Wenham Major was killed by Alistair Darling’s first Budget that closed a tax
avoidance scheme the firm was relying on.
The March Budget brought to an end the use of sideways loss relief schemes in
which Wenham was heavily invested.
It is understood that administrators from Vantis are currently trying to
trace up to £10m missing from Wenham Major accounts. It is thought much of that
is client money intended for investment in the sideways relief scheme. Up to 50
clients, many of them City financiers and lawyers, were involved in the scheme,
each investing hundreds of thousands of pounds. Around £3m is thought to be owed
to the company’s bankers HBOS.
It is believed Wenham Major fell foul of the Budget because the firm was
continuously delayed by the credit crunch hampering efforts to raise capital for
Observers estimate more than £1m had been spent on administration, including
due diligence, before the Budget curtailed efforts.
Wenham Major went into administration in May after it revealed ‘financial
irregularities’ had been unearthed in its Wenham Major Private Client
Vantis sold what was left of Wenham Major to RSM Bentley Jennison, with the
exception of the insolvency practice. An administrator’s report is expected to
be filed at Companies House next week.
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