Two directors of Bristol-based Tucan Claims Limited (Tucan), a company that offered regulated claims management services, have been disqualified from being directors for a combined total of 12 and-a-half years, one for being in control of the Company for a period in which it mishandled clients money, the other for failing to inform the authorities that he had no managerial role at Tucan and for failing to ensure that the Company correctly handled clients money.
The disqualifications, from 31 March 2014, follow an investigation by the Insolvency Service.
Swansea based Melfyn Roberts (age 53) and James Alexander Ryan (age 29), the directors of Tucan - which traded from premises in Bristol, but offered nationwide regulated claims management services - both gave undertakings to the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS) not to promote, manage, or be a director of a limited company: Mr Roberts for nine years and Mr Ryan for three-and-a-half years.
Commenting on the disqualifications, Official Receiver Ken Beasley said:
There has been significant coverage of the problems regarding the sale of PPI Insurance in the press over the last couple of years. To find that members of the public have been taken advantage of and have lost out by the actions of these directors, after they have already been miss-sold insurance, is particularly wrong
The Insolvency Service will continue to take action to protect the public where this sort of misconduct is discovered.
Tucan was wound up in the public interest by the court on 18 March 2013, with liabilities of more than 1.1 million, having previously been placed into Administration on 28 May 2012.
Mr Roberts did not dispute that despite never having been formally appointed as a director of the Company he had acted in that capacity, nor that while he acted in that capacity, he failed to make sure that Tucan handled clients money correctly.
Mr Ryan did not dispute that he neglected his duties as a director in various ways, including;
failing to inform the relevant authority of his lack of a managerial role in Tucan;
failing to inform this same authority of Mr Robertss role as a de facto director (and therefore that Mr Roberts was an individual with significant influence over Tucans affairs);
failing to inform this authority that Tucan would be handling clients money; and failing to ensure that when Tucan handled clients money it did so correctly and had in place the correct banking facilities.
The investigation uncovered that, in the period between at least September 2011 and February 2012, whilst Tucan was nominally under the control of Mr Ryan but was actually under the control of Mr Roberts, it received at least 168,588 as a result of successfully pursuing PPI Claims on behalf of its clients. Under the Terms & Conditions that had been issued to these clients, Tucan was entitled to deduct a 10% fee.
However, information provided to the Official Receiver by former clients and by the Ministry of Justice showed that Tucan failed to pay over the remaining 151,729 that was rightfully due to these clients.