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stephen-chalcraft

Stephen Chalcraft

stephen-chalcraftPartner

Stephen joined Bermans in August 2019 as a partner in the property team.

He has a wealth of knowledge, with over 20 years of experience dealing with a wide range of commercial property matters, with specific expertise in complex commercial development and regeneration projects.

Stephen, who is based at our Manchester and Liverpool offices, works with a range of clients including commercial developers, investors, landlords and tenants, housing associations, local authorities and universities.

Stephen was chair of Pro Manchester’s regeneration and property group for over 12 years and is now a member of the Greater Manchester Chamber’s property and regeneration steering committee.

He is also on the main board of the North & Western Lancashire Chamber of Commerce, and is an honorary Fellow of the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors.


Email: Stephen.chalcraft@bermans.co.uk

Tel: 0161 827 4620

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Rachel Giles

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Solicitor

Rachel joined Bermans in July 2019 and is currently working in our Employment team as a Solicitor.

Rachel studied History & Politics at the University of Manchester before deciding to pursue a career in law.

Rachel qualified as an Employment Solicitor at a commercial firm in 2009 and brings a wealth of experience, having also worked in the HR head office of a major UK retailer and in-house at a TV and film finance and production company based in Montreal, Canada.

She has worked with clients across a range of sectors but has a particular interest in the creative industries and national retailers and having worked in-house, has extensive knowledge of the commercial contexts in which our clients operate.

Rachel has represented clients in tribunal cases including those relating to unfair dismissal, constructive dismissal and all forms of discrimination.

Rachel has a particular interest in guiding her client’s through absence management processes and avoiding disability discrimination claims (in particular those relating to mental health impairments.)  Her non contentious work includes drafting contracts, policies, restrictive covenants and settlement agreements.


Email: Rachel.giles@bermans.co.uk

Tel: 0151 224 0534

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Robert Maddocks

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Senior Associate

Robert qualified as Solicitor in 2008 and joined Bermans in July 2019 as a Senior Associate in the Employment team.

He has previously worked for industry recognised legal providers, including an employment boutique firm in Manchester.

He is known for delivering strategic and commercial advice to clients and advises clients in different sectors. He has also contributed to industry journals and national press with articles on employment law issues.

Robert has acted for a wide range of clients ranging from OMB’s to large national and international companies, however he has a particular focus on owner managed SME’s.

Robert regularly advises on complex internal HR and employment law issues as well as business re-organisations, restructures and TUPE transactions. He is particularly experienced at representing clients in the Employment Tribunal and regularly appears as an advocate.


Email: Robert.maddocks@bermans.co.uk

Tel:  0161 827 4617

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Rob Eakins

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Solicitor

Rob is a solicitor in the Commercial team, having joined Bermans in July 2019.

Rob trained at a firm in Manchester, with seats in the corporate and commercial department, wills and trusts, and business crime and regulation.

Rob advises on all types of commercial contracts, with particular expertise in agreements for the creative industries. He also has a growing number of clients in the developing blockchain and cryptocurrency sector.

Before deciding to train in law, Rob gained an MA in Music Industry Studies from the University of Liverpool. This included a dissertation based on his own original research, studying levels of understanding of relevant intellectual property issues amongst musicians in Liverpool.

Since then, Rob has had a number of commercially-focused roles, including creative industries business adviser, project manager, and owner of a record label. Rob’s frequent dealings with commercial contracts inspired him to train as a commercial lawyer.


Email: rob.eakins@bermans.co.uk

Tel:  0151 224 0535

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Client Focus Q&A: thestartupfactory.tech

guy-headshot2We met up with Guy Remond,  Founder of thestartupfactory.tech (pictured left) for our latest client focus Q&A.

1) What is your business?

I co-own and own two businesses. The first is thestartupfactory.tech, which helps tech start-ups build their product, prepare and then execute rapid growth. thestartupfactory.tech is made up of an eclectic mix of experienced commercial operators and software engineering leaders and engineers. We want to talk to entrepreneurs who have a great tech product idea in a sector they have extensive experience in. thestartupfactory.tech works with a network of trusted companies who we can bring in to support the start-up as and when required. Bermans is one of our trusted advisors in this network.

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My second business is Sky Blue Consulting (a brand of Sky Blue Financial Investments Ltd.) – using the knowledge gained from earning numerous badges and scars over many years running businesses, I help companies prepare for and execute on rapid growth. I also invest in these businesses, sharing the risk as well as the upside. This means I only work with a limited number at any one time.

2) Which solicitors do you use at Bermans and how do we compare to other firms?

Jon Davage and Robin Hastings were the main lawyers who advised us through the acquisition of my previous company Cake Solutions which was acquired by BAMTECH INC. which is now owned by The Walt Disney Company. Jon and Robin used their experience to mitigate risk for scenarios I never saw coming, saving the shareholders significant sums of money.

Andrew Koffman has supported the Cake shareholders with some commercial work.

Robin Hastings has supported thestartupfactory.tech with contracts with some of our clients.

A number of Bermans lawyers have supported thestartupfactory.tech clients in a number of different ways.

Bermans have extensive experience in working with tech start-ups, have often exceeded our expectations and share the same high growth ambition as my clients.

3) What are the biggest challenges you face in growing your business and maintaining profits?

Both thestartupfactory.tech and Sky Blue Consulting do not look for quick profit; we want to work with ambitious companies who we help build a solid foundation for growth with the expectation that we will make money further down the line based on the success of the client. A genuine shared risk scenario.

4) Tell us about your typical working day?

I feel very privileged that I am in full control of what I do each day. I work hard and aim to work with like-minded people who have ambition, drive and talent. The net result is that my week is incredibly varied, a mix of trips to meet with my clients, video conference calls and some time in the office and home office.

Increasingly I am trying to mix work with exercise and quality sleep. I also make sure that I am very active socially, with colleagues, friends and family.

5) What has been a highlight for your business over the last 12 months?

Sky Blue Consulting has only just been set up, however, I am very happy with how things are going with the first three companies I am working with under this brand.

However, thestartupfactory.tech is the real success story. We have worked with or are working with 11 companies in the first two years of operation. Ian Brookes, Cake Solutions’ ex non-exec director and an incredible mentor to myself, has build and lead the team with great success. thestartupfactory.tech team can be justifiably be proud of how they have supported and continue to support the companies we have worked with to date.

Several of the companies are now ploughing ahead under their own steam with a great product and growing teams. I am really excited to see how they get on in the coming years.

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6) What are your plans for your business for the year ahead?

Having left school at 17 and following the successful acquisition of Cake Solutions, I am taking quite a bit of time off this year to reenergise and spend quality time of with family and friends. I have purposefully kept the number of companies I am working with this year low.

I look forward to continue to work with thestartupfactory.tech team in 2020 and building a solid portfolio of companies I invest in and help them build a platform for high growth through to greater success or acquisition.

7) Is there are sector or industry that you are strong in or looking to develop opportunities?

thestartupfactory.tech works with tech product companies. Through Sky Blue Consultancy I am already working with a mix of companies, in the financial sector, marketing sector and in the health sector.

8) If you were chancellor, what single change would you make to help improve the economy and/or your business?

The SME sector in the UK is world class and I would hope that any government, in particular the Chancellor, will continue to support SME’s. We have to actively encourage the next generation of entrepreneurs with policies that support them and the businesses they create and build.

There will be more change in the world of business in the next 10 years than in the last 30, driven by the massive impact technology will have as well as global issues such as climate change, the ever increasing population and instability within regions around the world for any number of reasons.

The government has a responsibility to keep up much quicker with these changes so it can effectively support the entrepreneurs who will help solve some of these issues far quicker and more efficiently than any government can.

9) What are your passions away from business?

I am fortunate to have a very healthy social life and I really enjoy travelling whether it be on business or personally.

Other than my family and friends my other big passion is following Manchester City, having gone to most home games since I was 8. My dad has been going since he was 8 and now my children are keen supporters. I love going to watch the game with family and friends.

10) Do you have any business tips to share with our readers?

I think the most important thing you need to build a successful company is to build a team around you so you can operate extensively in your areas of unique ability and they are all operating in their areas of specialism and unique ability.

By working towards this goal, a great idea and a clear vision, everyone will be increasingly happy. They will be working efficiently and providing you with the platform you need to achieve high growth, a healthy bottom line and ultimately success.

Contact

If you would like to speak to Guy please email him on guyr@thestartupfactory.tech

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Richard Moose

richard-moose1Senior Associate

Richard joined Bermans in June 2019 as a Senior Associate in the litigation team.

His areas of expertise include all areas of general commercial litigation and he has a particular interest in construction disputes as he started his career in architectural design and construction management.

Richard’s wealth of commercial litigation experience will allow him to deliver a high standard of service to his SME and private clients.

Richard studied law at the University of Liverpool before completing the Bar Vocational Course.

In his spare time, Richard enjoys sailing and archery.


Email: Richard.moose@bermans.co.uk

Tel: 0151 224 0540

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Bermans top Business Money Poll

In April 2019, Bermans topped the professional poll for choice of legal services for both +£100k and sub £100k funds out in Business Money’s report of the UK invoice finance sector.business-money-image

The professionals poll rankings are voted for by asset finance providers who are asked about their choice of professional when acquiring a lawyer amongst other professional sectors.

The summary quotes:

“If Bermans was the only law firm to make a significant showing in the sub-£100,000 category it also topped the £100,000 funds out poll amongst a dozen finance houses.”

 

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Insolvency – Receivership

Administrative Receivership

Prior to 2002, creditors holding a charge over a company’s assets (usually a bank), had the right in certain circumstances to appoint a receiver. A receiver was an Insolvency Practitioner who acted on behalf of the creditor. Its duty was to take custody of the company’s assets and exercise powers with a view to satisfying the debt owed to the creditor.

In 2002 the law changed and restricted the use of this procedure to certain types of companies or floating charges created prior to September 2003. For this reason, administrative receiverships are rare (in 2018 there were only a handful in the UK).

LPA Receivership and Fixed Charge Receivership

LPA receiverships and fixed charge receiverships are different to administrative receivership.

Under the Law of Property Act 1925 (LPA), creditors (usually banks/lenders) that hold a fixed charge over property have a statutory right to appoint an LPA receiver.

A fixed charged receivership is when a creditor who has a fixed charge over a company’s assets, has the power under the terms of the security documentation to appoint a receiver.

In these situations the receiver will have powers to help realise the debt owed to the creditor by taking charge of the assets/property. This could mean selling the assets that are the subject of the charge or managing them and collecting the rent for the benefit of the lender.

What can you do if a receiver is appointed in respect of your company’s assets?

We are experienced in advising both lenders in respect of the appointment of receivers, receivers in relation to legal issues arising from the exercise of their powers and companies facing receivership which gives us valuable experience in advising on this specialist area.

If you receive a formal demand from a lender indicating their intention to appoint a receiver, or a receiver has been appointed in respect of your company, it is critical that you seek urgent advice.

We regularly advise companies on the validity of the appointment of a receiver, their rights and the best course of action. We offer practical, commercial advice rather than just restating the law.

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Insolvency – Administration

Insolvency is defined in the Insolvency Act 1986, but broadly it means when a company does not have sufficient assets to discharge its liabilities as they fall due.

If this occurs, there are options open to the company owners and other stakeholders, one of which is administration. Administration is an insolvency process where an insolvent company is placed under the control of an insolvency practitioner (IP) to enable the IP to achieve objectives laid down in legislation.

How does a company enter administration?

There are two ways for a company to enter administration:

  • By court order – an application for a court order can be made by creditors i.e. those owed money by the company, the company itself, its directors, a liquidator, a supervisor of a CVA or pursuant to legislation.
  • By an out of court process by lodging certain documents with the court – this process is only available to the company or its directors or a party with a qualifying floating charge (usually a bank or commercial lender).

Why would a company or its directors put it into administration?

From the date that an application is made to court or a notice of intention to appoint administrators is filed, a moratorium in respect of claims will apply to protect the company against actions from creditors. In general terms this means that creditors will not be able to issue proceedings, HMRC will not be able to distrain or issue a winding up petition against the company and the landlord will not be able to forfeit its lease. If the company is concerned that creditors may issue proceedings then administration can provide some short term protection, allowing the company to restructure.

Often companies that enter administration end up being sold or at least their businesses and assets do. Sometimes a sale is agreed prior to the company going into administration and it may be a term of completing the sale that the company is put into administration first. Such sales are known as pre-packs. Pre-packs can be a relatively quick and smooth way to continue the business with as little disruption as possible.

What are the objectives of the administration?

The first objective of an administrator is to rescue the company so it can carry on as a going concern.

If this isn’t possible then the aim is to achieve a better result for the company’s creditors than would be likely if the company was put into liquidation. If such a better result cannot be achieved, then the objective is to realise the property of the company and distribute the proceeds to the company’s secured and preferential creditors in the first instance.

Next steps

 

If your company is experiencing financial difficulties and you are considering administration please get in touch. We can provide initial advice about your restructuring options and introduce you to an IP.

If you are considering purchasing a business or assets from an administrator, please get in touch. We have a wealth of experience in structuring pre-pack sale agreements and advising individuals and companies on purchases of distressed businesses and assets

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