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Money Portal’s debts were £55m

Honister Capital has confirmed that Money Portal’s debts were in the region of £55m when it entered administration.

Honister now owns Burns-Anderson, Sage Financial Services and Willis Owen and the principal assets Bates Investment Services through subsidiary Honister Partners.

Money Portal is understood to have had a debt of £32m with Bank of Scotland when it entered administration on June 17, but as investors backing the firm were issued with convertible preference shares, these converted into additional debt upon Money Portal entering administration, bringing total debts to around £55m.

The Annuity Portal, a service launched by Money Portal last October as a separate company, has yet to transfer to Honister.

It is understood that negotiations are underway for the transfer of its ownership to Honister, but this has been more complicated than the transfer of the other businesses due to the fact another IFA firm owns a 49 per cent stake in Annuity Portal.

Honister Capital strategy and business development director Alan Easter says that leaving Bates’ liabilities behind to potentially fall on the Financial Services Compensation Scheme was better than allowing all the businesses to fail, leaving the FSCS with much greater liabilities.

He says: “Willis Owen, Sage Financial Services and Burns Anderson all have potentially larger liabilities sitting in them because they are longer-established companies – all three of those we have accepted liability for as part of the transaction.

“The Bates business in its current format has only been trading for three years and that is what we have left behind.

“If we had not done this all four of the companies would have fallen on the FSCS.”

He says that if the deal had not taken place 2,000 jobs across the businesses would have been lost, but Honister does not now anticipate any redundancies.


15% Of prime loans in negative equity

Fifteen per cent of prime UK mortgages by value are in negative equity, according to Fitch Ratings. It expects this figure to increase to 34 per cent of all prime mortgages if house prices fall in line with its expectations of a 30 per cent decline peak to trough.

The fast line

Last week, former BM Solutions managing director Michael Bolton claimed up to 80 per cent of HBOS loans were approved without full proof of income before the credit crunch.


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