We review World Property Fund – unregulated “hedge fund” paying…

World Property Fund (a trading name of myriad linked companies including Mercury-Sloane Investments Limited, Tanzy Estates Property Company Ltd, Lennox Vanguard Property Investment Company Limited, Millerheywood Ltd “etc.”) is offering returns of 10% per year, paid quarterly.

The company’s investments are currently being promoted on Facebook.

Who are World Property Fund?

Legend Lane directors

World Property Fund is the latest venture by owners Greg Heywood and Chris Miller.

Last time we encountered Heywood and Miller was in 2018, when they were running an investment firm called Legend Lane which initially offered all sorts of colourful investments, which included – at the time of our review – a forex investment paying 24% per year and a “Black Cat” investment paying 30% per year from… well, it was a secret. In a Bond Review comment Chris Miller described the “Black Cat” bond as “an opportunity to invest in the creditability of our brand and nothing more”.

Legend Lane’s website (legendlane.co.uk) has since been shuttered. Legend Lane ceased offering bonds in 2019 after becoming tangled up in the Hudspiths Ponzi scheme; Legend Lane invested investor monies in a company called PCIA which in turn invested in Hudspith’s Dubai office. PCIA Limited is currently in liquidation. The current status of any investments in Legend Lane is unclear.

Both Greg Heywood and Chris Miller were previously directors of The Step Properties Holdings plc, which ceased operating in 2008 and was dissolved in 2010. A related company owned by Heywood, Heywood Property Investments, collapsed as a consequence owing £3.6 million to HSBC Bank. Only £1.27 million was recovered from that company.

WPF’s website makes a big deal of Heywood and Miller’s trading history but bizarrely makes no mention of their most recent venture.

Their website claims Heywood and Miller built the “largest mid-cap corporation in the UK” (which is like claiming to be the UK’s tallest medium-sized man) and provides a link to audited accounts for the Heywood Group from 2006. How this ancient history is relevant to WPF is unclear.

How safe is the investment?

World Property Fund claims in its brochure to offer “Exceptional security”.

In reality, as with any loan to an unregulated individual company, World Property Fund is an inherently high risk investment with a risk of up to 100% loss.

Secured lending is not risk-free as there is a risk that if the underlying borrower defaults, the security cannot be sold for enough to cover the loan.

Investors in asset-backed loans have been known to lose 100% of their money when it turned out that there were not enough assets left to pay investors after paying the insolvency administrator (who always stands first in the queue).

This is not in any sense to imply that the same will happen to investors in World Property Fund, only illustrating the risk that is inherent in any loan note even when it is a secured loan.

If investors plan to rely on this security, it is essential that they hire professional due diligence specialists (working for themselves, not WPF) to confirm that in the event of a default, the assets of WPF swould be valuable and liquid enough to compensate all investors. Investors should not simply rely on what WPF tells them about their assets.

World Property Fund describes itself as a “property hedge fund”. Running a hedge fund in the UK requires authorisation from the FCA. World Property Fund has no authorisation from the FCA to run a hedge fund or any other kind of collective investment scheme.

Should I invest in World Property Fund?

This blog does not give financial advice. The following are statements of publicly available facts or widely accepted investment principles, not a personalised recommendation. Investors should consult a regulated independent financial adviser if they are in any doubt.

As with any individual loan note to an unlisted startup company, this investment is only suitable for sophisticated and/or high net worth investors who have a substantial existing portfolio and are prepared to risk 100% loss of their money.

Any investment paying up to 10% per year is inherently extremely high risk. As an individual, illiquid security with a risk of total and permanent loss, lending money to World Property Fund is much higher risk than a mainstream diversified stockmarket fund.

Before investing investors should ask themselves:

  • How would I feel if the investment defaulted and I lost 100% of my money?
  • Do I have a sufficiently large portfolio that the loss of 100% of my investment would not damage me financially?
  • Have I conducted due diligence to ensure the asset-backed security can be relied on?

If you are looking for a “secure” investment, you should not invest in unregulated loans with an inherent risk of 100% loss.

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