Store First assets sold by Official Receiver to Toby Whittaker’s wife

According to the Lancashire Telegraph, the Official Receiver has sold the freehold, associated assets and goodwill of Store First's 15 storage centres to Store First Freeholds Limited.

The assets of the service company, SFM Services, have been transferred to Pay Store Limited.

Both Store First Freeholds Limited and Pay Store Limited are wholly owned by Jennifer Whittaker, reportedly the wife of Store First CEO Toby Whittaker.

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FCA chief Andrew Bailey kicked upstairs

With the triumphant swagger of a county athlete who sees that he's the 1-10 favourite for tomorrow's race, drinks five pints of scrumpy in the pub the night before, and eventually staggers over the line an inch ahead of a 12-year-old farmer's son before vomiting into the trophy, FCA CEO Andrew Bailey has shrugged off the ongoing scandal of the FCA's failure to deal with unregulated investments and secured the appointment of Governor of the Bank of England.

Bailey must have been sweating a little as a succession of headlines about financial scandals old and new (minibonds, mortgage prisoners, vulture "restructuring" divisions) - with the FCA's conscious inaction as a constant theme - rolled through the presses as the Government deliberated its decision. But in the end, Bailey's "safe pair of hands" reputation won the day.

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We review Vala Lending plc – “low volatility” unregulated bonds paying up to 7.9% per year

Vala Secured Bonds logo

Vala Secured Lending plc offers IFISA bonds and unregulated bonds paying interest as follows:

  • 4.62% for a one year term
  • 6.25% per year for a three year term
  • 7.9% per year for a five year term

Funds raised are to be used to invest in small and medium enterprises (SMEs).

At time of writing Vala's website has been offline for some days or weeks. As far as we're aware however the company is still trading. This review has been based on Vala's last available brochure as at November 2019.

Click here to continue reading our review of Vala's bonds.

Harewoods administrator revises expected losses from 84% to 93%

Harewood Associates Logo

The administrators of collapsed unregulated property investment scheme Harewood Associates have released their latest update.

Harewood Associates raised £32m by advertising bonds and preference shares directly to investors. The scheme collapsed into administration in June.

In their initial report, the administrators wrote off £36 million of the £40 million which Harewood Associates lent to linked companies, including £17 million loaned to Harewood Venture Capital and £19 million loaned to Sherwood Homes.

The administrators have now also written off a further £1.2 million from the "Equiscale" investment and £1 million owned by a company called Southworth Construction (owned by a James Cuniff).

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Bond Review is 2 today

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Today marks the second anniversary of Bond Review’s first ever article, our review of the now sadly notorious London Capital & Finance.

So far Bond Review’s two years have seen:

  • 90 reviews of high-risk unregulated investments promoted to the public
  • 190 further articles bringing you news on the progress of these investments (or lack of it)
  • 8 attempts at legal intimidation
  • Plus a further 2 attempts to remove Bond Review from Google search results by making defamation claims to Google (without making any attempt to contact us directly)
  • 0 court proceedings started
  • 1 fake DMCA takedown
  • 2 offers to buy the domain (and all its content) for an aggregate of £10,000 (to host a site reviewing James Bond films? sure guys)
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FCA acknowledges that minibond marketing ban may result in shortage of new money to pay off existing investors with

Following its announcement of a 12-month marketing ban on minibonds being marketed to the general public, the FCA has confirmed that it is well aware that this could lead to existing minibond investors losing their money.

In a 46-page document outlining the ban, more specifically outlining how the ban complies with UK anti-discrimination law, the FCA stated:

There may be indirect positive or negative effects on people with protected characteristics as they may be (i) existing investors in speculative illiquid securitiesor (ii) prospective investors. The former may experience harm if market disruption from our measures exacerbates poor performance of existing products and the financial position of issuers that are already struggling, especially if an issuer isreliant on being able to raise further capital from retail investors with new issues and this becomes more difficult.
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