The financial failure of OwnerShips
As an former employee of this firm I suppose one could look at what is written below and say I am biased, but I will air my views nevertheless.
OwnerShips WAS a great concept and had a great "club" feel to it. Allen Matthews was a wonderful "chap" who, with his engaging and quietly spoken ways could charm anyone, and sadly some of that charm was extended to charming people out of their money. Allen Matthews made very very little out of OwnerShips (certainly while I was there), he was not stashing money away and planning his flit to some far flung place. Most of the money he took was to keep his company going. Sure there were some extravagances, his brief dalliance with classic Rover cars (all three blew up on him!) is the one I recall, but he dressed plainly, drove a several year old Volvo most of the time I knew him and lived in what was then a fairly shabby rented house in a fairly ordinary street in London (latterly the company bought it, and unlike several other of his investments this one has appreciated it seems).
Allen was a very generous man and a man with vision, sadly it was as a businessman that his talents came unstuck. With Allen every concept was "Jam Tomorrow" but sadly he ran out of his own, and other peoples, money (mainly the latter) to get the jam that would sort out the issues.
Make no mistake Allen knew that his company was in the mire of that I am certain, although how much of the situation the staff come the day of reckoning knew is open to debate, many of the staff worked remotely and were not there in the office to see any of the day to day events, equally Allen, having come very close to being "exposed" at least twice may have kept newer staff at a distance for the main financial situation.
He would do anything to save his own face and keep the firm going for his customers, it is ironic that he should die at around the time the firm's financial situation should become unmanageable, I personally do not think that had he been alive today it would have gone on for very much longer, another year perhaps with more borrowings? Who knows?
What I am sure of is that it was right to wind the firm up, it should have been done years ago, and who knows, with his charm he might well have managed to walk away and formed "OwnerShips 2" with the same bunch of customers?
Having left OwnerShips in July 2003 I am somewhat "out of the loop" as far as the current situation is concerned but reading between the lines it would appear that the present staff are going to set up a firm to manage the present boats, where the owners have the option of going with the present firm, or one of the other companies putting their offers in, or going it alone. At present it seems that financially at least they as groups are on their own.
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