It is rolling out its new FirstPort brand, which means when you click on the Peverel website you are passed on to a new site.
The change in name is taking place a year after the Office of Fair Trading found that Peverel / Cirrus had been systematically cheating pensioners with a bogus tendering process.
As many as 65 retirement sites were swindled, the OFT discovered in a £500,000 investigation. One of three stooge companies making fake bids against Cirrus paid a fine of £1,777, while the two others went into liquidation and avoided any sanction.
Peverel and Cirrus themselves got off scot-free as they qualified for leniency in December 2009 by turning themselves in.
At that point, the group was headed by Nigel Bannister, whose new company Freemont Property Management is an affiliate member of ARMA.
We are sure that in the spirit of transparency for which he is now such an enthusiast, he will welcome us – again – recalling his words to the Times on November 9 2009, just a few weeks before Peverel confessed to price-fixing:
Not to be outdone, Peverel, or rather FirstPort, has its own grotesque way with words, announcing in its first press release: “FirstPort raising the standards with ARMA-Q”.
What standards would those be, exactly?
And what does ARMA get out of this (beyond holding its nose and trousering the cheques)?
Can the membership possibly be happy with Peverel in ARMA-Q?
That is, those property companies that haven’t been the subject of a half million pound OFT investigation, or that have not inexplicably ended up with a portfolio of retirement house managers’ flats, or had their insurance fiddles reduced to zero by the property tribunal.
Do they really want to end up in a club with this lot?
Hold on! There’s more.
Peverel / FirstPort is also delighted with the Competition and Markets Authority report into leasehold management, and on “a voluntary basis” move these matters forward.
Carlex readers may recall that Peverel warmly welcomed the inquiry when it was announced last December by the OFT.
Yes, that’s the same OFT that three days later concluded its investigation into … er Peverel / Cirrus doing its price-fixing.
Anyway, for those with strong stomachs here is the statement on the CMA report.
FirstPort welcomes the CMA Market Study Report
FirstPort has reviewed in full the report and recommendations from the Competition and Markets Authority’s (CMA) Market Study into the supply of residential property management services published on 2 December, and we both welcome and broadly support its conclusions.
Having been supportive and actively engaged in the market study throughout the process, the FirstPort team will continue to engage with the work of the CMA, the Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG) and the trade bodies in the industry to focus on the goal of raising standards in property management across the board.
In particular, we agree with the CMA’s recommendations to: improve awareness, amongst purchasers, of the obligations of owning a leasehold property; provide greater transparency between property managers and leaseholders; and introduce new forms of redress by either LEASE or the First Tier Tribunal. Combined, FirstPort believes these will have a positive impact on improving outcomes for leaseholders.
Commenting on the content of the report, Janet Entwistle, CEO, FirstPort said:
“The CMA’s report provides recommendations on a number of key items which we believe will have a positive impact on the industry. The work of the CMA and the outcome of the study are very much consistent with the focus that we have made in our business, during recent years, through the development of our Customer Charter as well as the work of ARMA and the ARMA-Q accreditation in raising industry standards.
Whilst we would have welcomed additional recommendations that looked to align industry Codes of Practice as well as statutory regulation for the industry, we will continue to look for opportunities, on a voluntary basis, to work with interested parties to move these matters forward.”
FirstPort is part of the Knight Square group of companies.