No cash for shared owners

Published: Thursday, 24 October 2013

AFTER entering receivership some three years ago, OwnerShips, the boatshare company, was dissolved on 16th October, writes Allan Richards.

A final meeting of creditors with Begbie Traynor in July, allowed its release as liquidators. It is understood that no money has been returned to creditors

Systematically taken money

At one time OwnerShips was the largest boatshare company, managing over 100 boats. However, following the death of its founder and managing director, Allen Mathews, (pictured) in 2010 it was found to have massive debts. His executor, Antony Trueman explained:

"I have uncovered that Allen Matthews has systematically taken money from hundreds of owners on the pretence of the money being held on deposit, in the region of £1.8 million.

'He has also taken money from individuals who believed in him, and he has used the sinking fund to regularly cover his trail. At this point in time there are insufficient funds for the company to meet its liabilities. The one asset, the company head office, is currently on the market but charged to Barclays Bank."

Sinking fund

By way of explanation, the 'sinking fund' was money paid by boat owners up front for the maintenance and running of their boats over each coming year. In theory, the fund decreases to zero over the year, hence the name. The fund should have been held separately for each boat and only used for that boat.

The reference to 'taken money from individuals who believed in him' refers to an estimated 600 boaters who had invested in various OwnerShips schemes. These included:

  • Free Management Scheme
  • A scheme to buy Fradley Boat Yard
  • Marina Investment Scheme
  • Buy Back Scheme

Lack of confidence

Perhaps unsurprisingly, a rescue plan foundered due to investing boat owners lack of confidence, and OwnerShips entered administration.

Whilst a few of the many boats managed by Ownerships have been sold, most continue to operate either managed by other companies or self managed.