UPDATED! - Is this ‘phoenixing?
Updated: Feb 13, 2019
Over the next few weeks, the Moneycheats project will be publishing a ‘CMC @ work’ blog series which will look at some of the issues surrounding specific claims management companies. On this occasion, we consider Hardwick Financial Solutions Ltd (in administration)
In September 2018, the FCA published a consultation paper on the application of the Senior Managers and Certification Regime on claims management companies and in part of this paper, they referred to phoenixing as “individuals who are not fit and proper to lead a CMC may close down one CMC and move to another, without fulfilling their obligations to customers. If a director does this, e.g. by taking over an existing authorised CMC, it is known as ’phoenixing’”
In this first blog we therefore ask if the situation below is consistent with phoenixing?
Hardwick Financial Solutions Limited trading as claims2gain
On 3rd May 2018, Hardwick Financial Solutions Limited trading as claims2gain entered administration, although its website was still active on 8th October 2018 http://www.hardwickppi.co.uk/ Some searches now divert to https://www.claims2gain.com/
The Alliance of Claims Companies lists Claims2Gain.com as a member and states “Hardwick Financial Solutions Limited now trading as Claims2Gain.com has been helping customers since 2009 get access to justice”. According to Companies House, the company’s directors are listed as Scott Sheedy (100% shareholder), Jamie Hubbard, David Sankey and Kylie Sheedy.
According to the Administrator’s report and proposals, the company had historically traded profitably and had 60 staff at its peak, but in 2017 it received an Accelerated Payment Charge (APC) for £323K from HMRC, who required payment by 18 November 2017. HMRC rejected a request for a review and in January 2018 demanded the total arrears payment of £444K to be paid in 7 days. The company directors then sought a Time To Pay (TTP) arrangement with HMRC as well as seeking insolvency advice, and when the TTP was rejected it “was concluded that Administration was the most suitable insolvency procedure for the Company”.
The business was subsequently put up for sale on 12th April and a “connected company Claims 2 Gain Ltd” expressed an interest in purchasing the business and assets via Consumer Claims (UK) LLP. On 19th April an offer was received from Claims 2 Gain Ltd on behalf of Consumer Claims UK LLP – directors at Claims 2 Gain Ltd are Jamie Hubbard, Kylie Sheedy and David Sankey (all appointed in November 2017) with Scott Sheedy having significant control
The Administrator’s report shows an offer of £100k was accepted and a pre-packaged sale of the business and assets took place on 3rd May 2018 with £25,000 paid on that day and sums of £12,500 payable monthly for the following 6 months. The package allows staff to transfer over while a dividend is expected to be available to unsecured creditors.
Administrators, Leonard Curtis Business Rescue and Recovery also posted an article on their website confirming the sale. The Administrator’s report available at Companies House lists the estimated financial position at 3rd May and which provides a breakdown of the assets such as goodwill, directors loan account and connected party debts. It also records the purchased asset, “customer contracts, Customer database and work in progress’ of having a book value of £1,374,000 but only worth £44,999 in administration”!
Claims to Gain
On 22nd May, notice was given to the creditors by the company’s directors of their intention to continue to use the prohibited name, Claims 2 Gain. The notice as published in the Law Gazette recorded their intention to continue to act in one or more of the ways to which Section 216(3) of the Insolvency Act 1986 would apply if the above named company were to go into insolvent liquidation in connection with, or for the purposes of, the carrying on of the whole or substantially the whole of the business of the above named company under the following names:
Ø Claims 2 Gain Limited (CRN: 10608035) trading as Claims 2 Gain which does not appear to be regulated by the Claims Management Regulator.
Ø Consumer Claims (UK) LLP (CRN: OC379404) has been CMR regulated since 9th January 2013 (CRM28284). It trades as Consumer Claims (UK), Repairs4Tenants, check for PPI, and Claims2gain.
The purpose of giving this notice is to permit the director to act in these circumstances where the company enters (or has entered) insolvent liquidation without the director committing a criminal offence and in the case of the carrying on of the business through another company, being personally liable for that company's debts.
Consequently the Claims2Gain website is listed with a different CRM License 28284.
This current licence was authorised in January 2013 to Consumer Claims (UK) LLP whose trading names are listed as Consumer Claims (UK), Repairs4Tenants, check for PPI, and Claims2gain . The company, Consumer Claims (UK) LLP was established in 2012 but on 26th April 2018, Claims 2 Gain Limited was appointed as a company director. The directors of Claims2 Gain Ltd are Jamie Hubbard, David Sankey and Kylie Sheedy with recently resigned director, Scott Sheedy still registered as a person with significant control
Director, Scott Sheedy quickly went onto set up Here 4 Life Ltd which was incorporated on 16th May 2018 and was established with fellow directors Jamie Hubbard, David Sankey and Kylie Sheedy. The website states Here 4 Life is part of The Hardwick Group of Companies and acts for clients/introducers for various insurance products. Here 4 Life Ltd was authorised as an Appointed Representative by the FCA in July 2018.
Mr Sheedy subsequently resigned on 24th August 2018 and instead set up the Here 4 You Group Ltd which was incorporated on 10th August 2018 and was established with fellow directors Jamie Hubbard, David Sankey and Kylie Sheedy.
UPDATED – In February 2019 accounts filed at companies house show Kylie Sheedy has replaced Scott Sheedy as the main shareholder of Here 4 You Group Ltd.
In the same month Companies House were advised that Here 4 You Group Ltd had replaced Scott Sheedy as the main shareholder of Claims 2 Gain Ltd.
As mentioned earlier, Here 4 Life is an AR for a company called Be Insure Ltd.
Mason Scott Insurances Ltd was also set up by Scott Sheedy and is currently run by Kylie Shed, Jamie Hubbard and David Sankey with the Here 4 You Group Ltd having significant control over the company. Mason Scott Insurances Ltd is an approved current AR for Quote My Life Ltd and was an AR for Organic Insurance Ltd until February 2018.
According to the website, Mason Scott Insurance is part of the Hardwick Group and “an Appointed Representative of Quote My Life Limited who is authorised and Regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority under reference number 783862”. However the FCA register states Quote My Life Limited is in administration and this is confirmed on Companies House which shows the firm entering administration in November 2018.
According to the Administrator’s report the company started to receive claw back requests and additionally “the appointed representatives being used by the company broke their contracts by reselling the policies they had been dealing with on behalf of the company”.