Ex-Cobbetts debt recovery arm cuts 44 staff in redundancy round

Cobbetts’ former debt recovery business Incasso, which was acquired by HL Legal Solicitors, has made 44 staff redundant following a consultation with 52 staff at the company.

HL Legal kicked off the review in March (1 March 2013) just weeks after it bought the business from the failed firm’s administrators. Incasso’s head of department Mark Taylor left for Wilkin Chapman Solicitors the same month.

HL Legal confirmed that three Incasso employees had relocated to Redditch while five others are continuing to work in Leeds on an interim basis. All remaining employees are understood to have been paid an additional 6 weeks salary as well as a redundancy package.

“[We] arranged for local employers to come in to meet with staff who wished to work locally, gave assistance in writing CVs and gave time off for interviews when needed,” a spokesperson at HL Legal said. “We last heard that over 30 ex-Incasso employees had found alternative employment and I am sure this figure has now increased.”

At one point Incasso was the only team from Cobbetts without a new home following the Manchester firm’s collapse (31 January 2013).

DWF agreed to purchase the majority of Cobbetts as part of a pre-pack administration (6 February 2013), but it did not take on the firm’s finance litigation team or Incasso.

Walker Morris went on to acquire the finance litigation practice (7 February 2013) while HL Legal purchased the debt recovery business from KPMG, whose partners Mark Firmin, Brian Green and Howard Smith acted as the failed firm’s administrators, a week later (14 February 2013).

Since then the London Borough of Enfield and the Co-operative Bank are amongst those to have ended relationship with the company. Incasso and Enfield had worked together for a number of years, with the debt recovery specialist receiving more than £500,000 in unpaid council tax for the local authority in 2006. It is not known why the contract was terminated (11 March 2013).

According to a spokesperson the majority of Incasso clients have now been successfully transitioned over to HL’s operations in Redditch.