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In the staid world of accountancy and auditing use of language has to be tempered. The words fraud or allegations of are rarely used for risk to reputation or litigation. So for KPMG to come out with the below report is quite staggering. Satisfactory responses have not been forthcoming to resolve the complaint of the investor, nor the enquiries of the regulators; the Financial Supervision Commission in the Isle of Man and the Financial Services Authority in the United Kingdom.
Work performed. We obtained copies of emails and attachments from parties engaged in the investment process, with the objective of establishing the factual basis of the investment itself and to establish the actual cash flows that had taken place. The evidence obtained includes a Placing Letter and bank transfer instructions to the escrow agent, Welbeck Associates, together with the bank transfer instructions from the escrow agent to the investee company, Commercial Tyre Solutions Limited.
We identified four key individuals with a clear involvement in the investment. Each individual agreed to respond to the questions. Each was requested to provide any documentary evidence of any kind to support their responses. The investment proceeds were paid to an escrow agent — Welbeck Associates, who in turn transferred the funds to Commercial Tyre Solutions Limited.
The shares identified in the Placing Letter were not issued. The necessary EIS certificate was not issued. Commercial Tyre Solutions Limited went into administration on 27 April It appears that tangible assets owned by Commercial Tyre Solutions Limited have not been accounted for to the administrators. It is not possible to confirm that the funds received by Commercial Tyre Solutions Limited have been adequately accounted for. The directors of Commercial Tyre Solutions did not meet their obligations agreed under the Placing Letter.
Pathway One plc was alleged to have been interjected as an intermediate company in the investment structure, but no clear conclusion or documented outcome results from its introduction. Each of the parties questioned provided a verbal explanation of their role in the investment process.
None has provided documents to support their accounts of the events surrounding the investment, with the exception of Peter Greensmith. No two accounts are consistent to a degree that would lead to a conclusion that they reflect a true and complete account of the transaction. Tom Winnifrith — major shareholder in the Rivington Group, senior executive director and senior investment adviser. He accepts that he made the investment decision. He is certain that the proposal was made to him in person by Paul Rewrie.
He accepts that no formal due diligence was undertaken but insists that rigorous scrutiny was applied during the Rewrie proposal. He confirms that the investment was a direct share placing. He maintains that Rewrie proposed the investment as EIS-eligible.
He denies any knowledge of Pathway One in the structure. He states that he approached Peter Greensmith and that David Haines, the shareholding director of Commercial Tyre Services Limited, presented the proposal. He denies any prior knowledge of EIS relief. He has no knowledge of how or why the EIS Fund was put forward as the investor.
He states that he had no knowledge of the source of the invested funds. He states that Rivington Street Corporate Finance was the architect of the investment terms. He states that he was not aware of or party to the introduction of Pathway One plc into the transaction. He states that Paul Rewrie presented the investment proposal personally to him in June He knew that Paul Rewrie had approached Tom Winnifrith. He took no further part in the investment proposal.
He, as Rivington Street Corporate Finance, became the placing agent for the transaction. He states that he received instructions fro Tom Winnifrith to prepare the investment documentation. He states that emails not provided between Tom Winnifrith and Paul Rewrie clarify and confirm agreed terms, investment structure and EIS eligibility. He confirms a standard placing letter, modified for the terms, was issued by Rivington Street Corporate Finance.
He is insistent that neither he nor Rivington Street Corporate Finance had any further involvement of any description after the completion of the placing. He states that he had no involvement with the initial investment proposals in Commercial Tyre Services Limited. He states that he relied on Paul Rewrie in all respects in relation to the loans disclosed in the audited accounts. He states that time pressure to sign the financial statements for the year ended December led him to sign the accounts without an understanding of the assets and liabilities relating to the Commercial Tyre Services Limited transaction.
Greensmith emails — we have been provided with a string of emails dated 13 July to 13 August between Tom Winnifrith, Paul Rewrie and Peter Greensmith, being amongst the few documents showing contemporaneous accounts of the investment proposals. Pathway One plc was an active part of the investment plan from at least 13 July Paul Rewrie was aware of the plan from at least 14 July Terms were agreed by Rewrie and Winnifrith on 29 July including the involvement of Pathway One plc.
The terms of the Placing Letter were agreed by Paul Rewrie. The terms of the Placing Letter were contrary to the terms agreed between Rewrie and Winnifrith. Both funds are among the top 20 best performing funds in a universe of more than 2, Mr Winnifrith already had a following as a share tipster before deciding to set up the smaller company growth fund in They are running quasi trackers and charging active management fees for it.
We were of the view that we could do better," he says. Neither he nor any of the TIM team at that stage had any experience of fund management, but Mr Winnifrith certainly does not lack self-confidence. He launched both funds without any institutional money - all the initial investment came from subscribers to the t1ps.
Mr Winnifrith attributes the two funds' performance to a bottom-up stock selection process, saying that he and his team spend little time considering macro economics and sector weightings. The funds' relatively small size helps, but even then, finding winners is not easy. Never shoot for the stars because it does not work. He also cites the collegiate approach adopted by the TIM team, a mixture of number crunchers and old hands who manage the funds together.
He adds that it is a blessing that none of his teams are based not in the City, but in Douglas, the Isle of Man's capital. We generate our own ideas. Good timing has also played a part. There were stocks we wished to own, but we did not see any compelling valuations. In , he launched t1ps. He went on to launch t1ps Investment Management in where he is the lead manager for three funds.
While the autumn of presented a unique buying opportunity, TIM's core investment strategy is to make 30 to 40 investments per fund and hold on. Our intention is to hold things forever really," says Mr Winnifrith. However, most of the stocks which are in the growth fund have been there for a long time - my hope is that when we have been going for 10 years, around 75 per cent of the stock that will be in the portfolio then will be there today.
Mr Winnifrith says now is a great time to be investing in small caps given that banks are not lending - he and his team have the opportunity to invest in small companies and help transform their businesses. But, while he is seeing "tremendous value in selected opportunities" in both small companies and gold equities, he remains extremely bearish on the UK market and economy generalkly. So it is perfectly possible that if you pick the right stocks you can make quite a lot of money.
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December 30, Investors Chronicle 30 December issue. December 19, Press tips: Tips and top performers. Our summary of all the shares tipped by the quality papers on Saturday and Sunday. In the s, Tom Winnifrith was busy tipping shares in the Investors Chronicle; today, he is running two of the best-performing open-ended funds in the UK.
The company was born from an investment advice website, t1ps. The growth fund, launched in November , has over the past year posted a cumulative performance well in excess of 40 per cent, outperforming the IMA UK Smaller Companies sector by almost 20 per cent. Meanwhile, the gold fund launched in July is over the past year having posted a return of 76 per cent, according to data from Trustnet.
Both funds are among the top 20 best performing funds in a universe of more than 2, Mr Winnifrith already had a following as a share tipster before deciding to set up the smaller company growth fund in They are running quasi trackers and charging active management fees for it. We were of the view that we could do better," he says. Neither he nor any of the TIM team at that stage had any experience of fund management, but Mr Winnifrith certainly does not lack self-confidence.
He launched both funds without any institutional money - all the initial investment came from subscribers to the t1ps. Mr Winnifrith attributes the two funds' performance to a bottom-up stock selection process, saying that he and his team spend little time considering macro economics and sector weightings.
The funds' relatively small size helps, but even then, finding winners is not easy. Never shoot for the stars because it does not work. He also cites the collegiate approach adopted by the TIM team, a mixture of number crunchers and old hands who manage the funds together.
He adds that it is a blessing that none of his teams are based not in the City, but in Douglas, the Isle of Man's capital. We generate our own ideas. Good timing has also played a part. There were stocks we wished to own, but we did not see any compelling valuations. In , he launched t1ps. He went on to launch t1ps Investment Management in where he is the lead manager for three funds. While the autumn of presented a unique buying opportunity, TIM's core investment strategy is to make 30 to 40 investments per fund and hold on.
Our intention is to hold things forever really," says Mr Winnifrith.
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