Inside Track

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Inside Track was a British property investment information company[1] that went into administration in April 2008 following a downturn in the UK property market. Its sister company, Instant Access Properties, which sold properties to Inside Track clients, entered administration in September 2008, primarily as a result of the global economic crisis.

The company advertised in newspapers and through mailshots, inviting customers to attend a free property investment session. The purpose of the session was to sell a full two-day investment course, priced at £2,500.

If the customers proceeded beyond this stage, they would pay up to £8,000 to join 'Instant Access Properties', a 'property club' sister company of Inside Track, which sent property brochures for potential buy-to-let properties. These were typically off-plan properties, with the stated aim of achieving price appreciation before the property had been built, and with a view to holding the property on a medium or even long-term basis. Inside Track received a portion of the purchase price for this service, 3% if purchased through its sister company Inside Access Properties. Properties bought through the Instant Access company were sold at a nominal 15% discount (in order to access buy-to-let mortgages, which typically required a minimum 85% loan-to-value ratio).

With house price growth mostly over 10% each year continuing until 2007, many Inside Track customers did indeed make substantial profits, however with the UK property market in freefall as of 2008, the company was doomed, and it went into administration in April 2008; the company's website [1], which previously had advertised property seminars running almost every day and promoted its advice the UK buy-to-let market.

The main other company in the Inside Track family is Fuel,[2] a mortgage brokers, through which customers can arrange finance for their Inside Track property purchases. As of October 2008, it was still trading.

Inside Track's methodology was based on gearing, with customers encouraged to borrow against properties in order to buy more, a methodology that broke down as when the property market began to fall dramatically.

History[edit]

The company was set up initially by Jim & Kim Moore. Two tears later they were joined by Co-founder and Vice Chairman Brad Rosser, ex Corporate Development Director of the Virgin Group.

Moore was previously a junior partner in a merchant banking operation, where in the real estate department he had become involved in the rescue of both Hull City FC and Swansea City FC, both teams of which were restored to good health.

Prior to this Moore had built substantial commercial office & warehouse units.

Inside Track was set up in 2000, claiming to fill a gap in the market as advisor to individual investors in the buy-to-let property market, given that institutional investors had larger 'consultancy' type companies such as 'Savills', while consumers dealt only with estate agents, who act on behalf of the seller, not the buyer.

The company grew quickly, spending heavily on direct mail, and making to year end April 30, 2006, profits of £10.9m on turnover of £44.8m. To year end March 31, 2007, 25,265 people attended its free seminars, and 3,834 signed up the paid-for seminars.

A professional management team was recruited to manage the day-to-day affairs of the business, and a Vice Chairman, Brad Rosser, (Ex Virgin Group & McKinsey consulting) recruited. The business was marketed by Ernst & Young throughout 2006/7 and a bid in the region of £80M slipped away due to the onset of the credit crunch.

Once the UK property market began to crash, and sentiment turned against property, Inside Track, the property seminar company was no longer viable, and it went into administration in April 2008. The sister property sales firm, Instant Access Properties, went into administration in September 2008,with Moore's family holdings being the largest creditor. leaving 4500 exchanges incomplete.

Moore, the company's original founder, subsequently, injected substantial personal funding (3,000,000 GBP) to support these 4500 clients through to completion using a new company, IAP Global Limited, retaining the ex managing Director of Chestertons estate agents, Anthony McKay (a chartered accountant) to manage the day-to-day affairs of the business.

He quickly added the services of well known 'consumer champion' Louisa Fletcher (News of the World & ITN) in order to ensure that clients got good advice and guidance on an 'independent basis'

In 2010 IAP Global unfortunately also slipped into liquidation due to the total lack of liquidity in the UK property market.

In summary Inside Track and Instant Access were the visionary forerunners of a "sunrise industry" - independent property investment companys offering investment properties rather than investors relying on estate agents. Albeit they suffered from a market downturn and naturally "got the blame". Meanwhile Moore & Rosser "created a genre" as barely a day goes by now when some company isn't peddling a property investment as a pension alternative, buy to let is one of the strongest areas of growth in the UK property market, and what Rosser & Moore has been avid promotors of is once again proven true "real estate will always come good as long as you treat it as a medium to long term investment".

Thousands of people still benefit every day from what they learnt and investments made through Moore & Rosser's groundbreaking ideas.

Criticism[edit]

From time to time, Inside Track attracted some negative publicity for its aggressive marketing methods in the British press. The ASA found against them on several counts including making dishonest claims.

By 2008 Trading Standards had received complaints from some customers of Inside Track - hardly surprising as at the time they had grown to become the seventh largest direct mail operator in the UK.

Inside Track lobbied the FSA for regulation of the industry, but the FSA decided this wasn't in the public interest.

The company's seminar and sales methods were criticised in an article in The Guardian, with attendees saying that the £2,500 seminar was mainly concerned with promoting other Inside Track services and companies, and encouraging them to sign up to their membership service, however they consistently reported in excess of 97% client satisfaction rates for their educational products.

Inside Track were awarded 3 'Investment Specialist' awards by 'Business Britain' magazine. Business Britain Magazine Ltd, along with being respected and admired in the property industry.

Administration[edit]

Due to a sharp decline in UK property market sentiment in the wake of the credit crunch, Inside Track Seminars Ltd., which runs the seminars, went into administration in April 2008.

References[edit]