Hitchin company directors banned for taking assets from insolvent firm
PUBLISHED: 13:55 26 May 2018 | UPDATED: 13:31 29 May 2018
A Hitchin husband and wife who were directors of an independent financial advice company have been disqualified for taking assets from an insolvent firm.
Kevin and Cheryl Neal have been banned from being company directors for six and four years respectively over their actions at Kevin Neal Associates Wealth Management LLP amid liabilities totalling almost £10 million.
The Financial Conduct Authority had forbidden the transfer of assets out of the company without its permission, but £55,000 and two cars together worth £22,120 were taken out – to the detriment of creditors.
Insolvency Service chief investigator Mark Bruce said: “This is a particularly blatant example of common misconduct seen by the Insolvency Service.
“Mr and Mrs Neal plainly acted to improve their position, once the partnership was insolvent, while failing to honour either the prior decisions of the Financial Ombudsman or the protections put in by the FCA, specifically to stop such actions.
“Such conduct will invariably lead to disqualification.”
Kevin Neal Associates Wealth Management LLP operated from The Maltings in Hitchin’s Bridge Street and was formed to take over the wealth management business of a previous firm – Kevin Neal Associates Ltd – which went into compulsory liquidation in July 2013.
Under a declaration signed by both Kevin and Cheryl Neal in April 2011, the new company became liable among other things for any award made by the Financial Ombudsman against Kevin Neal Associates Ltd.
By May 2014 at least six financial ombudsman decisions had gone against Kevin Neal Associates Ltd and Kevin Neal Associates Wealth Management LLP, totalling at least £573,274.
The company’s previous insurer refused to settle the claims, and the FCA altered permissions for Kevin Neal Associates Wealth Management LLP to stop it transferring away assets without permission.
Despite this, the money and cars were transferred out of Kevin Neal Associates Wealth Management over four separate transactions between May 19 and June 3 that year.
The Insolvency Service’s allegation that Mr Neal caused this, with Mrs Neal causing or allowing it, was not disputed.
The disqualifications for Mr and Mrs Neal come into effect on Thursday, May 31.