Awards and citations:

1997: Le Prix du Champagne Lanson Noble Cuvée Award for investigations into Champagne for the Millennium investment scams

2001: Le Prix Champagne Lanson Ivory Award for

2011: Vindic d'Or MMXI – 'Meilleur blog anti-1855'

2011: Robert M. Parker, Jnr: ‘This blogger...’:

2012: Born Digital Wine Awards: No Pay No Jay – best investigative wine story

2012: International Wine Challenge – Personality of the Year Award

Tuesday, 20 November 2012

Mystery deepens over Ernst & Young report on Nobles Crus wine fund

Elite Advisers – Nobles Crus wine fund

On 22nd October it was announced with some fanfare that Elite Advisers, owners of the Nobles Crus wine fund, had appointed Ernst & Young to undertake a second audit on the wine fund. Deloittes in Luxembourg, where the fund is based, had carried out the first audit.  

The news was carried initially by City Wire, and paperjam and later by The Drinks Business and here. 

paperjam, a financial media publication based in Luxembourg, said that the defintive Ernst & Young report would be published later this week and that  Elite Advisers were awaiting its publication with impatience.   

The report in paperjam on Elite Advisers and Ernst & Young

paperjam (22.10.12): 
'Le rapport définitif d'Ernst & Young paraîtra dans la semaine. Elite Advisers l'atend avec impatience. Et pour lever le doute, une fois pour toutes, le sponsor du fonds communiquera dès que la nouvelle méthode de valorisation – sur laquelle la société planchait depuis plusieurs temps – sera finalisée.'

Elite Advisers impatience to see the Ernst & Young report appears to have cooled somewhat. Now nearly a month on there is no sign of the report, as far as I know, and certainly no response to my repeated questions asking when it wil be published. 

25th October 2012
In preparing the Decanter news story I asked both Miriam Mascherin, a co-founder and owner of Elite Advisers, and Alison Dykes of the Brunswick Group, Elite Advisers' London based PR company, when the report expected. 
No response.  

3rd November 2012
Question to Miriam Mascherin:
Ernst & Young report
'paperJam reported on Monday 22nd October 2012 that the Ernst & Young report would be published during that week and that ‘Elite Advisers l’attend avec impatience’.  Has the Ernst & Young report been published? If it has could you let me have a copy please? If it hasn’t what is the publication date and what is the reason for the delay please?'
No response.
16th November 2012 
Question to Alison Dykes of Brunswick: 
Is there any news of when the Ernst & Young report on the valuation of the Nobles Crus wine fund will be published please? I did ask Miriam about ten days or so ago but have not received a reply.
As Alison Dykes was away I was asked to contact Jess Ayres, who kindly replied:
'I have passed  your message on to someone that can help you.'
Sadly a false hope – no response.

20th November 2012
Email to Jess Ayres:
'Unfortunately I have had no response from the person to whom you kindly passed my question about when the Ernst & Young report into the valuation of the Nobles Crus wine fund would be published.

On Monday 22nd October paperjam reported that this report would be published that week and that Elite Advisers were awaiting its publication with impatience. Nearly a month later there is no sign of the report and although I have now asked on three occasions when publication was expected, I have yet to receive an answer.

Are there any plans to publish this report?
Or have Ernst & Young found problems with the fund's valuations?
Have Ernst & Young declined to value the fund?

I would be very grateful if you would pass these questions onto someone who can help me.'
No response. 

Why, I have to wonder, has there been no response to my simple question asking when the Ernst & Young Report will be published?

Have Ernst & Young run into similar problem – 'in the absence of readily determinable fair values'? that led to Deloittes' Emphasis of Matter in three successive audit reports on the Nobles Crus wine fund:

Emphasis of Matter
Without qualifying our opinion, we draw your attention to note 2 of the financial statements. The sub-fund ELITE’S EXCLUSIVE COLLECTION – NOBLES CRUS includes wine assets valued at EUR 10,973,119 (100.8% of the net assets) as at December 31, 2008, whose fair values have been estimated by the General Partner in the absence of readily determinable fair values. The GeneralPartner estimates are based on information provided by a limited number of wine merchants and other sources of information, which are in accordance with note 2 of the financial statements.' 

Equally have Ernst & Young wondered about the role of The Wine Fund's 'independent valuers' Dublin based Wine Experts Ltd? Wondered how a company with a turnover of just 755€ and run by two people with more than 100 directorships between them can value a wine fund worth 67€ million on 31st December 2011 and now around 110€ million? More detail on Wine Experts Ltd as well as provenance here.  

Incidentally Elite Advisers has also ignored all of my questions about Wine Experts Ltd.

All in all, increasingly mysterious...!



Lalau said...

This is what I call good PR. Don't flood journalists with unnecessary information. Only answer when you have to. Or "the importance of being Ernst & Young".

Jim's Loire said...

You're on the button as usual, Hervé!