I entered into an agreement with First Fidelity Trust AG to purchase a “Vintage Trust” formed prior to 1981. The purpose of this acquisition was to access certain characteristics of this grandfathered entity which included some of the following appealling abilities, as outlined in an email to me prior to purchase:
Automatically qualify for listing on the German stock exchange.
Qualify to apply for SWIFT membership with the service’s central office in Brussels.
The power to issue and trade LC’s with all international banking institutions.
The power to open and maintain bank accounts, including trust, escrow, commercial, merchant accounts with any bank worldwide including US based institutions.
The power to open and maintain sub-accounts for third parties under the umbrella of the Trust.
The power to accept and invest funds on behalf of third party customers.
The power to offer and service a complete range of worldwide fiduciary services.
The power to participate in life insurance with fix or variable annuity or life settlements policy.
The power to acquire, develop, hold, sell, trade, exchange, dispose, mortgage or real property, precious metals as well as natural resources.
It may engage in the general leasing business, franchising, money funds, mutual funds, formation of general limited partnership and real estate investment trust.
It may acquire and sell both private and commercial property worldwide.
Act as a holding company for banks, savings and loans, insurance companies, small business investment corporations and stock brokerage firms.
It may hold and own financial institutions worldwide, including banks, brokers, Forex etc.
Reinsurance for political risk/trade and permium financing.
The signature of any commercial paper, debt obligatin, bonds, stocks, securities, subscription agreements and any other evidence of indebtedness document or agreement binding upon such terms and conditions as determined by this and its Trustees.
The power to act as natural persons.
The power to act as attorney-in-fact.
The power to act as officers, agents, employees.
The power to make and sign contracts.
The power to create agencies and joint ventures.
The power of investments.
The power to deal in goodwill.
The power of donation.
The power of guarantee.
The power of trustee.
The power to act as investment advisor.
The power to act as consultant.
The power to deal in securities, commodities and fixed income brokerage.
The power of inventory financing.
The power to create correspondence banking relationships.
The power of collections.
The power to hold patents.
The power to make acquisitions.
The power to be registered in foreign countries.
The power to sell annuities.
The power to re-insure.
The power to counter-insure.
The power to create or set aside outside of the company a special fund.
The power to sell endowments.
The power to act as pension adviser.
The power to deal in insurance brokerage.
As can be noted above items number 1,2,3,5,6,7,9,10,11,17,20,21,24,25,26,30 and 41 were of particular interest and the prime motivators for the purchase of a “Vintage Trust”. I agreed to pay 100,000 chf and put $20,000 usd as a down payment towards the purchase in February 2015.
It must be noted, inorder for a North American company to provide the above listed services it has to enter into multiple lisencing arrangements with various regulatory authorities in its domiciled jurisdiction. Upon further investigation including discussions with Andrew Serafin and legal representation I was lead to believe the trust I was to purchase did not need any lisencing to enter into the above services; most interesting in regards to item numbers 6,7,21,25,26,30,35,36,37,39,40 and/or 41. Also a trust is a corporation. It is not a separate entity as in North America. The trust and corporation are one and the same.
I entered into an agreement for purchase of the trust/company, paid $20,000 usd down and agreed to pay the balance in October of 2015. In the agreement no interest was charged on the outstanding balance and no mention was made regarding the payment of any fees incurred while under the purchase arrangement.
Until the company was paid in full I had no authority nor ownership of the entity. The balance was paid in October 2015 and transfer of resident director was intitiated. On January 27, 2016 I was in receipt of the bearer shares and now had ownership of the company.
It was at this time that I was informed I owed First Fidelity Trust AG by Andrew Serafin that 13,000 chf was owed for the registration, directorship, taxes and representation fees for 2015. I mention to Mr. Serafin I was not the owner of the trust/company in 2015 and was not going to pay the fees for 2015. I mentioned to Mr. Serafin outlined in the purchase agreement the first years fees were to be paid out of the purchase price and these fees would be applied towards the 2016 year.
In October of 2016 due to repeated threats by First Fidelity Trust AG and Mr. Serafin they would cancel any representation of my company if the 2015 fees were not paid I called and talked with Mr. Serafin. We came to an ammicable agreement whereby I agreed to pay half of the 2015 fees when the fees for 2017 were due; January 27, 2017. On January 13, 2017 I received notification that First Fidelity Trust AG is cancelling the agreement to represent my company effective immediately. I am now without a resident director nor representation in Switzerland which creates duress and significant pressure for me to now be bullied into paying the fees early.
In addition to the fees to be paid it has come to my attention the outlined points of interest above do require lisencing by the SIX, FINMA and Swiss regulatory authorities. This is in complete contradiction to what I was provided and told prior to purchasing the “Vintage Trust”. I have all the notes and coorespondence associated with the purchase.
Upon further investigation I have found out I could have purchased a company for 5,000 chf and it can do exactly the same functions as outlined above except it would not qualify to be automatically listed on the German stock exchange.
The above situation seems to represent a number of serious concerns: bait and switch tactics, misleading advertising, breach of fiduciary responsibility, breach of consumer trust, extorting money for non-contractual fees, blackmail and price gouging.
Beware of purchasing any companies from First Fidelity Trust AG and/or Andrew Serafin due to the aforementioned reasons or you may end up with your business being held up due to unforeseen non-contratual exorbitant fees and left trying to find a replacement resident director and company representative.