• Moneycheats

CMC’s, Healthy Food, Debt Collection, no FCA authorisation and bankruptcy

When the FCA took over the regulation of Claims Management Companies, there were 973 registered firms. The challenge of a new regulator was perhaps too much for some as 253 CMC’s chose not to re-register.

Of the remaining CMC’s, just over half of them (56%) have obtained full authorisation by 26th May as the Coronavirus crisis has presumably had an adverse slowing effect on the process and has meant the remaining 44% still retain temporary permissions.

Other CMC’s have let their license lapse and have moved outside of the regulatory perimeter as directors have looked at offering will writing services, pensions and investment advice, debt counselling and insolvency options instead. There are a number of reasons why a CMC would cease trading and this could range from compliance costs through to concerns about passing the forthcoming SMCR regime.

Lepus Marketing Ltd trading as The PPI Team

The PPI Team stopped taking on new clients in July last year and their license has now lapsed, although their website still lists the license number [1][2] which implies they are regulated by the FCA – but they are not! Lepus Marketing Ltd’s license lapsed in March 2019 and while the FCA may expect some form of a winding up capacity after a CMC ceases to be authorised, it is presumably very unlikely that this would last for 16 months.

The CMC is also continuing to receive customer reviews on Trust Pilot where it has a rating of poor and involves numerous complaints which state The PPI Team has issued invoices for up to 50% despite the capped fee of 20% plus VAT. Below are some of the words used in the reviews to describe the company and its activities

One of the latest reviews was particularly scathing of the CMC and its directors:-

The Investment

Intrigued by this, the Moneycheats Project decided to delve a little further into Gary Nixon’s activities and came across an astonishing article[3] by Carley Jones who described how she had solely set up her own successful business called Kettlebell Kitchen which was worth £20mn but ended up seeming to have it ripped from under her by the investors, longstanding friend, Jamie Alaise and his best friend Gary Nixon. And yep – the same Mr Nixon who ran The PPI Team!

Ms Jones’s story is also told in the video below but ultimately her business was placed into liquidation and Mr Nixon used his company, The Savings Group Ltd to buy the license fee for £4,932.51. The Liquidators Statement (23d Apr20) also shows The Savings Group bought part of the business and assets for £62,250 + VAT.[4]

In January 2019 and unbeknown to Jones, Nixon had already set up similar sounding firm’s ( e.g KBK Meal Prep) new firms with very similar names (e.g KBK Meal Prep) which was nearly a month BEFORE Jones placed Kettlebell into liquidation.

Cooking the Books?

One of the comments made by Carley Jones in her article was of particular interest to the Moneycheats Project as it referred to the debt sheet for Kettlebell Kitchen and in particular the media company, The Hive Circle Ltd which was run by Jamie Alaise.

“Debts were included in the debt level estimations that were not debts. They falsely included THE HIVE CIRCLE debt, which was Gary’s investment cash into the liquidation. Why? That amounts to 350k +, meaning the ACTUAL debt, minus the PG loans that me and Jamie walked away with was more like 800k half of which was fit-out finance. Colin also included lots of invalid debts too, that were simply not debts.”

This is supported by the Statement of Affairs which shows The Hive Circle were owed £553K:-

Rather interestingly, The Hive Circle Ltd was placed into liquidation last month and apparently owes Gary Nixon’s CMC, Lepus Marketing Ltd aka The PPI Team a whopping £180K although why a media firm would use a CMC is mind boggling!

Jamie Alaise used to run the CMC, Claims Advisory Group until its license was cancelled by the Claims Management Regulator in July 2018. Alaise also ran Manchester Outsourcing Ltd which he placed into liquidation in August 2018 when it owed over £3mn to the Claims Advisory Group:-

We have written previously about Manchester Outsourcing Ltd in our blog titled Avoiding FCA regulation? The CMC’s who are becoming AR’s to an insurance broker which referred to a company called Dragon Brokers Ltd who operated a network of Appointed Representative to sell insurance companies and whom Manchester Outsourcing Ltd was a shareholder of.

The Future

So the days of running a claims management company no longer seems to hold any attration for Gary Nixon and Jamie Alaise so they now appear to be focussing on other areas.

Jamie Alaise

Jamie Alaise was declared bankrupt in May 2019 [5] but has now been reappointed as a director of Damsons Estate Administration Ltd which “specialise in providing the best prepaid funeral plans in the UK”

Gary Nixon

On 20th February2020, Gary Nixon set up a debt collection company called Enforce Legal Ltd and he is the only listed director.[6]

Admittedly, the website could still be in it’s infancy as it has no privacy policy, does not list fees and more importantly does not detail any registration with the FCA. However the Trust Pilot Reviews for Nixon’s, other firm, The PPI Team and dated 3rd and 10th of February suggest Enforce Legal Ltd was already up and running before it was incorporated. Please note the telephone number quoted below, does match the contact number (01614640776) on the website above.

In order to for a debt collection firm to be authorised by the FCA, the firm must meet the regulators standards as set out in the Conduct of Business Sourcebook[7]. Although mainly dealing with insurance and investments, the Sourcebook (COBS 2.1) requires firms to “act honestly, fairly and professionally in accordance with the best interests of its clients”.

So is this an issue for Mr Nixon??

[1] [2] [3] [4] [5] [6] [7]


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