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Investment kitemark ‘should be global’ says WIA

Investment safeguards put in place by the Wine Investment Association and the National Fraud Intelligence Bureau should ‘go global’, a WIA director has said.

Speaking before the official launch of the joint venture between the WIA and the NFIB, Peter Shakeshaft, one of the directors of the WIA, told Decanter.com the UK would set an example of best practice.

‘The UK is seen as a great place to do business,’ he said, ‘and we need to utilise that and put our stamp on wine investment security.’

Under a new code of conduct to be drawn up, wine investment firms will undergo stringent audits by accountancy firm Mazars. These will include checking on systems such as stock rotation and making sure purchase orders and invoices tally.

Shakeshaft cited the case of wine investment company Vinance plc, which went into administration in January, leaving records that were ‘incomplete and inadequate’, administrators Herron Fisher said.

He said there should also be a clampdown on high-pressure selling, by which vulnerable people were induced to part with huge sums in return for wine that often never turned up.

Companies which have successfully completed the independent audit process commissioned by the WIA will bear the WIA logo offering consumers a ‘safety kitemark’ to trust, he said.

He added that he had had enquiries from Germany, the US and Singapore as to how to set up WIA chapters, and that it was absolutely necessary that the code of conduct had global reach.

‘It doesn’t matter if you trade in London, Hong Kong or New York. At the end of the day you should have a kitemark.’

Written by Adam Lechmere

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