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Mortgage Times to enter administration

Employees at Mortgage Times have been told that the network is about to be placed into administration.

A staff member, who did not wish to be named, told Money Marketing that staff were called into a meeting today and told that the mortgage and IFA network is about to be placed into administration.

In an email sent to appointed representatives and seen by Money Marketing, the group’s directors say the company has ceased trading and therefore advisers are no longer authorised to conduct regulated activities.

The email says: “As appointed representatives of The Mortgage Times Group Limited you are no longer permitted to conduct regulated activities under our FSA number 303007 as from today’s date.”

It adds: “We have been vigorously attempting to secure investment into the business from strategic business partners to allow us to continue to trade solvently in to 2010.

“We are extremely saddened that at the 11th hour a potential major investor has made the decision not to proceed and we have been left with no alternative but to cease trading.”

The FSA has confirmed that the network has requested to withdraw its permission to carry out regulated activities.

The firm’s auditors raised concerns over the group’s future in November after it posted an operating loss of £1.3m for 2008.

The auditors said there was “a material uncertainty which may cast significant doubt about the group’s ability to continue as a going concern.”

Over the past year, Money Marketing has heard from a number of ARs who say they are owed commission by the firm.

In May this year Money Marketing revealed that one AR had a county court judgement granted against the network for unpaid commission.

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Comments

There are 21 comments at the moment, we would love to hear your opinion too.

  1. Why did the FSA allow this situation to continue as long as it did.

    Part of the answer is in a question that’s been bugging me for ages. WHY WAS THE MORTGAGE TIMES DECEIT NOT EXPOSED PROPERLY BY THE FINANCIAL PRESS MONTHS AGO? It’s what you’re here for and I think you’ve badly let down your industry. If you had done this then the FSA might have taken a more active interest and the remaining brokers could have moved networks at a time of their choosing.

  2. I hope the authorities investigate the actions of the board of directors of the Mortgage Times Group.

    It is clear that many people feel aggrieved by the repeated examples of misinformation and wonder where their money was directed. For my part, I wonder how they chose to pay certain parties but not others.

    The directors will be personally liable in respect of certain debts of the company – those which arose after they knew the company was heading towards insolvency.

    This is likely include all membership fees collected when they knew they could not pay debts as they fell due. It may also include all work taken on during this time.

    If you believe you may have been charged after this time I strongly suggest you make a formal complaint to the correct authorities. It seems awful to think that honest authorised representatives and low level staff will be facing a miserable Christmas whereas the directors will be retiring to their plush mansions.

  3. Can anyone actually confirm that it is in administration?

    There is nothing on any official record to suggest this, the website is silent, the company has not made a statement, the administrator has not made a comment and the FSA have not made a comment about administration. It would appear that this is a decision which has yet to be made but has been leaked to the public.

    As an aside, I wonder what prompted the entire board of directors to change their addresses to 247 Tottenham Court Road on 14 October 2009?

  4. Difficult times indeed.

    Not wishing to be seen as a vulture, but Virtual Net network (for whom I am Sales Director) are prepared to work over the holiday period to try to help all quality mortgage advisers effected by this announcement and who need to be able to trade again.
    No shortcuts, no messing, just a listening ear and people to help action paperwork etc.
    Contact me on peterlivett@vneurope or 07885022418

  5. x mt staff member 22nd December 2009 at 2:11 pm

    Can anyone actually confirm that it is in administration?

    There is nothing on any official record to suggest this, the website is silent, the company has not made a statement, the administrator has not made a comment and the FSA have not made a comment about administration. It would appear that this is a decision which has yet to be made but has been leaked to the public.

    As an aside, I wonder what prompted the entire board of directors to change their addresses to 247 Tottenham Court Road on 14 October 2009?

    Answer:

    MT used to have 2 offices – 247 and 279 Tottenham court road but once the lease ran out on 279 all correspondence was directed to 247.

  6. Thank you to the former staff member for the response. Unfortunately that doesn’t answer the question I’ve asked.

    The company’s registered address stayed as it was before the lease expired (the company’s accountants). However on 14 October 2009 all the directors changed their details on the Companies House register from their home addresses to the Mortgage Times office.

    If I was cynical I would think this is because they realised the company could no longer pay its debts as they fell due and didn’t want their houses as a matter of public record. I presume that is because their houses are all over £1.5m.

    I don’t actually think that was the primary reason – I think it was because they found out on the morning of 14 October 2009 that the FT Adviser was going to publish an article called “Watchdog investigates Mortgage Times “Failings”” on 15 October 2009.

    The firm subsequently instructed Carter Ruck to defend their reputation. Given that some of Carter Ruck’s partners charge over £1,000 per hour, I would be interested to see whether those fees came from money that would otherwise have gone to pay off Authorised Representatives.

  7. I feel very sorry for all the ARs and Employees who were left in the company. I am sure the Directors must have minted the money by way of forming The Holding company so that they can make some secret money. I would like to request to FSA to make full enquiry of the affairs of the company till they reach to the bottom of cause which hinted administration for the company and hope to see everything in black and white very soon.

  8. x mt staff member | 22 Dec 2009 2:11 pm

    Can anyone actually confirm that it is in administration?

    —————

    the FSA register:
    ‘Current status: Authorised – Closed to Regulated Business’

  9. Johnson@Hotmail.com 22nd December 2009 at 10:21 pm

    It is not currently in administration but it will be by 27 December 2009. At the moment it is not trading.

  10. Unfortunately Mortgage Times was due to fall, it was a matter of when. I had been an AR with them for a few years and left last December as they owed me a lot of money. I complained to the FSA in writing and guess what? I never heard anything. So as far as I am aware the FSA were informed but chose to do nothing.
    Luckly I did get my money from MT in september this year, but they had to pay me in installments.

  11. Throughout this sad saga , the question I would like to ask is Did the Directors continue to draw their salaries knowing that the monies being received should indeed have been paid to the AR’s instead.
    Where on earth was the FSA through all this, clearly their compliance /supervisory staff must have been aware of what was happening to this firm given all the publicity surrounding the non payment of proc fees etc ; another episode of complate MISMANAGEMENT

  12. Does anyone know if I am able to claim my Proc fee? My case was submitted as a DA, using MT as a payment route. BM Solutions tell me that the Proc fee has been suspended until the Receivers decide what to do. Considering that the mortgage only Completed Monday, I find it odd that BM could not have taken control of the payment, instead of suspending it. Sfter all, it was only a payment route!

    I suggest that part of their woe too was allowing payments to be made upon Exchange of Contracts, which, I assume, will also cause some problems.

  13. When I heard Mortgage Times had went into administration – pure liquid diarrhoea dripped from my eye sockets and formed a smelly brown puddle on my left shoe. I called and spoke to Gustav Flangeworthy at Mortgage Times who advised that I was ‘up a gumtree’, so now I have no option but to dig holes in blacmanche for a living while my children pelt me with pebbles.

  14. I consider myself to have been one of the lucky ones who very nearly joined their network. I would rather have hung myself rather than sign their contract. I really feel for the AR’s who are owed commision by the MT group. Alarm bells should have been ringing in the Financial Services industry at the fast rate that the network was growing prior to the collapse. The FSA should investigate why it collapsed and compensate all the deserving AR’s who’s hard earned money the company has been living off for years.

  15. Since the FSA have no idea what “fast track authorisation” means can i suggest that all those MT AR’s who have yet to decide on a new network and who want to write business before the end of January make a decision sooner than later. Check out 3 networks that can move quickly – HLP / Julian Harris / MI. Good luck.

  16. Like Paul McMath I use to be an AR of MT, I also left December 2008 when it was taking a couple of months to get paid commission that had already been paid to them. I also complained to the FSA to no effect. If they are taking the commission owed to AR’s and using it to prop up the their business surely that is trading on creditors money which I though was illegal. Having previously been an AR of Prestbury FS let me give all AR’s of othet netwroks a warning. When you don’t get paid commission quickly it is not the implementation of a new system that is the problem.

  17. Six questions which have yet to be resolved about the Mortgage Times.

    1) Why did the directors claim the company had been put into administration on 21 December 2009, when it now transpires the company never went into administration?;

    2) Why did the FSA withdraw permission to trade?;

    3) Did HMRC write to the directors on 14 October 2009 giving the company 28 days to clear its tax bill? If so, did this cause the directors to change their addresses on the Companies House register from their mansions to that of the office in preparation for insolvency?;

    4) The company instructed Carter Ruck at over £1,000 an hour to get the FT Adivser to back down on claims that the company was about to fail. Was Carter Ruck paid ahead of the authorised representatives who had paid membership fees?;

    5) When did the directors know the company could not meet its debts? Why did the company continue to take in new business on 21 December 2009; and

    6) What part did the FSA play in this? Why have they not decided to formally investigate this failure? Are they compromised by their own failures to act? If so, who should carry out an investigation?

  18. I was an employee at the MT until I was made redundant at the beginning of last year. It was very badly handled. It is also very true that the MT chose who to pay or not! We were bullied into taking phone calls from very angry AR’s.

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  21. I worked for TMT for over two years and could see from the begining it was doomed to fail, Unrealistic targets set for staff, poor communication from the directors and dealing with some horrible brokers, hate to say it but glad the company went under

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