Post meeting addendum – long live OS2

After my last post, it does seem that as there are many people who didn’t attend the meeting (and may well find the Ownerships forum too busy/muddled) and don’t know what happened. Hopefully the links do point out what went on (I could have reiterated it again, but it seemed succinct enough), but essentially Anthony Trueman explained that as Allan Mathews embezzled £1.8million which could rise to mean the Ownerships have a £4m debt, the company is to be wound up. A transcript, or maybe just a summary, of the meeting is to be posted out to all owners this week so everyone should at least know what’s going on. It is going to be reported to various places such as The Serious Fraud Office so that no-one is under the illusion things are being pushed under the carpet, but essentially any owner investing in the various schemes has probably lost their money (as Ownerships has no cash left, and its main asset is now the bank’s), additionally all owners (including those who never joined any scheme and just boated) have lost their sinking fund.
Anthony Trueman, OS Finance DirectorThe meeting was also discussing a new company, which before the meeting I was highly sceptical of (you hear about people who declare bankruptcy to clear their debts and reopen with their wife as a director), but was convinced by the meeting – I’m sure I’m not alone. The core business model of Ownerships : managing boats for a fee (not to mention the share sales of new build boats, and brokerage of re-sales of existing shares) is a profitable one – if it wasn’t there wouldn’t be other companies out there offering to take over boats wanting to bail. After Challenger Syndicateships went under their new management company paid the receiver £20K so they could take over managing! Luckily we own our own boats (it was mentioned that a paragraph in the ownership document says that Ownerships keeps our boats in trust, to which Anthony Trueman said he would look into and agree to sell back to each owner for a nominal fee of £1).
So a company goes bust, should we trust a new company? Well the meeting was mainly a Q&A which included about the “potential” new company and to ask whether owners to consider if they wanted the new company to go ahead – without support from owners waning their boats to be managed there is no business! The new company would be a mutual – because Joan Linderman, the new director who was left the poison chalice of OS in Allen’s will, feels sorry so many people were duped so aims for shares be allocated equal to the debt owed. These shares will initially be worthless, and we don’t have to invest, but it is hoped they will give dividends and so accrue value over time. I would assume that people will be asked if they want to receive the shares and can refuse. Transparency is to be the watchword of the new company, with monthly accounts to be publicly available so that miss use of funds couldn’t happen or would be noticed quickly (the downfall of Ownerships was Allen Mathews kept funds into accounts he didn’t keep records for and used like some Vegas gambler to invest in new “big schemes” in the hope the next one would reap enough to repay everyone back). This was roughly all the detail given really, because at this stage they just want an indication as to whether to go ahead and set it up, if so then a proper prospectus would be produced. Anthony Trueman also outlined that his involvement would be purely to set the company up, and afterwards he was aiming to walk away – his professional advice had been that Joan Linderman didn’t have to accept Allen Mathews’ “gift” of ownerships, but had stayed on (unpaid) to sort out the mess as a favour.
As a final element I would like to extend my thanks to Ownerships staff – there has been many, probably libellous, things said about how Ownerships staff “must have known”, but some were there at the meeting on Saturday, and all the staff had been continuing to work trying to help owners in all this mess, even though they would not be paid (as they are paid monthly on 12th). I ask you, how many would, once being told that the company is going under because it has no funds and you won’t get paid, would carry on helping increasingly frustrated and probably irate client base.

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