The Dolphin Trust Claims

Are you one of thousands of investors who have been misled in relation to The Dolphin Trust investment (GPG) scheme?

UK residents have entrusted up to an estimated £600m of pension savings with The Dolphin Trust, now known as German Property Group (GPG), but many are yet to see their money after the scheme has failed to deliver on promises.

How can we help?


Who are The Dolphin Trust/German Property Group?

The Dolphin Trust is an investment scheme that purportedly specialises in the refurbishment of listed buildings in Germany. The Dolphin Trust, as it was known in April 2019, claims to buy derelict buildings in prime locations which it then redevelops into luxury apartments. It is now known as German Property Group (GPG).

GPG has borrowed an estimated £600m from UK investors, and told these investors that their money would be safe because of the “First Legal Charge” they would get against the property – a document which entitles the investor to claim their money back from the sale of the property if the borrower fails to repay. As far as we are aware not one client received their supposed “First Legal Charge”.

GPG hit the headlines in May 2019 when a BBC report found that many investors had not received any of the returns on investment they had been promised. Many of the people who have lost money are not experienced investors and have invested their entire life savings into GPG. The BBC report tells of warehouse worker, Roy from Kent, who transferred £35,000 from his pension and expected to receive money back in March 2019. This never came true and the investor had potentially lost the entirety of his pension.  


How may have you been mis-sold?

In many cases, pension holders or cash investors who invested into GPG were told by unregulated salesmen working for separate companies, and paid up to 20% commission at the time, that they would almost double their money if they lent their savings for five years to GPG. The scheme was often recommended to individuals by an Independent Financial Adviser (IFA).

The bonds within GPG are not regulated with the FCA. Investors were also sent a list of buildings which GPG claimed to have secured for the project. Visits to those buildings, however, show that only one of the buildings was finished with another being nowhere near complete, and another where no work had even started despite GPG owning the building for more than five years.

It is clear to see that there have been many failings on The Dolphin Trust/German Property Group’s part, with £600m of investment from UK residents and little to show for it.

We believe that investors have several claims. Their first claim is against GPG itself for breach of contract. The second claim is against their financial advisor for negligence for advising them to invest into GPG in the first place. The third claim is against their SIPP company for breaching their duty of care to the investor for failing to carry out their own investigation into the scheme (if a pension claim). 



Should I wait to bring a claim?

We would advise investors into The Dolphin Trust/GPG to contact us as soon as possible so that we can start their claim without any delay.  



How will I fund my Dolphin Trust case?

If your Claim has merits, we will offer to act for you on a strictly NO-WIN NO-FEE BASIS. In essence, if we lose your case you do not pay us any fees. If we win, we take a percentage of your damages upon the conclusion of the case. This is called a Damages Based Fee Agreement. 



Is there any risk of adverse costs (third-party costs)?

We will also always do our utmost to remove or reduce you from the financial risk of litigation. Part of this may be to arrange an insurance policy to protect you from any legal costs.

If we don’t issue formal court proceedings (and instead pursue your claim via the Financial Services Compensation Scheme or the Financial Ombudsmen) then there will be no adverse costs nor any disbursements.

If we issue formal court proceedings and lose, there is a risk that you could be liable for third party costs. We will look to obtain After The Event (ATE) insurance for you to insure you against the risk of losing. The insurance policy is self-insuring so should you lose you would not have to pay any premiums. If we issue court proceedings, there will also be disbursements such as court fee and counsel’s fees. We would not cover these; you would be liable for them. We will, however, look to obtain litigation funding for you to cover these costs. 



Do I have to go to court (do I have to issue court proceedings)?

No. The choice is yours. 



How long will my Dolphin Trust/GPG claim take and when will I receive any compensation?

At the moment we cannot say. We have had claims that have settled within a matter of months. Other cases have taken up to/ and exceeding 2 years. We will however progress all matters as quickly as we possibly can.  


Who are you regulated by and why are you not FCA regulated? 

We are a law firm. As such we are regulated by the Solicitors Regulation Authority. 


Are you a genuine company? 

Yes. We are a regulated law firm. We have been set up for several years and you can find us at both Companies House and on the Law Society’s website. 


What do your charges to the group include and what do they exclude? Will I have to pay anything if a claim is rejected?

Our charges include our fees for acting for you in your case. Our charges will also include any out of pocket expenses such as photocopying charges and initial opinion from counsel. Our fees do not include any court Fees and/or counsel’s fees for dealing with court proceedings. We will look to obtain litigation funding for the clients to cover these charges. 


Who is David Smith?

David Smith is a Chartered Legal Executive and head of the SIPP team. He has years of experience of financial mis-selling claims. His areas of expertise include financial mis-selling; debt recovery and general commercial litigation. 


What is your track record of success in this area?

Excellent. We have acted for a considerable number of clients who have been mis-sold investments. We have an excellent success rate and believe that we are well suited to assist clients in pursuing claims for clients in this area. 


What is Smooth Commercial’s relationship with GPG Investors Committee?

The GPG Investors Committee approached Smooth Commercial Law to assist clients who have been mis-sold investments. We, however, act for individual clients and we are not dealing with any other aspect for the Committee such as the proposed restructure of GPG. 


What do you do with our information once you have it?

Your information is stored safely. We will, where possible, only retain electronic copies of your documents. We are bound by rules and regulations regarding confidentiality and data protection. We cannot and will not share your information with any third party without your prior written authority. 


What is the cash action plan?

Now we are gathering as much information and evidence as possible regarding cash claims. We will then be instructing Counsel to advise on possible claims involving cash only cases (non-regulated advice). Once we have this opinion, we will update the clients and then look to progress the claims where we can. We cannot at this point say who we will pursue or whether there will be a class action 


Can I claim against my SIPP Provider? 

Yes you can. 


How is my claim affected by what happens to GPG in Germany?

The outcome of the restructuring and subsequent realisation of GPG assets in Germany will clearly impact your claim. The more successful it is the less you will ultimately lose. However, the viability of the restructuring is far from clear at this stage and it could be many years before the outcome is determined. 


What can you do next if you have invested in The Dolphin Trust/GPG?

If you think you are the victim of a mis-sold SIPP from GPG, or if your SIPP is not performing as you were told it should be, then please get in touch with our specialist mis-sold SIPP lawyers to see if we can claim compensation for you.

Smooth Commercial Law have vast experience in dealing with mis-sold investments, and in particular, mis-sold SIPP investments. We can help you receive compensation.

To make an appointment or to find out more about how our SIPP claims experts can help you make a claim for compensation for a mis-sold SIPP:

One of our mis-sold SIPP claims experts will get in touch with you promptly. 


Useful Links

Dolphin investors to potentially lose half of their investment

Dolphin Trust Investors told to beware of scams

Value of Dolphin investment downgraded to 10%