Wenham Major calls in advisers over ‘irregularities’

Corporate restructuring specialists from Vantis are among the experts
pitching to advise troubled Top 50 accountancy firm Wenham Major.

Vantis staff met with directors of Wenham Major and with officials of HBOS,
the firm’s bankers, on Tuesday.

Wenham Major Global Capital Partners said last week that joint owner and
director Ammar Azam had found ‘financial irregularities’ in the Wenham Major
Private Client subsidiary. As a result of ‘preliminary findings’, the firm plans
to ‘issue proceedings’ against John Joyce, executive chairman and founder of the
private client business.

Joyces is reported to be in hospital and is unable to be contacted.

The task facing external advisers remains unspecified. No appointment had
been made as Accountancy Age went to press. The firm’s priority is said
to be a ‘business as usual’ footing for both staff and clients.

An HBOS spokesman said: ‘It is not appropriate for us to comment.’

The Wenham Major statement said: ‘The accounting practice is profitable,
growing and meeting its operational and financial targets.’

The firm has grown rapidly and is 23rd in the 2007 Accountancy Age Top 50
with a turnover of £22.2m. Last year the firm booked at least £10.5m from tax
advice. the firm had only entered the Top 50 for the first time the previous
year with a turnover of £9.9m.

Wenham Major was founded in 1867 and was the subject of an MBO involving
Joyce in 2005. As well as London and Birmingham the firm currently has offices
in New York, Dubai, Shanghai, New Delhi and Geneva.

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