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Angel Investor (Individual)

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Investments

1

Portfolio Exits

1

About John Winter

John Winter is the former CEO of Barclays Corporate Banking.

John Winter Headquarters Location

United Kingdom

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Latest John Winter News

Insolvency body alerted ASIC to concerns about DG Institute products

Apr 21, 2022

, Australian Restructuring Insolvency and Turnaround Association (ARITA) chief executive John Winter brought the activities of DG Institute to the attention of the regulator’s senior executive leader of registered liquidators, financial reporting and audit, Thea Eszenyi, in September 2019. Dominique Grubisa, the CEO of DG Institute, has lodged an appeal for a review and stay of ASIC’s decision. “I wanted to share with you for the obvious concerns it raises,” Mr Winter wrote in reference to a business turnaround summit being run by DG Institute. “On the basis of your standing request to share any market intel re this type of behaviour, I wanted to share this with you on an informal basis.” Further correspondence raised concerns about Ms Grubisa marketing herself as an “ASIC Licensed Debt Specialist”. Such licensing did not exist, according to the Australian Securities and Investments Commission. Advertisement The information provided by ARITA contributed to ASIC’s investigation of Ms Grubisa. Earlier this month, she was banned by ASIC for four years from engaging in credit activity , providing financial advice, performing any function in a credit entity, or controlling a credit entity or financial services business. Ms Grubisa has lodged an appeal with the Administrative Appeals Tribunal for a review and stay of ASIC’s decision. Mr Winter also forwarded concerns expressed by his liquidator members, including about DG Institute’s products such as its Vestey Trust, which claims it is a legal way to protect wealth. “The Vestey’s basic idea was to make yourself a ‘man of straw’. While you are free to enjoy assets and utilise them to make money, you become as insubstantial as a scarecrow if someone tries to take those assets away,” Ms Grubisa wrote on the DG Institute website material that was sent to ASIC by Mr Winter in November 2019. “For example, take the area where most Australians invest their wealth: property. In the event of a catastrophic financial failure, creditors and liquidators may try to seize the equity an individual holds in their house to pay creditors. But what if there is no equity in the home and nothing for liquidators to seize? “The Vestey trust system works by establishing a ‘friendly creditor’ in the form of a special trust that owns the additional equity in your assets. A caveat is placed on the property title directing that the trust owns any equity beyond the loan amount. Because the caveat is placed on the title when times are good, it takes priority over subsequent claims by liquidators in times of distress.” Advertisement Mr Winter told the Financial Review on Thursday that a Vestey trust would only add cost and slow down a recovery process, rather than protect assets. “The DG Institute is trying to say that they can stop anybody’s assets being reclaimed in the event of insolvency,” Mr Winter said. “That’s simply not true because one of the functions of both liquidators of companies and bankruptcy trustees is to be able to break through these so-called asset protection measures to try and recover the money that rightfully belongs to proper creditors of the business.” Mr Winter said a Vestey trust would just make it more expensive for a liquidator to recover money, which is a cost to other creditors. “The reality is it’s absolutely breakable,” he said. “The process would be a liquidator would come into the business that this person was associated with. They would see uncommercial transactions that have been made, and they would make inquiries, they would pursue the individual and bankrupt them. “Once a bankruptcy trustee is appointed a bankruptcy trustee has extremely useful powers to break apart this sort of trust.” ARITA was so concerned about the education courses DG Institute was offering in business turnaround that it had members of its staff view webinars during COVID-19 in 2020. Advertisement Earlier this year, ARITA reported a businessman who identified himself as a student of DG Institute with a certificate in business turnaround. ARITA contacted the businessman who was using ARITA’s logo on his LinkedIn profile. “However, [the businessman’s] actions in addressing this matter were extremely unprofessional and reiterates our concerns regarding the veracity of the teachings of the DG Institute and the ability of its ‘graduates’ to provide trustworthy advice in this sector,” Mr Winter wrote in a letter to Ms Eszenyi. DG Institute has not responded to the Financial Review since April 7 despite multiple requests for comment. “Both Ms Grubisa and Master Wealth Control Pty Ltd t/as DG Institute (DGI) disagree with ASIC’s decision and Ms Grubisa has lodged an appeal with the Administrative Appeals Tribunal,” it said in a statement on April 7. “The decision does not prevent Ms Grubisa from practising as a lawyer or DGI from operating its business. The ruling applies to the provision of financial advice and conducting credit activities, which are not activities that Ms Grubisa or DGI engage in. Ms Grubisa will continue as the director of DGI and the business will continue to operate as usual.” The firm said it would not be comment further as the matter is subject to legal proceedings. Max Mason covers courts, insolvency, financial crime, cybercrime and corporate wrongdoing. He joined the masthead in 2013 and has held a number of roles, including media editor and telecommunications reporter. He is based in Sydney. Connect with Max on Twitter . Email Max at max.mason@afr.com Save

John Winter Investments

1 Investments

John Winter has made 1 investments. Their latest investment was in Vantage Power as part of their Angel on March 3, 2017.

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John Winter Investments Activity

investments chart

Date

Round

Company

Amount

New?

Co-Investors

Sources

3/28/2017

Angel

Vantage Power

$3.11M

Yes

5

Date

3/28/2017

Round

Angel

Company

Vantage Power

Amount

$3.11M

New?

Yes

Co-Investors

Sources

5

John Winter Portfolio Exits

1 Portfolio Exit

John Winter has 1 portfolio exit. Their latest portfolio exit was Vantage Power on April 23, 2019.

Date

Exit

Companies

Valuation
Valuations are submitted by companies, mined from state filings or news, provided by VentureSource, or based on a comparables valuation model.

Acquirer

Sources

4/23/2019

Acquired

$99M

1

Date

4/23/2019

Exit

Acquired

Companies

Valuation

$99M

Acquirer

Sources

1

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