am saying this is) pays out regularly right up to the point it fails.

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  6. I mentioned the following on this site a couple of days ago. “I see from the article published in The Times that the FCA issued a warning (to Raedex Consortium?) 2 years ago. I cannot find this warning on the FCA website and there is nothing in the public domain.”

    Nobody has confirmed that any warning was issued 2 years ago. If it had been it is highly unlikely that we would be where we are now.

    I too am an investor in B2L Cars. Repayments have been made on time every month and not a single other investor has made a complaint that I am aware of in over 8 years.

    The company’s business model is unusual, if not unique. That does not make it a scam! The company explains in detail to investors how its business model works…and work it does.

    The company provides lease vehicles to workers mainly in the public sector who have guaranteed earnings but for one reason or another cannot get lease cars through the mainstream lenders and, but for B2L and its leasing arm, would have no other option but to take out exhorbitant finance agreements of 30% APR upwards.

    Funny how Banks and lenders are allowed to fleece customers with atrocious rates of interest but a company paying its investors between 9 and 11%…how dare they!

    The fact is that B2L is a win-win for both investors and the customers of Wheels4sure availing themselves of a lease deal.

    Now on to the FCA. Today I find my regular monthly payment has not gone into my account. This can only be because the FCA instructed the banks to freeze the companies accounts; something they admitted to in an email to the company, then contradicted in a later email by saying they didn’t. The fact is that the company’s bank accounts have been frozen and the Group are unable to conduct any business. A business that employs 24 staff.

    The reason why the FCA did this. Because, in their own words
    “…that there has been a degree of media and other interest in relation to the business model. These concerns are primarily in relation to the fact that the returns offered are quite considerable. The FCA has not received any complaints from investors to date.”

    So, the FCA have admitted that it is media interest and probably online trolling that has triggered their action, not reasoned action based on established facts, not because of complaints from the many customers or investors, but just on rumour and ignorance.

    Lets not forget this is the same FCA that is slated regularly on this site because of its incompetence.

    We all know of the different and awful scams that are out there. But classing B2L cars as a scam or some kind of Ponzi Scheme from a regulator that has never bothered to investigate the company properly and engage fully with the Directors is a disgrace. But perhaps we shouldn’t be surprised.

    What next? I know the Company and its Lawyers are working round the clock to resolve this unnecessary situation.

    My next action is to make a formal complaint to the FCA and stress in no uncertain terms what damage their actions have done.

    I urge all other B2l investors to do the same.

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  7. Russell, The Sunday Times is saying the FCA received a warning in 2019, as opposed to published a warning.

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  8. I have been investing in Buy2LetCars for four and a half years and every single monthly payment has been made by them on time.

    I know the tin foil hat brigade who believe 100% of investments are “a scam” and thereby keep their money in “non-scam” bank accounts “earning” them a 0.01%-0.5% return are going to hate reading that, but it is a fact and there are dozens of investors on Trustpilot who all make the same point about Buy2LetCars faultless payment track-record.

    The ONLY time in all those years I have not received my payment on the 25th of the month is today. That’s because the FCA have scandalously frozen Buy2LetCars bank accounts so they can’t make any payments, as everyone else is also saying. Any freeze from the FCA should not affect legitimate payments, but the FCA have screwed up, as always.

    I am the first one to get riled up by unethical investments run by rogues. However, Buy2LetCars are a completely different kettle of fish to the low-lives who Brev writes about in this excellent blog. The guys there have always treated me with the highest level of respect and professionalism and for many years now have been running a legitimate, successful business.

    Scott, Reg and the rest of the Buy2LetCars team are honest, honourable and above board in their dealings with me and others. All the five star reviews on Truspilot over years and years and years are surely worth something.

    Buy2LetCars are a highly successful business. They have enabled hundreds of essential keyworkers to lease cars to travel to do their vital work. At the same time, they have made sure that hundreds of satisfied investors can earn a reliable monthly income over the last decade.

    I’ve just checked and over 91% of cars in the UK are now bought on credit. Should only the banks be allowed to make money from people buying and leasing cars and then make monthly payments?

    The FCA have misunderstood Buy2LetCars accounts and thereby taken this absurd action late on a Friday night. It is preposterous and I hope the scoundrels at the FCA are held to account for attacking a legitimate, bona fide business.

    I do appreciate that the “everything is a scam” gang are so blinded in their hatred of all and sundry that they won’t relent in their paranoid attacks, but for everyone else I’d urge you to impartially reseach and study the facts about a business over the span of a decade.

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  9. The company provides lease vehicles to workers mainly in the public sector who have guaranteed earnings but for one reason or another cannot get lease cars through the mainstream lenders and, but for B2L and its leasing arm, would have no other option but to take out exhorbitant finance agreements of 30% APR upwards.

    If there are so many public sector workers who can be profitably loaned money at rates below 30% APR, why didn’t Buy2letcars take the money it raised from a few private individuals via an advert in the Sunday Times in 2012 (according to its own origin story), and quietly corner the market, keeping all the profits for itself, instead of touring the country offering 11% per year to random punters recruited via radio adverts and Facebook?

    If the margin between a fair rate to offer to people with poor credit history who want to lease a car, and the 30% APR the mainstream market apparently offers them, is so wide that you can undercut the mainstream lenders and have enough money left over, after allowing for bad debts and all other costs, to offer external investors 11% per year, then Buy2letcars should have had a very profitable business within a very short space of time. They could have used the interest from the public sector workers beating down their door to expand the business instead of paying it out to investors and radio stations.

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  10. All the five star reviews on Truspilot over years and years and years are surely worth something.

    Nope. All it means is that the company was still paying interest, which as already covered means absolutely nothing. When you take in tens of millions worth of investors’ money, politeness is the least they can expect in return.

    Buy2LetCars are a highly successful business.

    Not according to its own published accounts.

    At this point we’re a bit beyond “Buy2letcars is so successful that its massive profits and reserves wrap around like an old-time arcade high score table, which makes it look like it’s posting consistent losses and net liabilities”.

    If it is as successful as claimed then as soon as any restrictions are lifted – and we’ve still seen no public statement from either Buy2letcars or the FCA that the freeze affects its ability to pay interest to existing investors – it will pay its existing investors from the income derived from its successful business and all will be hunky-dory.

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  11. Laurence Coal – “Russell, The Sunday Times is saying the FCA received a warning in 2019, as opposed to published a warning.”

    Thanks for clarifying this Laurence. The Directors state that the 1st contact from the FCA was on 19 January 2021 requesting documents. If the FCA received a warning 2 years earlier then what on earth have they been doing in that time? Who was the warning from? If it had been a credible source would they not have acted immediately?

    Brev doesn’t believe the Bank accounts have been frozen, which is basically calling the Directors liars.

    Here is an extract from the email sent by the FCA on Tuesday 23 February, and reported to investors by the Directors on 24th – “To note, however, the FCA has not sought to close the accounts, the FCA has requested that the accounts be frozen in order to preserve such assets as owned by Raedex and its group companies.”

    It gets better; The FCA then sent a later email denying their earlier email.

    Unsurprisingly the Banks have frozen the accounts!

    The FCA actions would be laughable but it isn’t a joke; it isn’t funny. Their actions have caused real damage and the injustice of it is really that they seem to be a law to themselves and are not accountable to anybody else.

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  12. Thanks for clarifying this Laurence. The Directors state that the 1st contact from the FCA was on 19 January 2021 requesting documents. If the FCA received a warning 2 years earlier then what on earth have they been doing in that time? Who was the warning from? If it had been a credible source would they not have acted immediately?

    The Gloster Report says the answer to that question is “no”.

    Brev doesn’t believe the Bank accounts have been frozen, which is basically calling the Directors liars.

    Basically it isn’t. This is a comments thread containing third-hand reports of what the Directors say the FCA said. I’m responding to your comments and your comments only. Not what the Directors said, which I don’t have access to.

    I’m still not seeing the reason for the angst given that if Buy2letcars is as profitable as commenters are claiming, and the consistent losses and net liabilities it has posted are the work of “lazy accountants”, the FCA and the banks will in due course lift the freezes, Buy2letcars will resume paying the investors out of the income from borrowers (who have been told to continue their lease payments) which has been rolling up in its accounts, and all manner of things will be well.

    The regulator poking its nose around is an inherent risk of investing in unregulated investment schemes, even in the UK.

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  13. Russell Holmes – ‘Thanks for clarifying this Laurence. The Directors state that the 1st contact from the FCA was on 19 January 2021 requesting documents. If the FCA received a warning 2 years earlier then what on earth have they been doing in that time? Who was the warning from? If it had been a credible source would they not have acted immediately?’

    According to this Tweet (with a copy of the email sent) from the ‘horse’s mouth’ the FCA received a report from the Director of Financial Services Policy at Which? (who is now on the FCA’s Consumer Panel) back in 2019. He would appear to be credible:

    Questions investors should ask directors are:

    1. How have the £25 million of accounting losses accumulated across the Group been funded?
    2. Do all current investors have legal charges over the cars in which their funds have been invested?
    3. How have defaults and shortfalls been funded in order that all investors to date have received the promised returns?

    Investors should also read the FCA Notice rather than rely on second hand information about bank accounts being frozen:

    https://www.fca.org.uk/news/statements/restrictions-placed-raedex-consortium-limited

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