Mortgage broker disqualified from directorships

Matthew Richard Sixsmith of Whittle le Woods in Lancashire has been disqualified from being a director for eight years by Bolton County Court following an investigation by the Insolvency Service.

The disqualification means Sixsmith cannot manage, control or be a director of a company until 2020.

The court found that Sixsmith, 31, had allowed his father Richard Sixsmith, from Bolton, to act in the management of Bridgewater House UK, a mortgage brokering company, despite the father having already been disqualified for a period of five years on 8 April 2005 relating to his misconduct in the Mortgage Practice Ltd.

Sixsmith allowed his father to act as a director of the company in all but name, despite having already given an undertaking to the Office of Fair Trading that he would not allow his father to act while disqualified.

Although Sixsmith did not attend the hearing and offered no evidence in his own defence, the court heard he had confirmed to OFT investigators in 2008 that he was aware of his father's disqualification and the implications thereof.

Prior to his son's disqualification, Richard Sixsmith had already signed a further undertaking to the Secretary of State for a period of 12 years in respect of his conduct in the management of Bridgewater. A person who acts while disqualified may be personally liable for the debts of the company.

Claire Entwistle, director of company investigations North at the Insolvency Service, said: "In this case the directors attempted to circumvent the disqualification by a client and brokerage referral system. Directorship is not defined solely by the names listed at Companies House, it is the actions in respect of the company that define who is acting as director.

"Where disqualified directors continue to manage the affairs of a company, they will find that the protection of limited liability is not given to them and they may be criminally prosecuted.

"Likewise the Insolvency Service will act robustly against those who allow disqualified directors to act."

Bridgewater House UK Ltd was incorporated on 27 February 2003. Bridgewater House UK Ltd entered liquidation on 8 September 2009 with a deficiency to creditors of £317,437. Disqualification undertakings were introduced in April 2001. They are an administrative equivalent of a disqualification order but do not involve court proceedings. Without specific permission of a court, a person with a company director disqualification, including undertakings, cannot act as a director of a company, take part, directly or indirectly, in the promotion, formation or management of a company, be a liquidator or administrator of a company; or be a receiver or manager of a company's property.

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