Belvedere | The Truth
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“People think that a liar gains a victory over his victim. What I’ve learned is that a lie is an act of delusional self-abdication.” ~Ayn Rand

The Belvedere Truth site was created to provide factually supported truth to mitigate the intentional misinformation fed to the international press and the wilful attempts to mislead regulatory bodies in Guernsey and other offshore regulatory venues regarding ourselves and business relationships. We believe the genesis of this deceptive distraction was Nigel Green,his deVere Group and deVere Group attorneys to divert attention away from Mr. Green and deVere’s establishment and management of the Strategic Growth Fund and its sole ownership of the United Asset Management.

 

In fact, to support our belief one simply can recognize that within all the negative, manipulated and untrue conclusions fed to the Guernsey regulators by Mr. Green’s attorney, there is a remarkable total absence of any reference to Mr. Green’s controlling hand in nearly all the transactions blamed on us. Mr. Green’s wilful attempt to discredit and disparage us was nothing more than a smokescreen to distract everyone from his decisions that resulted in client losses and his exorbitant fee grabbing.

STRATEGIC GROWTH FUND

Frequently asked questions

1. WHAT IS STRATEGIC GROWTH FUND ("SGF")?

SGF is an investment fund. SGF invests in other investment funds and as such is known as a “fund of funds”.

2. HOW IS SGF STRUCTURED?

SGF made use of a “white label fund” known as Global Mutual Fund PCC Limited (“Global Mutual Fund”). Global Mutual Fund is a protected cell company incorporated in Guernsey. A protected cell company consists of a number of separate cells, each of which has its own assets and liabilities and is ring-fenced from the other cells. To all intents and purposes, each cell is a separate company and investors receive shares in the cell in which they invest. Three cells comprise SGF – one cell denominated in Euros, one in Dollars and one in Sterling.

Diagram

3. WHAT IS A WHITE LABEL FUND?

A “white label fund” is a structure that allows any aspiring fund manager to bring a product to market in a short space of time. The provider of the white label fund has already set up the entity, lined up the service providers and obtained the necessary regulatory approvals making it cheaper and quicker to use a white label product than for the manager to set up his own entity. The promoter names the fund itself and is appointed by the white label provider to manage the protected cell dedicated to that manager. That cell is ring-fenced from the others. This is a common structure in the funds industry given the economies of scale that arise from using a single company for a number of funds and leveraging the relationships that company has with third party service providers. Global Mutual Fund is a white label fund structure and SGF is a fund set up on the white label fund platform.

4. WHO SET UP SGF?

The deVere Group. The deVere Group requested that a number of protected cells be established on the Global Mutual Fund platform. These cells would be managed by deVerefor deVere clients. The cells included SGF, Diversified Emerging Market Fund, Fusion Fund, Global Necessities Fund, and New World Fund.

6. WHO INVESTED IN SGF SGF?

SGF is designed “only for sophisticated investors who are able to bear the risk of an investment in the Cells, including the risk of a capital loss.”

 

Because SGF was established for the deVere Group, the ultimate investors in SGF are all clients of the deVere Group. The deVere clients did not invest directly into SGF but through structures designed by, and in most cases operated by or on behalf of the deVere Group. It would appear that these structures were not always necessary but they generated additional fees for the deVere Group. In the case of SGF, many of the deVere clients hold an investment in a pension fund (QROPS) which holds an insurance policy issued by an insurance company which in turn invests into SGF.

5. WHAT DID SGF INVEST IN?

SGF invested in a number of underlying investment funds. Some of those underlying funds had restricted liquidity and as a result, SGF’s information memorandum stated that “Investors should preferably have no income requirements and a time horizon of more than five years.”

7. WHO IS THE DEVERE GROUP?

According to their website, the deVere Group is “the world’s largest independent international financial consultancy” “with over 80,000 clients in over 100 different countries, and in excess of $10 billion under advice and administration.” According to FT Adviser, “The typical deVere client is a high-net worth individual, earning a salary in excess of £150,000 a year.”

 

The CEO of the deVere Group is Nigel Green.

 

The deVere Group has a reputation for “engaging in aggressive sales tactics to secure big commissions at the expense of client interests.” The deVere website itself notes that the Group has been attacked by clients citing a failure to disclose fees at all levels of the structures that they advise on.

 

Members of the deVere Group have had their financial services licences suspended in a number of jurisdictions including Belgium and most recently Hong Kong and was fined in Singapore for breaching distribution rules before it abandoned that jurisdiction.

DEVERE & NIGEL GREEN MANAGED THE STRATEGIC GROWTH FUND
8. WHO MANAGED SGF?

DeVere and Nigel Green. From February 2009 until January 2013, United Asset Management Sarl (“UAM”), a Swiss company, managed SGF. All investment decisions of SGF were debated and taken by an investment committee of UAM. Members of that committee included Nigel Green, Mike Coady and other deVere staff…. The committee met regularly to discuss strategy and to review performance of the investments of SGF.

 

UAM was appointed into this role by Lancelot Management Limited (“Lancelot”), the principal manager of the white label fund, Global Mutual Fund, in terms of an “Investment Advisory Agreement”. Despite its name, that agreement in fact authorised UAM to take decisions for SGF, i.e. to act as a discretionary investment manager of SGF. The agreement provided that UAM was the sole entity appointed to “discharge the investment management duties … for the benefit of [SGF] and take decisions regarding the composition of the investment portfolio.”

 

In January 2013, UAM attempted to recast their role in SGF as being that of a non-discretionary investment adviser to Lancelot. In February 2013, they claimed that UAM was a “fund distribution company”. These were an effort to shift responsibility for the decisions away from Green and deVere. Despite the fact that there is a plethora of documentation showing that UAM actually exercised discretionary powers over the SGF portfolio for nearly three years, UAM claimed that Lancelot was the investment manager of SGF rather than UAM. UAM made a contrived legal argument (rejected by legal opinion) that the main clause in the advisory agreement between UAM and Lancelot (quoted in the paragraph above) required an additional document to activate it and that in the absence of such activation, UAM was not responsible for management but merely for the provision of advice. Irrespective of the legal technicalities, the fact remains that for nearly three years, UAM in fact took all investment decisions for SGF without consulting with Lancelot.

 

What is more, if UAM’s argument that it had a non-discretionary role only was accepted, other clauses in the advisory agreement that are not in dispute make UAM responsible for obtaining valuations, providing recommendations and advice and “supervising all aspects of the daily investment management activities undertaken on behalf of [SGF]”. UAM received millions of Dollars in fees for providing this service. Even if UAM had only been the non-discretionary advisor to SGF (which it clearly was not), UAM was responsible for the supervision of all aspects of the investment management of SGF and Nigel Green as the manager and owner of UAM knew or should have known precisely what SGF was invested in.

9. WHAT FEES DID UAM CHARGE?

UAM received an advisory fee equal to 1% of the net asset value of SGF. UAM retained 0.75% of this fee and paid 0.25% as a rebate to the insurance companies (including insurance companies owned by the deVere Group) who invested in SGF. In addition, UAM also received a 10% performance fee. As the sole shareholder, Green would have been entitled to retain these fees, but all of the fees were in fact paid on to an offshore account of the deVere Group. Over the period of the agreement with Lancelot, the advisory fees amounted to millions of Dollars.

10. WHO OWNED UNITED ASSET MANAGEMENT?

Nigel Green, the Chief Executive Officer of the deVere Group established UAM and he was the sole shareholder and a manager of UAM until late 2012. Green remained an authorised signatory of UAM until 17 January 2013. Share transfers in late 2012 appear not to have changed the ownership position materially since continued to maintain, after these transfers, that UAM and “the deVere Group share common stakeholders.”

NIGEL GREEN WAS THE SOLE MANAGER & SHAREHOLDER OF UAM
11. WHO RAN UAM?

Nigel Green, as the sole shareholder and a manager of UAM, decided how UAM was staffed. Mr. Green assigned deVere staff members to UAM and UAM was run as a deVere Group company. Some deVere staff were issued with UAM email addresses.

 

Cobus Kellermann was only employed by UAM as a “fund manager” of UAM 24 April 2008. His employment agreement was signed by Nigel Green on behalf of UAM. The employment agreement makes Kellermann subject to “the standards set from time to time by the Managing Director” (being Nigel Green). Mr. Kellermann was never paid for the services he rendered and he resigned in April 2012.

 

While Kellermann was employed by UAM, investment decisions were taken by an investment committee which included Nigel Green, deVere employees Mike Coady and Craig Featherby and Mr. Kellermann. At the instance of Nigel Green, Mike Coady of deVere was made responsible for managing Mr.Kellermann and the two were in regular contact. Mr.Kellermann also met with Mr. Green to report on the activities of UAM. More than 20,000 emails were exchanged between Mr. Kellermann and deVere staff. An example of such an email is one dated 17 August 2011 from Craig Featherby at deVere in South Africa to Mike Coady of deVere and Nigel Green. This email was forwarded to Cobus Kellermann. In the email Craig Featherby notes that Nigel Green is in the process of removing his name from the ownership records for UAM so that South African clients do not have to sign a disclaimer acknowledging that ownership. Featherby notes that getting this disclaimer signed is slowing his sales into SGF.

 

After Mr. Kellermann’s resignation in April 2012, Nigel Green himself assumed authority to place trade instructions for UAM and he represented UAM until other investment professionals were appointed in October 2012.

12. WAS MR. KELLERMANN FIRED BY NIGEL GREEN AS ALLEGED BY MR. GREEN?

No, despite being owed monies, Mr. Kellermann was never paid by UAM for his services and he resigned from UAM on 30 April 2012. Mr. Kellermann’s resignation was minuted in board minutes of Lancelot dated 1 June 2012. Those minutes also confirm that Nigel Green had put himself forward as Mr. Kellermann’s replacement, a substitution that could not be made given that Mr. Green did not have the investment management experience required by the Guernsey regulator.

 

Mr. Kellermann’s resignation before the value of the SGF dropped does not fit with Nigel Green’s narrative that Cobus Kellermann is responsible for whatever losses might be incurred in SGF. He therefore sought to alter reality by claiming in a letter dated 11 October 2012, that Kellermann had been removed from his position. On 7 December 2012, UAM wrote to Lancelot claiming that “Kellermann (sic) submitted his resignation as the fund advisor and Mr. Philip Rose was appointed as his replacement with effect from 19th November 2012.”

 

The Guernsey Financial Services Commission picked up and repeated on Nigel Green’s misrepresentation and it stated that Kellermann was removed from his position at UAM by “the owner of UAM, Mr. Nigel Green” in September 2012 citing the UAM letter as authority.

 

The fact of the matter is that Cobus Kellermann was not fired from UAM. He resigned in June 2012. This was some time before the events set out in paragraph 13 and he was under no pressure to resign from Nigel Green or UAM.

13. WHAT WENT WRONG WITH SGF?

Kwanda co-invested in certain South African assets with Basileus Capital (“Basileus”), an investment fund based in South Africa. On 26 July 2012, the CEO of Basileus, Julian Williams, was shot by one of his Associates. This, and allegations that the Basileus investments had been funded by a Ponzi scheme had a negative impact on the investments Kwanda held, certain of which entered into “business rescue proceedings” designed to protect them from a run by creditors. The net asset value of Kwanda dropped as a result and this had a knock-on effect on the net asset value of SGF. These events occurred nearly two months after Mr. Kellermann had resigned as an employee of UAM and during the period before Mr. Rose’s appointment when Nigel Green was running UAM.

 

On 26 February 2013, deVere recommended to its clients that they disinvest from SGF. Because all of the investors in SGF were deVere clients, the effect of this email was to recommend to all investors in SGF that they redeem and this resulted in a large number of redemption requests being received by SGF, which was in turn obliged to place redemption requests with underlying funds. Kwanda could not process such a large volume of requests given the restricted liquidity of its investments.

 

Kwanda and SGF both took steps to ensure that investors were protected. SGF implemented a “side-pocket” described in the SGF fund documents as “additional special class shares (the “S Shares”) with a preferential interest in any profits arising from such underlying illiquid asset”. In other words, SGF placed the illiquid assets in a separate compartment from the liquid assets. The liquid compartment can be redeemed at any time. Only 50% of the investors in the liquid compartment have in fact redeemed. The illiquid side-pocket will pay out to investors as and when liquidity returns to the underlying assets. One of the Kwanda assets, Advanced Alloys, exited business rescue proceedings soon after it entered into those proceedings. All investments of Kwanda continue to trade.

14. HOW DID DEVERE REACT?

In July 2012, when the value of SGF was impacted by the Basileus events, Cobus Kellermann was no longer an employee of UAM. UAM was still owned 100% by Nigel Green who was an authorised signatory for UAM. Initially Green and deVere did nothing but in October 2012, Nigel Green began implementing changes at UAM designed to place the blame for the drop in value of SGF on Cobus Kellermann. Green’s strategy was to –

 

  • Cover up his ownership of UAM. He transferred his shareholding and relinquished his manager status.
  • Hide Green and deVere’s role in the management of UAM and UAM’s role as manager of SGF. UAM began arguing that it had never been a discretionary manager of SGF but only an advisor and they claimed that deVere had never been involved in the management of UAM.
  • Set up Cobus Kellermann as the fall guy. Green and deVere began writing letters stating that Cobus Kellermann had been removed or forced to resign in later 2012 after Green had expressed concerns about his activities. They also gave misleading information to the press and regulators.
  • Try to get hold of the underlying assets at a discount and shift clients into a new structure so that they could keep the clients and the fees. UAM was placed under the control of Philip Rose who urged Lancelot to authorise him to engage in “shareholder activism” in South Africa on behalf of Lancelot. Rose’s activist proposal was for a newly-formed deVere private equity fund to acquire the assets of Kwanda at a 30%-40%discount. This would of course have meant that the deVere clients invested in SGF would have lost 30%-40% of the value of their investment in SGF for the benefit of other deVere clients investing into a new private equity fund.

 

The strategy succeeded only partially. The public trail of Green’s ownership of UAM and deVere involvement in the investment committee and general management of UAM cannot be completely erased. Nor can the documented resignation of Kellermann in early 2012 be erased. The business rescue practitioners in South Africa rejected the deVere offer to take over the assets and the entities deVere sought to acquire at a massive discount continue to trade today. Having attempted, and failed, to secure the underlying assets for themselves, deVere finally recommended to its clients that they disinvest from SGF causing a run on SGF that resulted in redemptions being restricted. They then tried to blame the collapse of SGF on Kellermann and his associates.

15. DID COBUS KELLERMAN SELL SHARES IN BKONE ON THE SAME DAY JULIAN WILLIAMS WAS SHOT?

No. Mr. Kellermann was an employee of an investment manager that managed a South African fund that, in the days before Mr. Williams’ death took a decision to sell its position in BKOne. Kellermann was part of a group of six involved in the decision to sell shares. That decision was implemented by a trade that was processed the day before Williams was shot.

 

The decision was taken because the fund had investment restrictions (prudential limits) that prohibited it from holding an investment in BKOne representing more than 5% of its net asset value. As the value of the fund’s assets fluctuated, it was obliged, on advice from its administrator, to sell BKOne shares to ensure that it met its prudential limit. This occurred on a number of separate occasions and in mid-July 2012, the investment manager made the decision to divest of the BKOne shares in order to permanently address the prudential limit issue. This trade was processed through the public market (the stock exchange) on demonstrably arm’s length terms on 25 July 2012. Mr. Williams was shot the following day. The South African regulator examined these transactions and confirmed that the trade and the subsequent murder of Mr. Williams were coincidental.

16. WHY IS DEVERE RELUCTANT TO ADMIT NIGEL GREEN'S OWNERSHIP OF UAM?

In May 2013, deVere admitted that Green controlled UAM until May 2012 and that his ownership was relinquished in September 2012. Kellermann resigned in May 2012, i.e. at a time when Green by his own admission, controlled UAM.

 

By March 2015, the deVere Group had become reluctant to admit Mr. Green’s ownership of UAM. deVere also became reluctant to admit that it or Nigel Green had offered any advice with regard to the control, management and supervision of the SGF. This despite the fact that UAM demonstrably provided a discretionary service to SGF and Nigel Green himself is on record as having instructed the liquidation of SGF assets. deVere has even gone so far as to claim that “UAM is a fund distributor and was not a fund manager.”

 

One might ask, “Why does deVere flip-flop on the issue of their involvement with UAM and SGF?” The short answer is that deVere does not want to admit that SGF and UAM were conduits for deVere to earn fees from its clients’ investments or to accept responsibility for the restructured liquidity of the investments in SGF.

 

The problem for Green and deVere is that UAM received millions of Dollars in fees from investors in SGF and it paid those to the deVere Group. If deVere maintains the argument that it was not involved in UAM or SGF, how does it justify the millions of Dollars it received in fees. And if it says those fees were hard-earned, how does it deny responsibility for the portfolio composition, the restricted liquidity and potentially expose the firm to a negligence claim?

 

Green and deVere are caught between two stools. While they figure out an explanation for their contradictory statements, they are obviously looking for a scapegoat. That scapegoat is Cobus Kellermann, his business partner, David Cosgrove and the businesses that they own.

 

There are inconvenient facts that make this argument difficult to sustain such as the fact that investment committee meetings of UAM were minuted, that Kellermann resigned in April 2012, that Nigel Green himself made and implemented investment decisions for SGF and that public records reflect Green’s ownership and management of UAM. However, accusing Kellermann of running a Ponzi scheme (a claim that is still entirely unsubstantiated) is just the ticket to distract the press and deVere clients from the truth about the way in which deVere does business and their role in running SGF and to destroy their credibility.

17. WHO GAVE MISINFORMATION TO THE PRESS AND MISLED THE REGULATORS?

deVere has no hesitation in claiming responsibility for contacting David Marchant, the journalist who broke a story that Mr. Kellermann and Mr. Cosgrove of Belvedere were running a “massive criminal enterprise” in the form of a Ponzi Scheme worth billions of Dollars. Not surprisingly, none of the Ponzi Scheme claims have been justified or proven. Marchant operates a subscription-based Internet publication which reports on fraud investigations. High profile scoops that can only be accessed by passing through Marchant’s pay wall of course drive profits for Marchant’s business. Marchant’s article was particularly well-timed coming in the build up to a conference that Marchant hosts annually. Marchant himself has become a press topic. He was interviewed in the South African press recently and when the South African journalist noted the link between Marchant’s source, deVere, and UAM, Marchant directed the journalist off the trail of deVere. “DeVere isn’t the story here. Belvedere Management Group is the story and that is controlled by David Cosgrove and Cobus Kellermann,” Marchant said.

 

deVere also claim that “it is only because of the lawyers in Mauritius with whom we are working passing on our evidence to the regulator there that official warnings were issued. Similarly, our Guernsey lawyers have provided evidence to the regulator there also.” That deVere were successful in misleading the regulators is perhaps best evidenced by the Guernsey regulator’s reference to a letter written by Nigel Green explaining the circumstances of Kellermann’s departure from UAM – an account that contradicts board minutes of Lancelot that the regulator also had in its position. Marchant also takes credit for tipping off the regulators. A key component of Marchant’s business is his annual conference, a conference sponsored, coincidentally one imagines, by PWC, who have been appointed in Mauritius by the regulators to investigate the claims made by Marchant and deVere..

“The truth is incontrovertible. Malice may attack it, ignorance may deride it, but in the end, there it is.” ~Winston Churchill

Now you know the truth about Belvedere.

David Cosgrove
Cobus Kellermann