Travers Smith called in on Southsea wind-up

Travers Smith has been hired to advise on the liquidation of a small mortgage lender that has become the first British bank to be wound up for more than two years.

Regulators pushed Southsea Mortgage & Investment Company into liquidation, the first bank or building society to go bust since Dunfermline Building Society in March 2009.

Although magic circle firms often advise on big insolvencies, the Bank of England (BoE) and liquidators at BDO turned to ­Travers banking head ­Jeremy Walsh for the relatively small transaction.

Walsh led the team, assisted by corporate partner Anthony Foster, who was himself seconded to the BoE some two years ago.

BDO business restructuring partners Malcolm Cohen and Mark Shaw were appointed liquidators of the small Hampshire lender, which has assets of around £10m.

The company is reported to have about 270 depositors, most of whom will get their money back under the Financial Services Compensation Scheme, which ­provides a guarantee for up to £85,000.

The depositors have a total of £7.4m in the Havant-based bank – an average of around £27,000 each – but 14 people are reported to have more ­than the insured amount tied up.

When Dunfermline went into administration two years ago, administrators KPMG and the BoE were advised by Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer, together with SJ Berwin partner Mike Woollard. Allen & Overy acted for Nationwide on its takeover of the building society.