Coetzee raves about trusts to protect wealth | Fin24

Coetzee raves about trusts to protect wealth

Feb 02 2015 14:26
Donwald Pressly
Cape Town - The best thing the English brought to Africa was the notion of a trust, an instrument which could be leveraged to provide long-term security and wealth, controversial Treoc chief executive Coert Coetzee told an investors’ seminar in Stellenbosch at the weekend.
Coetzee, who faces a legal suit by angry investors in a liquidated subsidiary Treoc Capital (Pty) Ltd, said it dawned on him when reading Afrikaans magazine Huisgenoot, which carried a story some years ago on the richest man in the world.

READ: Investors take Treoc 'Ponzi scheme' to court
The story was not about Warren Buffett or Bill Gates as one would have expected, but about the Duke of Westminister who Huisgenoot reported was the wealthiest man in the world. The problem was that his wealth could not be quantified, as the bulk of it was property-held in trusts. “His wealth is in property… not in shares like Gates and Buffett,” said Coetzee.
Speaking to about 200 potential investors at a Stellenbosch hotel, Coetzee said he had retired some years ago from various businesses and had a great deal of time on his hands. “I read a lot… I read a story in Huisegenoot about the richest man in the world… if it is in Huisegenoot it must be a true story!”
It was after reading this article that the penny dropped about how to make and protect wealth. It is through a pyramid system, he said, which involves creating various trusts to protect one’s assets against legal action.
“A conservative estimate is that he (the duke) is 100 times wealthier than Bill Gates,” Coetzee, a former Rapport financial journalist, told his audience.
The Duke of Westminster is a title created by Queen Victoria in 1874. The current holder is Sir Gerald Grosvenor, the sixth duke of Westminster. However, as Coetzee pointed out, the family line goes back 400 years to when Sir Richard Grosvenor was granted the baronetcy of Eaton in January 1622.
Coetzee said there had been 18 holders of the property trust of the Westminster line before the current title holder. He does not have a family history like that – a forefather had come out to South Africa 27 years after Jan van Riebeeck and founded the now famous wine farm Coetzenburg - and  unfortunately his family’s wealth had not been built up like that of Grosvenor through the protection of a trust.
“The best thing that the English brought (to Africa) was the (legal concept) of a trust. I have set myself a 200-year goal. I want Treoc to own 50% of the planet… I will sit on a cloud (after death) and get a lot of pleasure,” he said, noting that his grandchildren and great-grandchildren should benefit from his Treoc empire.

Forget those book-keeping classes
Coetzee told his audience that they had to turn their notions – learnt at school in book-keeping classes – about balance sheets upside down. It was there that the notion is taught that assets and liabilities need to be on the same balance sheet.
The answer is to set up a variety of trusts with legal firewalls so that if legal action is taken against an investor, that investor is protected by the trust – which is not in anyone’s name. He advised that only the Treoc software would protect investors from adversity. “You have to be careful with this… you need a trust attorney to do this properly because if you are not doing this right, you are defrauding creditors.”
The so-called Treoc Way claims to provide training to potential investors on how to invest their money in property trusts to avoid tax, and how to use other people’s money to grow wealth by taking over their mortgage bonds.
Ryno Engelbrecht and Mervin Dowries, joint liquidators of Treoc Limited’s subsidiary Treoc Capital, have issued summonses against Treoc’s directors. One of the investors, Paul Hoogendoorn, said the investors are awaiting a court date for the hearing in the Western Cape High Court.

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