“Taylor Dow, director of Taylor Dow Property Group, which last year sold $2 billion of Australian property to buyers in seven countries … said commissions range from 5 per cent and 15 per cent.”

The Australian Financial Review, February 23, 2017:

Two billion dollars is a lot of sales. How did Taylor Dow; this young, self-described “tycoon broker” sell $2 billion worth of property in one year?

“We cut out the middle man,” he told the AFR in the interview.

Taylor must have cut out of lot of middlemen. John McGrath, with his salesforce of 657 agents, 102 offices and listing on the Australian Securities Exchange, only managed to post revenues of $129 million last year.

In contrast – if we take the mid point in the AFR analysis and say Taylor’s commission on $2 billion was 10 per cent – Taylor must have recorded revenues of $200 million or thereabouts; with just one office in Melbourne.

The AFR is yet to do a follow-up on this wunderkind but michaelwest.com.au can provide a strong lead for the next story. This document was recently filed with the Australian Securities & Investments Commission:

“Report as to affairs …. registered liquidator name CON KOKKINOS … Company details TAYLOR DOW PROPERTY GROUP PTY LTD … S497(5) Appointment of liquidator”.

No cash, no assets, and a gaggle of creditors of which the Tax Office was indubitably the largest. There was nary a sign, however, of that $200 million. It seems to have simply vanished in eight months.

Having been contacted by a handful of Taylor’s creditors, who unlike Taylor do not profess to be “living the dream”, we determined to solve the mystery of these missing billions.

Taylor Dow Property Group may well have lapsed into the warm embrace of its liquidators but what of his other highly successful enterprises? His UK furniture company, for instance, or his Taylor Dow Developments, his app investment business, his residential lending company Affinity Capital, or his herbal weight-loss tea export venture?

The tricky thing about pursuing these entities is that they are elusive. While there has been some detail, indeed very ebullient detail, penned about them on Taylor’s social media platforms, there is not as much detail inscribed in the nation’s corporate databases.

Thankfully though there is further evidence of Taylor’s spectacular financial success in the Fairfax press; this time in the Sydney Morning Herald and the Newcastle Herald.

Before Taylor burst onto the real estate scene, and even when he was still at school, the then 17 year old basketball star was said to be making a killing selling weight loss tea.

“Taylor Dow, 17, says he is earning as much as $45,000 a week selling a weight-loss tea across the world. The boy from Ocean Grove in regional Victoria seems to have found a gap in the lucrative weight-loss market others appear to have missed.”

Taylor was tightlipped about this winning formula but he did say it included “hyacinth, chrysanthemum and jasmine flowers”.

According to the glossy marketing materials for Taylor Dow’s Affinity Capital – “a licenced mortgage aggregator in Australia … (providing) financial solutions using international banks as funding sources”, Westpac Banking Corporation was one source of funds.

We have not been able to confirm this with Westpac or Taylor Dow. Taylor spoke briefly over the phone some months ago, confirming the $2 billion in sales as chronicled by his trusty AFR, but declined to speak about things such as licences and regulatory approvals.

It is difficult to establish a case for Affinity Capital having an AFSL (Australian Financial Services Licence), and for that matter a broker’s licence or registration as a credit provider.

With the bravura of a truly contrarian investor, Taylor Dow was moving to higher LVR (loan to valuation ratio) loans last year when Australian banks were pulling back and the prudential regulator APRA was prodding them to derisk their exposure to investor loans.

Many followers, including his many creditors, are watching Taylor’s career path unfold with keen interest. His LinkedIn account shows his latest venture is as Managing Director of Avenue Build Homes.

“Avenue Build is a House and Land property developing company specialising in high quality, full turn-key packages.

“Avenue Build develops throughout Victoria and Brisbane.”

It also cites his position as “Chair of the Board of Directors Taylor Dow Group of Companies, Jan 2007 – Present.

ASIC records, in contrast, show Taylor as the sole director and shareholder of Taylor Dow Property Group and, up until two years ago, the company had been named Push Deals Pty Ltd.

This from a recent post on Facebook about his new caper, Avenue Build:

“Are you a First Home Buyer, looking to enter the market?
We are offering a cash back of $15,000 on ALL our homes + the FHOG (First Home Owners Grant) a total of $35,000 savings.
House and Land starting from $400,000.
If you have $15,000 saved and want to buy a new property – Contact me now!
It only takes $15,000 to start.”

For some of Taylor’s former associates, staff and clients however, his practises have failed to match his promises.

“Be seen by 1.5 million viewers per week,” declared the flyer for Tycoon Brokers, the TV show which Taylor was shooting about himself earlier this year. Followers on Facebook 20,579,561, Instagram 11,271,593, YouTube 30 million, email 1.5 million.

“The series is a compelling real-life experience following the day to day ventures of two, young, high level, property brokers selling multimillion dollar properties across Australia. See the real truth of running a multimillion dollar company. Travel with Taylor and Lachlan as their company grows globally – Taking proper-ties to sell in China, Malaysia, USA, Indonesia and many more other exciting global cities. Take a step into the life. Live the dream (5x sic).”