Wine Name:

Wednesday, 23 April 2014

Morgan Taylor Ltd: white knight offering over-priced wines


I have been contacted by AJ, an unfortunate client of the now bankrupt The London Vines Ltd scam. AJ has been cold called by white knight – Morgan Taylor Ltd. This is a recently created company formed on 21st January 2014. It has two directors: 25-year-old Oguz Aksehir and 26-year-old Muhammed Ali Zorlu and operates from The Chislehurst Business Centre, 1 Bromley Lane, Bromley, Kent BR7 6LH.    

'At Morgan Taylor we work with you to help find the best solutions for your circumstances. We listen closely to your needs and objectives in order to find out exactly what 'you' the client need. We then take the time to find the relevant product to help fulfil that need.'

AJ was contacted by a Stephen Bell and Joseph Salmon (almost certainly not their real names – 'personas' are regularly used by telesales staff working for this type of company). Bell offered to exchange the wines AJ did receive from The London Vines Ltd – like so many AJ didn't receive all of them – with the following selection of Lafite-Rothschild and Mouton-Rothschild. Totalling £64,400 in all.   

Offer from Morgan Taylor Ltd - 'and look forward to a long and fruitful relationship'!! 

A little research on wine-searcher on UK merchants shows that the 2003 Lafite can today be purchased for from £6350 (£10,200 from Morgan Taylor Ltd), the 2008 for £5150 (£8100 MT Ltd), 2010 Lafite for £6450 (£10,050 from MT Ltd) and the 2009 Mouton-Rothschild for from £4900 (£7900 from MT Ltd). Instead of paying Morgan Taylor Ltd £64,400, this five case portfolio could have been bought for £40,550 – a saving of £23850 or 37% less than the total charged by Morgan Taylor Ltd. Fortunately AJ said thanks but no thanks to this Chislehurst-based scam.  

I can certainly see Morgan Taylor Ltd reaching their financial objectives but it is considerably less clear how their putative clients will benefit – . 

Muhammed Ali Zorlu is also the sole director of the intriguingly named Berkshire Hetherington Ltd. I would be most grateful for any information about Berkshire Hetherington Ltd founded on 29th April 2013. It current address is 72 Hammersmith Road, Crown House, London W14 8TH – a well-known accommodation address as was the previous one – 145-157 St John Street, London EC1V 4PW.

Yet another company I wouldn't touch with a barge pole!

Thursday, 17 April 2014

Stanford Barclay Ltd – another company I won't touch with a barge pole

Stanford Barclay: home page 

The home page of Stanford Barclay is certainly upbeat: 
'Welcome to Stanford Barclay
Stamford Barclay are a company who have drawn together the expertise, experience and skillsof a number of specialists and consultants from across Europe.

We act as the broker arm* of our industry partners.

Our aim is to introduce potential investors and to provide both knowledge and information, showing exactly how and why right now is the optimum time to take a fresh look at a range of commodities.'
Sounds impressive! However, Stanford Barclay Ltd was only set up on 19th September 2013 and has one sole director 28-year-old Billy Stevens, although the share capital is claimed to be £1 million.

Stamford Barclay offers investments in gold and natural rubber. Looks as though they also offered investment opportunities in graphene but moved out once the FCA issued a warning about the dangers of investing in graphene at the end of December 2013. Instead Stanford Barclay Ltd is now pushing investments in gold and natural rubber.

From Terms & Conditions-graphene: Stanford Barclay Ltd

'Prices of graphene/graphite are indicative only and are based on current exchange rates. The value of the graphene/graphite may go down as well go up and you may not get back the original amount invested. All investments, including trading in graphen/graphite carry risk to varying degrees. However, you may also benefit from any possible upside to the investment. Any returns shown or suggested are a projection only and cannot be guaranteed. Stanford Barclay have diligently researched the graphene/graphite market to attempt to reduce risk.'

Curiously there is now no mention of graphene on the Stanford Barclay Ltd site – perhaps it disappeared after the FCA (Financial Services Authority) warned on 30th December 2013 of the dangers and disadvantages of 'investing' in graphene – this despite Stanford Barclay's 'diligent research'! Instead they are now punting gold and natural rubber plus a wine broking service. 

Warning by FCA about Brinkmann-May Ltd 

The sole director of Stanford Barclay Ltd is 28-year-old Billy Stevens. He has also been a director, since 24th October 2011, of Brinkmann-May Ltd. On 4th February 2013 the FCA (Financial Conduct Authority) warned that 'We believe this firm has been providing financial services or products in the UK without our authorisation. Find out why to be especially wary of dealing with this unauthorised firm and how to protect yourself from scammers'. The other director of the company is Richard Peter Jobling.

Brinkmann-May Ltd punted investments in carbon credits. The company is now in the process of being closed down by Companies House for non-compliance as the latest accounts are overdue since 30.9.2012 and the annual return since 10.5.2013.

 Brinkmann-May Ltd details@Companies House  
As well as investments in gold and natural rubber, Stanford Barclay Ltd also  'offers free Cellar Valuations, a service which allows fine wine collectors to ascertain the true value of their cellars.'

  'For more information on selling your wine through Bordeaux Index, 
or for a free valuation, please email'

Why a long established and reputable company like Bordeaux Index Ltd would want to be publicly associated ('as one of our industry partners'?) with Stanford Barclay Ltd, with its highly dubious pedigree is a considerable mystery. It is quite possible that Bordeaux Index Ltd is unaware of this claim on Stanford Barclay's website and also unaware for the warning issued by the FCA against the associated company – Brinkmann-May Ltd. (*18.4.2014 – see below.

I understand that Stanford Barclay Ltd may be having problems finding a bonded warehouse prepared to accept their custom. Billy Stevens was told by Private Reserves Ltd that they certainly didn't want their business. Stevens told Private Reserves that Octavian Vaults, with whom they have had an account, has now told them to take their business elsewhere.

This looks to be an encouraging sign that bonded warehouses are becoming much tougher and wary about accepting dubious wine investment companies. A tough stance by the warehouses would certainly be in their interest as these wine investment scams do nothing for the reputation of bonded warehouses as the fleeced punters often assume, entirely incorrectly, that the warehouses are part of the scam. Furthermore when the company disappears, goes bankrupt or is closed down then this involves the bonded warehouses in a lot of unpaid work trying to sort the mess. 


An offer I would happily refuse!    
I fear that Stanford Barclay Ltd seeks to persuade investors to sell their wine, which does have value albeit currently lower than it has been, in exchange for dubious or worthless investments in gold, natural rubber, graphene or whatever Billy Stevens decides is the investment of the moment to punt.  

18.4.2014: Twitter conversation: 'Arrangement' with Stanford Barclay Ltd news to Bordeaux Index:

Jim: 'Can I assume this is news to you, please?'

Bordeaux Index: 'yes, Jim. We are looking into it. 
Thanks for bringing to our attention.' 


Further utter rubbish from Billy Stevens's Stanford Barclay Ltd courtesy of Junior Broker:

Job opportunities@Stanford Barclay 
through Junior Broker 

The above ad includes the following ludicrous claims – time the FCA issued another warning over a Billy Stevens company:  
We help investors with flexible payment terms to enable them to liquidate other assets and invest with us.
We transact for our clients in all key financial markets, including equities, bonds, currencies and commodities, so that capital flows, jobs are created and economies can grow. Please note all monies are sent to and FCA escrow for client satisfaction.
We help markets remain efficient and liquid, so investors and companies can meet their needs, whether to invest, raise money or manage risk.
We preserve and grow assets for institutions, including mutual funds, commercial funds and foundations, as well as individuals.'

Friday, 11 April 2014

En primeur Bordeaux 2013: if told it's an investment – it's a scam!

Château Lafite-Rothschild: 

If you get a cold call try to persuade you to buy 2013 Bordeaux en primeur you can be sure that it is a scam. Although there may not be a lot that unites the Bordeaux châteaux, wine critics and wine merchants around the world, all are agreed that 2013 is not a vintage for investment. Made in very difficult conditions, this is a vintage for early drinking not for long storage with the hope that the price will increase significantly over time. As far as 2013 is concerned it won't.  

The UK wine trade appears to have little enthusiasm for selling 2013 Bordeaux en primeur and their customers even less.

So, anyone who tries to persuade you to buy 2013 Bordeaux en primeur as an investment either doesn't know what they are talking about or is a telesales scamster only concerned to separate you from your hard-earned cash!