Trump’s Scottish investments

13 Nov 2020 / Insight

By Steve Clapham

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The following article was written by Steve Clapham, a long-standing member of the Hardman & Co team.

Stephen Clapham’s new book, The Smart Money Method, How to invest like a hedge fund pro, is published by Harriman House. On the launch date of 24 November, the Kindle version will be on sale on Amazon at a special price of £1.99 for one day only. We hope as many of our readers as possible will buy it, and please leave a review, to help make it the success it deserves to be.

In this article, Steve has examined the investments made by President Trump in Scottish golf resorts, and finds them to be underperforming their peers and delivering significant losses to the owner. You can find more of Steve’s work on his blog here.


President Trump likes to project himself as a highly successful businessman, but surprisingly little is known about his true financial position. Various articles, including a 2016 in-depth analysis by The Wall Street Journal, have speculated about his income and asset base. All sorts of claims and counter-claims have been made about his wealth – by Trump himself, pitching his fortune at some $9bn, and by journalist Timothy O’Brien, suggesting that it is as “low” as $150m-250m. It is doubtful whether we shall ever know the truth, but we can use Trump’s UK corporate filings to gain an insight into his businesses in Scotland.

This article examines the Trump investments there, and asks whether he is as astute as he claims (spoiler – the answer is “no”). We look at the period to the end of 2018, and at the last accounts filed by the two Trump UK holding companies. We do not expect the Trump 2019 accounts to be published before Christmas, as UK companies now have 12 months to file because of COVID-19.