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Troubled property scheme commissions review

Troubled property scheme commissions review

Investors in the troubled Dolphin Trust scheme are facing further delays for their payments as the company has commissioned a review into restructuring the business.

Dolphin Trust, now named German Property Group, wrote to investors on December 12 telling them they would not receive any payments on maturities for the next six months while the review is underway, after which payments would be made on the advice of the reviewers.

This comes after investors were already facing delays to maturity and interest payments on their investments for months last year, as the company blamed the conditions of the German property market for the delays.

The Dolphin Trust, renamed German Property Group in April 2019, is an investment scheme focused on redeveloping German listed buildings into luxury apartments, and had promised UK investors double-digit returns on their investments.

But the company has been beset with problems as investors, many of whom gained access through self-invested personal pensions, saw the maturity date of their investments pass without payment.

In his latest letter to investors Charles Smethurst, chief executive of GPG, said the company had called in German restructuring specialists CFE to review the business after facing "difficult market conditions".

He wrote: "We appointed CFE due to difficult market conditions we have faced, we feel we needed to have the assistance of a specialised company to assist us in the restructuring process and to ensure all we do is fully validated for the interests of our investors."

He added the review would take up to six months to complete and would entail a "review of all the projects, the valuations, any delays currently in place and fully review the business structure."

At the end a full report will be sent to all pension companies.

Mr Smethurst added: "There will be no payments made on maturities during the review period, the reason for this is to ensure all clients are treated fairly and reasonably in receiving funds as advised by CFE."

Chris Bryans, who runs advice firm Richmond Wealth as well as a claims management service and is representing investors in the scheme, said he felt discouraged by the news.

He said: "I'll be pretty surprised if anyone sees any money out of this and the pension trustees who allowed this investment have a lot of questions to answer in my view."

carmen.reichman@ft.com

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