Break-up of Wenham Major nears completion

Tony Stockdale, managing partner at Bentley Jennison

Tony Stockdale, managing partner at Bentley Jennison

Administrators of crisis-stricken Top 50 firm Wenham Major have now almost
completed the sale of units that still hold value.

This week it emerged that the firm’s insolvency practice is set to go to
senior manager Kiran Mistry. The end of last week saw
Bentley Jennison
acquire Wenham Major’s core accounting and audit business.

Tony Stockdale, managing partner at Bentley Jennison, said: ‘The core
business is a strong business. Whatever happened was a matter for the other
parts of the business.’

Stockdale was spending this week talking to Wenham clients and preparing
around 30 staff to relocate to Birmingham. Jennison made the acquisition out of
existing reserves but the value of the deal was not disclosed. Accounting and
audit was turning over around £2m annually.

The sell-off comes after Wenham Major entered administration on Wednesday of
last week following a statement that ‘financial irregularities’ had been
uncovered by the firm’s joint owner Ammar Azam in the separate private client

A statement from parent body Wenham Major Global Capital Partners said legal
action was being pursued against joint owner and Wenham Major Private Client
founder John Joyce. He is in hospital and unavailable for comment.

Wenham Major caught the attention of the accounting world after growing to a
turnover of £22.5m and the number 23 spot in the 2007 Accountancy Age
Top 50. It is the largest failure of an accountancy
firm since Andersen in 2002.

The sale to Jennison came late on Friday after a week in which administrators
from Vantis discussed a deal with several interested parties.

Vantis staff will now turn their attention to recovering creditors’ funds and
uncovering the events that brought about the firm’s demise.

Nick O’Reilly, the administrator in charge, said: ‘We have been concentrating
on saving employees, looking after the interests of creditors and minimising
disruption to the clients. Stage two will now start to work out what happened.’

In all six entities relating to Wenham Major entered administration with
Vantis: Wenham Major Global Capital Partners LLP and Cornwall Street Property
LLP, Wenham Major Ltd, Wenham Major Private Client and two non-trading companies
Abbey Specialised Solutions and Wenham Major Business Services.

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