Ex-Halliwells partners face legal challenge from firm's administrators

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  • The reverse premium and the payment of it to a small group of partners, was no more than a looting of the firm's capital, in circumstances where it was bound to cause the collapse of Halliwells. I've had clients arrested for less.

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  • I agree the SRA should get involved but they will not because if Halliwells thought they could act like this, how many others? And how big the firms?

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  • At the heart of this was a firm which was being run for the benefit of a few in a way which suggests that the financial services and company law reforms of the 1980s were thought to have stopped at Watford Gap and to have had no application to the Mancunian entrepreneurial spirit. For some reason, various Full Members seem not to have understood that the fiduciary duties they were happy to advise their clients about, didn't apply to them as fiduciaries of their LLP.
    Would it surprise any of the readers of this site to discover that this meant that senior partners happily accepted non-exec positions in client companies, co-invested with their clients and happily spun-off parts of the business of the LLP into companies which they themselves owned? Or that the person who once headed up the firm's conflict committee was one of those people and didn't seem to regard that as a problem?
    It would be helpful if the SRA did look at what happened within Halliwells. Anecdotally, it doesn't appear to be too unusual within larger firms outside the City of London although for many of them, behaviours such as this are being relegated to the history books as managers become more aware of the law, their duties and current corporate governance practice.

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  • Re Anon @ 2.56pm from Anon @ 4.47pm 2nd - Frankly if the SRA doesn't take this issue up as a matter of professional importance and urgency then it will discredit itself with the public as the supposed regulating authority and will be seen to be absolutely
    devoid of any authority over it's members. It is a pity that after so many weeks since the collapse, approx 12, there has been no known comment from that quarter. Worrying for the image of the profession.

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  • I wonder if Austin, Craig and others are now choking on their reverse premia?

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  • when the firm can't meet the partners tax obligations and has to take advantage of HMRC's time to pay scheme alarm bells should have started ringing. Instead they all threw more money into the Halliwells money pit. It is more a case of blind faith and a lack of commin sense than being kept in the dark. All the warning signs were there.

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  • @Anonymous | 3-Nov-2010 2:56 pm - none of this would surprise me if it were true. I expect there are still some skeletons to be prized out from the Salford University expense accounts just yet, to this scandal may not end with the administrators taking action. Watch this space.

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  • I have no complaint about people gunning for the founding fathers of Halliwells that treated it like their own private bank. They know who they are.
    I do resent those commentators who just take this as an opportunity to stick the knife in and then dance on the grave of the many honourable professionals ( many of whom were partners) who have suffered as a result of that conduct on the part of a few.
    How many of you truly know what is going on with your firm's finances ? One day you may find that your firm was not quite so whiter than white without your knowledge let alone involvement - you would want people to respect that fact that it was indeed without your knowledge
    What has happened at Halliwells is disastrous but it wasn't anything that the SRA could have influenced - it was the greed of a few who had very little management ability but who just so happened to also be in charge

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  • Don't make me laugh. The founding fathers had retired, left voluntarily or been booted out by Austin by the time the firm failed. A number of sensible heads, work winners and Austin detractors (before it became fashionable to knock the bloke) left or were walked off the premises because they could see what was happening and/or because they refused to listen to the spin and bullsh*t. The few were certainly at fault but the majority were all too happy to go along with it and ignore what ought to have been blindingly obvious.

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  • @Anon 5.17pm - The event might not have been anything that the SRA could have influenced but as the regulating authority it must show that it has the teeth to deal with those that have brought the profession into serious disrepute and act accordingly. Thus far, it appears to have been incredibly quiet on the matter and it ought to, as a matter of professional and public importance, advise what action it proposes to take against those involved in this disastrous affair so as to support the professional image of the majority who conduct themselves professionally and properly.

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