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New compensation hope for Dolphin Trust/German Property Group Investment clients

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The failed overseas property development investment saga continues as Wealthmasters Financial Management is told to compensate Dolphin Trust/German Property Group Investment clients.

Dolphin Trust history

As early as 2019, we wrote about problems with Dolphin Trust Investment (also known as Dolphin Capital and German Property Group) and how we were helping clients who invested in the fund as part of their Self Invested Personal Pensions (SIPPs). Clients had been promised returns of 10%, but payments were delayed beyond the two-year maturity date, and eventually, the firm failed.

Cold calling, high-risk, unsuitable funds & excessive management charges

BlackStar Wealth Management was one company which gave unsuitable financial advice, resulting in clients making high-risk investments in overseas property schemes, many of which were never completed, ending in financial loss.

Another firm, Wellington Court, was ordered to pay compensation to clients who had been cold-called and persuaded to invest in the unregulated fund. Large commissions and high management fees were also an issue, meaning any investment would have to perform exceptionally well to cover these additional costs.

TLW Solicitor Partner, Peter McKenna, appeared on BBC Radio 4’s “You and Yours” programme at the time, explaining that he had been contacted by people from across the world who had not received the returns they had been guaranteed from their investments.

A BBC investigation revealed that some advisers selling the investments were making up to 20% in commission.

Later in 2019, investors received a letter from German Property Group (the new name for Dolphin Trust) confirming that they would not receive any interest payments in the following 3-month period and that the company was trying to sell off the part-finished developments to recoup some money. Another update extended this payment delay to 12 months and, by early 2020, the more likely option looked like debt restructuring. All of these developments were clearly concerning to investors.

In mid-2020, it was confirmed that Dolphin Trust investments would be valued at only 10% of their original value. Although this was a blow for investors, it did provide some clarity, potentially placing them in a better position to recover compensation. Indeed, we helped one client recover £21,000 which he had transferred to the Dolphin Trust scheme from his pension. Later on, in 2020, German Property Group was declared bankrupt.

Even though Dolphin Trust/German Property Group was not regulated by City watchdog, the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA), many of the financial advisers who originally sold the investments to clients were. This means that the Government-backed Financial Services Compensation Scheme (FSCS), set up to help victims of failed financial firms, could cover the financial losses of clients who received unsuitable investment advice. TLW Solicitors continues to act for investors looking to get their money back.

A recent news report confirms that Wealthmasters Financial Management has 17 active complaints against it. Three of these cases mention investments in Dolphin Trust.

One of the cases related to Mr D, who lost £160,000 in the failed scheme. At the time he invested, Dolphin Trust should only have been offered to sophisticated investors or high net-worth individuals (someone with earnings in excess of £100k, or assets of over £250k, excluding property and pensions). A fact-finding exercise identified that he was not a high-net-worth individual so, clearly, should never have been sold the Dolphin Trust investment.

Another case related to a husband and wife, who each invested £25k. Again, they did not meet the criteria for investment and it was noted by Financial Services Ombudsman (FOS) that the couple did not understand the risk involved in investing in that particular fund.

The third case highlighted Mr C, who was allowed to invest £100k, again without fully understanding the risks involved.

All three have been able to recover the money they lost and many more investors could potentially do the same.

Some of the recent decisions regarding compensation relate to investments made almost a decade ago. There can be strict time limits for making a complaint, so if you or a loved one have been affected by the Dolphin Trust/German Property Group collapse, please get in touch without delay.

We work on a ‘no win, no fee’ basis. Our experienced team can help you through the compensation and appeals processes. Call us on 0800 169 5925, email info@tlwsolicitors.co.uk or complete one of the forms below.

It is important to get advice as soon as possible as strict time limits can apply.

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