Different Strokes


Why settle for one chic bolthole when you can have several? Laura Henderson meets Rocksure Co-Founder and CEO, David Rogers, creator of an innovative shared ownership concept for live-life-to-the-full investors.

Brimming with ‘neighbourhoods’ strung together like pieces in one of the world’s largest urban puzzles, New York and London have much in common, not least of which is their high-octane Metropolis vibe. Today both cities continue to attract a well- heeled, cosmopolitan fan base; a ‘captive’ investor audience that hasn’t passed travel industry expert, David Rogers by. As a former COO of luxury travel company Abercrombie and Kent and a Founding Director of Oxfordshire based real estate consultancy Rocksure Property, Rogers has a keen eye for top-notch locations; his spark-plug zeal channelled into the creation of flexible and intelligent ownership concept that has been quietly revolutionising the ‘second home’ investment market.

The idea, Rogers explains, is “simple enough”. A limited number of investors buy an equity share of a company, which purchases and owns a portfolio fund of luxury properties in glamorous destinations around the globe. In return, investors enjoy a guaranteed return against future inflation in the form of low-cost annual holidays’ for the life of the Fund. Providing a planned exit strategy; individual Funds are sold and any capital gains repatriated amongst investors. Profits can then either be banked or invested into another Fund.

“Before Rocksure was launched, the only way to own a second home was to buy a whole property,” he explains. “That meant a large capital sum, heavy operating and maintenance expenses, the obligation to return to the same place once or several times each year to obtain any kind of return, an unwelcome time commitment and the anxiety of being a remote landlord. We thought that there must be a better way of getting to know this beautiful world, introducing children to different cultures, and enjoying different sporting activities, so we created a series of holding companies which allow individuals to share the ownership of the assets and the running costs of a portfolio of up to 6 luxury properties and to enjoy their choice of them for a number of weeks each year. What makes the concept interesting is that individuals can use their property and a collection of others in the Rocksure portfolio as homes away from home, and at the end of their tenure those that invest stand to make capital gains on their initial investment.”

Along with business partner Desmond Patrick-Smith, Rogers has raised over £20 million from 200 investors with which more than 15 properties have been purchased in Europe and around the world since the company’s launch in 2006; many multinational clients now “rolling over from family holiday villas (of the Alpha and Bravo Funds) into turn-key city apartments (of the London and Manhattan Funds).

The Fund’s first duty, David explains, is to buy really well with a view to a capital gain at the end of its life, but “a close second” is to choose locations and houses in which shareholders can enjoy themselves without having to lift a finger while they’re there “except perhaps to discuss menu options with the housekeeper.” Investments are conducted on a cash-only basis, which side steps the need for expensive gearing and mortgage bureaucracy. Buyers also avoid the hassle of dealing with the legal aspects of purchasing abroad - Rocksure handles all this on behalf of the owners.

Destinations have been chosen carefully to give a spread of long and short-haul and solid medium-term capital growth opportunities. While the life of a given Fund is seven to ten years, this period only kicks in following the completion and purchase of all the properties. Adds Rogers: “This means that those buying early in the game can take advantage of a ‘bonus period’ before the full complement of properties has been acquired.”

A case in point with a tempting portfolio of property stock and more than €9 million invested to date is   the Rocksure Capital Portfolio. Comprising 5 magnificent, beautifully-furnished and centrally-located apartments – in Paris, Barcelona, Venice, Vienna and Prague – and a sixth and final property in Rome to be added later   this year, investors will have 10 years in which to enjoy the portfolio before Final Fund Closing and sale of the properties.

“A major reason for the success of the Capital Portfolio is that it’s much more enjoyable to stay, with family or friends, in a large apartment (present ones average just over 2,000 square feet) with a minimum of two double bedrooms, private bathrooms, kitchen, entertainment system and home office, than in a hotel bedroom, however comfortable. You feel like residents rather than tourists and can get to know the neighbourhood and some of the local people on your visits. Each apartment has a Manager, who greets you on arrival and then provides a concierge service during your stay, and offers daily housekeeping.”

Full Unit investments, allowing an average of 14 nights of use each year, cost €125,000. Three-Quarter and Half Units are also available on a pro-rata basis, with a minimum investment of €62,500. Annual charges are more than reasonable - for 2017, the cost is €2,800 which for 14 nights equates to €200 per night for a minimum of two double bedrooms and all other facilities. The only other cost is a modest €200 ‘Visit Charge’ - a contribution to variable costs such as laundry and utilities: this is for the whole apartment for up to 14 nights.

Adds David: “As an investor, you will not only co-own the 6 properties, but you will also have reciprocal use of a number of other apartments of similar quality. At the present time, these include Florence, New York and San Francisco, but more are anticipated. You can use your Capital Portfolio entitlements to stay at these properties. The world - or a tempting chunk of it – is easily within reach.”

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