Vantis plc was an accountancy firm based in London, England, providing accounting, tax and business advice to owner-managed businesses, listed companies, not for profit organisations, high-net-worth individuals and other professionals. It was placed in administration on 29 June 2010 and promptly broken up, with the various offices and businesses being sold as going concerns.
Vantis was formed as a "consolidator", inviting existing small local accountancy partnerships to join it and become part of a national company. It was listed on the Alternative Investment Market (AIM) in May 2002.
In 2005 it took over struggling competitor Numerica, selling some of the offices to BDO Stoy Hayward. Numerica was one of the first consolidators, led by former firm Levy Gee; at a time when audit work was restricted to partnerships, it was the first publicly listed company to employ staff part-time who also did audit work for an associated partnership. Numerica had been the UK member of the global accountancy network HLB International since 2002, so Vantis succeeded as the UK member of the network.
However, by February 2010 its work as liquidator of Stanford International Bank raised doubts as to whether it would receive payment for the high-profile appointment.
In June 2010, Vantis was reported to be considering disposals of part of its business to reduce its bank loans, although the company declined to confirm this. Paul Jackson then resigned as Chief Executive on 12 June, and on Monday 14 June Vantis' shares were suspended due to uncertainty over its financial position.
Vantis entered administration on 29 June 2010, and on the same day substantially all of its businesses were sold by the administrators, FTI Consulting. Most of the business recovery arm was sold to its own management in a management buy-out for £11 million, resulting in the creation of a new business - FRP Advisory LLP. Rival consolidator RSM Tenon bought Vantis Financial Management, one business recovery office and three business advisory and tax offices for £4.46 million. The remaining business advisory and tax offices were sold separately to the local partners, and various small specialist businesses were also sold.
Stanford International Bank
Vantis executives Nigel Hamilton-Smith and Peter Wastell acted as the joint receivers of Stanford International Bank Limited and Stanford Trust Company Limited from 19 February 2009 and were made liquidators of Stanford International Bank on 15 April 2009.
In February 2010, Vantis' auditors Ernst & Young expressed concern about whether Vantis would receive payment for its work on Stanford. Properties in Antigua emerged as an important part of the company's assets, to be sold to enable payment of creditors and Vantis' own fees.
In June 2010, the High Court of Antigua resolved that Vantis should be removed from its responsibilities. The firm, which had recently received government approval to sell the property assets, appealed the decision.
After the breakup of Vantis, Hamilton-Smith and Wastell transferred to the buyout firm FRP Advisory, and continued their legal fight to be reinstated as liquidators of Stanford. However, the Eastern Caribbean Court of Appeal confirmed their removal in May 2011, and the case was passed to Marcus Wide and Hugh Dickson at Grant Thornton.
Sixty UK Limited
Vantis were the administrators of the company that owns the Energie and Miss Sixty fashion brands. The company returned to normal operations.
Two creditors made a claim that they had been treated unfairly, and the High Court judge stated that there was a prima facie case of professional misconduct which should be considered by the administrators' professional body.
Portsmouth Football Club
Allegation of tax evasion
In 2006 HMRC raided the homes of senior executives of Vantis following enquiries into the legitimacy of a tax avoidance scheme being promoted by the firm. Three senior executives were reportedly interviewed under caution. Subsequently, in October 2009, Roy Faichney and David Perrin were suspended and later dismissed by Vantis after HMRC charged them with offences relating to abuse of Gift Aid tax relief. They denied the charges and commenced action against Vantis for wrongful dismissal. Both were convicted in 2012; Perrin was jailed for 18 months and Faichney for four years.
- Vantis sale process months in the making, Accountancy Age, 8 Jul 2010. Includes "Timeline of Trouble" 2009-10
- Vantis method of consolidation unlikely to reappear, Accountancy Age, 22 Jul 2010.
- http://www.vantisplc.com/Vantis/About/ Archived March 27, 2009, at the Wayback Machine.
- Consolidators consolidate as Vantis buys Numerica, AccountingWEB, 3 May 2005. Retrieved 2010-06-07
- Numerica stirs new audit row, Accountancy Age, 14 Nov 2001
- HLB joins Numerica, Accountancy Age, 14 Feb 2002
- "The Top 50 in 2010". Accountancy Age. Archived from the original on 2010-12-06. Retrieved 2010-12-06.
- Vantis counts cost of Stanford fraud affair, The Times, 2 Feb 2010. Retrieved 2010-06-14.
- Vantis could sell part of firm to cut debts, The Times, 4 June 2010. Retrieved 2010-06-09.
- Vantis looks to restructure to reduce debt burden, Accountancy Age, 4 June 2010. Retrieved 2010-06-09.
- Vantis raises going-concern doubts, shares suspended, Reuters, 14 June 2010. Retrieved 2010-06-14.
- "Statement re suspension". London Stock Exchange. 14 June 2010.
- Going concern business sales of Vantis plc, Vantis/FTI press release, 29 June 2010. Retrieved 2010-07-12.
- RSM buys Vantis businesses, Financial Times, 1 Jul 2010. Retrieved 2010-07-12.
- FRP took on £11m of debt from Vantis, Accountancy Age, 15 September 2010. Retrieved 20 September 2010
- HMRC to lose £10m from Vantis collapse, Accountancy Age, 15 Sep 2010. Retrieved 20 September 2010
- Financial Services Regulatory Commission, Antigua and Barbuda. News Archive. Retrieved 2010-06-09.
- Stanford International Bank Limited Placed into Liquidation, BusinessWire, 16 April 2009. Retrieved 2010-06-09.
- Antiguan assets give Vantis a lifeline, Accountancy Age, 22 Apr 2010. Retrieved 2010-06-09.
- Antigua court wants to remove Vantis from Stanford liquidation, Accountancy Age, 11 June 2010. Retrieved 2010-06-11.
- Stanford liquidators fight to stay on after Vantis MBO, Accountancy Age, 30 Jun 2010
- "Stanford investors challenge court decision". Antigua Observer. 14 July 2011. Retrieved 3 January 2012.
- Young fashion label Miss Sixty goes into administration, Guardian, 1 October 2008
- Miss Sixty administrators accused of misconduct, Accountancy Age, 23 Jul 2010
- Portsmouth on brink of insolvency, Guardian, 20 February 2010
- Robert Winnett and Holly Watt, Tax raid on stars’ charity scheme, Sunday Times, 24 Dec 2006. Retrieved 2013-07-24
- Vantis accountants appear in court accused of tax evasion scheme, Accountancy Age, 4 Nov 2009. Retrieved 2010-07-12
- Tax scheme suspects Faichney and Perrin sue Vantis, Accountancy Age, 5 May 2010. Retrieved 2010-07-12
- "Ex-Vantis Faichney joins Perrin in jail over charity tax fraud". Accountancy Age. 24 October 2012. Retrieved 26 July 2013.