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Coulson case is settled out of court

The bitter six-month legal dispute between Openwork and Zurich against Home of Choice and its director Richard Coulson has been settled out of court.

The terms of the settlement have not been revealed but both Home of Choice directors Richard Coulson and Gerry O’Brien and rivals Zurich/Openwork stress it is now business as usual.

Coulson and O’Brien had faced a number of allega- tions against them, including acting in breach of res- trictive covenants.

The two companies now say they are aiming to focus on strengthening their businesses and increasing member numbers.

Home of Choice says in the six months since it was set up, it has recruited 500 appoin- ted representatives and 600 directly authorised members. It hopes to double these figures to over 2,000 total member over the next 12 months and claims that it has rec- ruited only 12 former Openwork franchisees.

Openwork says it has 2,300 franchisees, with 80 per cent licensed to sell mortgage business.

The company is aiming for 12bn lending a year and is setting a target to have a total of 3,000 members by the end of next year.

Coulson says: “It is not a case of going back to business as business never stopped. Our single-minded focus will be attractive to many mortgage introducers who are unsure of where their interests will be best served. We are wholly committed to focusing on the mortgage market.”

A Zurich spokeswoman says: “We are consistently hitting record numbers of mortgage business month on month and anticipate continuing this in 2006.”


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