April 28, 2017

Janet Entwistle stands down at Peverel

Please follow and like us:

… aka Knight Square and FirstPort

JanetEntwistleUPDATE: Feb 6 2015: The initial headline on this article, “Janet Entwistle is given the push at Peverel” was factually inaccurate, we are informed.

The following statement to LKP / Carlex has been received this afternoon:

Janet Entwistle to stand down as CEO of Knight Square

Following the successful launch of FirstPort and Appello, and the separation of these businesses, Janet Entwistle will be standing down as Chief Executive Officer of Knight Square (formerly Peverel Group), the holding company of FirstPort and Appello.

Over the last three years, under the leadership of Janet, the Peverel businesses have been transformed, with improved customer service, greater efficiency and increased financial stability. FirstPort and Appello now have the strategy and leadership in place to build a successful future, reporting into the Knight Square Board.

Janet said: “I am proud to have been CEO through an exciting three years. Now we are reorganising the business to move to a decentralised structure with management closer to their customers it is the right time for me to move on. I know the businesses will continue to thrive under the leadership now in place, with the support of the Board.”

Paul Lester CBE, Chairman, commented:

“To have transformed the business and delivered strong trading performances is an excellent achievement. We now have two exciting businesses in FirstPort and Appello, focused on delivering great customer service. We will continue to improve and grow both businesses for the benefit of their customers, employees and investors.”

The Shareholders, Jane Crawford, Chamonix Private Equity Partners and Alex Fortescue, Electra Partners said:

“Janet has led a successful transformation of the group into two separate businesses and created an environment in which its people are engaged and focused on its customers. FirstPort and Appello are very different businesses today from those we acquired three years ago and we would like to thank Janet for all her hard work and wish her every success in the future.”

Janet will stand down from day to day operations but will assist the Board until the decentralisation of the businesses is finalised.

Comment

LKP / Carlex takes no pleasure in the departure of Janet Entwistle as CEO of Peverel: the poisoned chalice of leasehold property management.

We have always been of the view that Janet was rather better than the company that she served. Not, we hasten to add, the run of employees at Peverel / FirstPort, who on the whole are just as you would find in any organisation of this type and of comparable size.

The problem with Peverel is its frankly awful legacy: the bloated child of John McCarthy, it fell into the hands in 2006 of Vincent Tchenguiz.

The latter used Peverel to manage his freehold interests, which amount to one per cent of the residential freeholds in the country.

Monetising practices became the norm and the leasehold retirement sector began to stir, with Carlex forming in 2008 /9.

When the same sort of practices in retirement leasehold were extended to prime London at freeholds formerly owned by the luxury London housebuilders like the Berkeley Group, there was trouble.

St George’s Wharf, Vauxhall, where 35 QCs, members of the Lords, John Major and Chelsea Clinton had their homes, Peverel was not dealing with frail and vulnerable pensioners.

The result was a £1 million settlement to the residents.

Our own Martin Boyd was responsible for winning back more than £500,000 at Charter Quay in Kingston, sparking his determination to assist other leaseholders.

Although Peverel went into liquidation when the Tchenguiz brothers were arrested by the Serious Fraud Office in March 2011, after it came out of administration a year later, owned by venture capitalists Chamonix and Electra, its biggest single client owning more than 50 per cent of the freeholds it managed was the Tchenguiz Family Trust.

Janet Entwistle arrived in March 2012 and she did her best to transform the company into a consumer-oriented enterprise. That is, one that addressed the consumer interests of the leaseholders.

We have no doubt that she was genuine in this ambition.

But it was a hopeless one.

Peverel is still the biggest leasehold property manager in the country, looking after 160,000 homes.

Very few of them – only a few hundred – have actually chosen Peverel to be their property manager.

Most flats are managed by Peverel / FirstPort because it bought the management contract off the original house builders. Or, Peverel had simply hoovered up other smaller property managers, such as the late and unlamented Solitaire.

Needless to say, Peverel / FirstPort is now fading as a force in property management. Peverel Retirement has been the subject of an Office of Fair Trading ruling that its subsidiary Cirrus was running a price-fixing racket.

The then management of Peverel managed to hoodwink the regulators and win leniency for the company, but the fact remains that a company that manages the properties of some of the most vulnerable people in society set out systematically to cheat them.

In these circumstances, the best place for Janet is out of the door with a large cheque.

There are plenty of other companies more deserving of her talents than this turkey.

As for the venture capitalists who took Peverel out of administration – and cleverly got a loan secured against Peverel’s inexplicable portfolio of house managers’ flats – they got a bumpier ride than they bargained for, and presumably expect to win some, lose some.

Notes to Editors
Knight Square
Peverel Group is now known as Knight Square. Knight Square is the parent business of FirstPort and Appello. For more information, please visit www.knightsquare.com
Headquartered in New Milton, Hampshire, Knight Square has offices in London, Luton, Birmingham and Glasgow and employs more than 3,500 people.
Knight Square is the only trading group of Knight Square Holdings Limited.
Knight Square Shareholders:

Chamonix Private Equity is a specialist independent investment firm founded in 2006. It is a partnership between Jane Crawford, Christopher Edge, Andrew Hartley and Sam Watkinson. Chamonix focuses on identifying and acquiring businesses that have the potential to grow – but have been considered non-core or sub-scale by their current owners. The firm’s unique investment approach is based on a commitment to invest for the long term, the use of lower levels of leverage than the private equity industry traditionally puts in place, and an equity funding ethos which ensures an appropriate and financial structure for each acquisition. The firm typically focuses on fewer investments, an approach which allows its professionals to spend significant amounts of time supporting its management teams to bring about real change.
For further information visit www.chamonixpe.com.

Electra Partners is an independent private equity fund manager with over 25 years’ experience in the mid-market. During the last 25 years it has invested in excess of £4.4 billion in more than 200 deals. As at 30 September 2014, the firm had funds under management of over £1.6 billion including capital available for investment of circa £300 million.

Electra Partners’ flexible investment strategy allows it to invest broadly across the private equity market with a particular focus on Buyouts and Co-investments, Secondaries and Debt. In addition to this, its long-term capital base means it is not constrained by expiring investment periods or exit pressure driven by fund raising cycles and is therefore able to realise investments only when returns are maximised for its investors.

The firm’s major client is Electra Private Equity PLC (“Electra”), a private equity investment trust which has been listed on the London Stock Exchange since 1976. Electra’s long-term investment performance has been consistently superior to private equity and other benchmarks. Over the ten years to 30 September 2014, Electra has seen diluted NAV per share growth of 262% (equivalent to a ten-year annualised return on equity of 14%) compared to a 120% increase in the FTSE All-Share.

For further information please visit www.electrapartners.com.

Electra Partners LLP is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority.

Comments

  1. Michael Hollands says:

    I think Carlex is correct in that Janet was better than the company she served.
    I warned her on day one that the company was too big and the problems too deep for her to make much difference.
    Janet may have transformed the Company but for the Residents many of the same old problems remain with a few more added. No need to list them all now.
    I note that she will remain for a while to assist the new Board.
    The best thing she can do now to make some difference is to persuade them to satisfactorily and fairly bring the Price Fixing issue to conclusion. Either by offering fair compensation to the victims or agreeing to an Independant Inquiry.
    Janet originally made five major promises one being to be open and transparent. So now is the time.
    I appreciate that Janet had nothing to do with the scam, but it has never been satisfactorily dealt with during her reign and mud sticks.
    So for her own reputation and to restore a little of Peverel/First Port’s action is needed.
    It may even assist in ARMA Q qualification being achieved.

    • Michael Epstein says:

      Michael Hollands,
      Any truth in the rumour that Janet Entwistle left Peverel to join the Leaseholder Association?

    • This is part of the statement made by The Peverel Group on the 03/02/15 on this website.

      Chas Says: We note that The Peverel Group has changed name to Knight Square Ltd.

      This change of name goes nowhere to remove the scars left by the failures of Peverel Management Services Ltd trading as Peverel Retirement, now to be called FirstPort and Cirrus Communications is to be called Appello.

      These two companies Peverel/Cirrus cheated 65 developments some 2,000, pensioners and what did the Government do they closed down the OFT after the Report was published.

      The OFT reported the facts after 4 years of investigation and what penalty was imposed on Peverel/Cirrus, nothing, not a fine even though they made £1.4 million pounds from Price Fixing from 2005 to 2009.

      The OFT allowed them to Carry On Regardless.

      This is what was said by Peverel Group:

      Over the last three years, under the leadership of Janet, the Peverel businesses have been transformed, with improved customer service, greater efficiency and increased financial stability. FirstPort and Appello now have the strategy and leadership in place to build a successful future, reporting into the Knight Square Board.

      Janet said: “I am proud to have been CEO through an exciting three years. Now we are reorganising the business to move to a decentralised structure with management closer to their customers it is the right time for me to move on. I know the businesses will continue to thrive under the leadership now in place, with the support of the Board.”

      Paul Lester CBE, Chairman, commented:

      “To have transformed the business and delivered strong trading performances is an excellent achievement. We now have two exciting businesses in FirstPort and Appello, focused on delivering great customer service. We will continue to improve and grow both businesses for the benefit of their customers, employees and investors.”

      Can you believe this statement?

  2. Michael Epstein says:

    There is a widespread belief that the role of Janet Entwistle (who boasted of having no property management experience) was purely to keep Peverel trading until Vincent Tchenguiz was able to buy it back.
    Clearly, this did not happen.
    Whilst not directly responsible for the price fixing fraud, as CEO Miss Entwistle should have either returned the stolen money or agreed to mediation to resolve the matter. That she did not, in my opinion makes her culpable. As regard to a large leaving cheque, this may be repayment of funds she had to put into Peverel, for which she was charging Peverel 9% interest.

  3. The problem regarding the Price Fixing was not just the fact that Peverel Management Services now (FirstPort) or Cirrus Communications Services Ltd now (Appello).

    Cirrus were able to price the tender at a mark up and profit level as high as they choose.

    At Ashbrook Court the Technical Manager gave us the figures in writing and stated,:

    “We have selected at least two estimates from which to make the final choice of contractor” the fact that only two contractors were asked to tender, this was misleading?

    The Tenders received were not estimates as stated in the above?

    The two tenders received were from Cirrus Communication and Glyn Jackson. Glyn Jackson was asked to tender after being given the Cirrus tender price. Glyn Jackson agreed to add 20% on to each item/items, which is seen on the tender document.

    The fact that the true cost of the works may have been for £10,000 to £12,000 has not been considered as Peverel/Cirrus were working for the same Peverel Group.

    It is down to the Peverel Group to refund the differences in the true costs and those provided as tenders.

    It is believed that a £20,000 tender won by Peverel/Cirrus could have been undertaken for as little as 50% as stated by the original Whistle Blower in 2009/10 complaint to the SFO, then passed to the OFT.

    Can Melisa confirm these facts?

  4. Michael Epstein says:

    It should not be forgotten that the increased income Peverel generated from the price fixing fraud (that still remains to be refunded to the victims) came from the supposedly protected development service charge trust accounts. To mis- quote Churchill ” Some Trust Account, Some Protection”

  5. Michael,

    The Price Fixing by Peverel Management Services Ltd and Cirrus Communication was undertaken at Ashbrook Court in 2007/08.

    Chris Owens and Janet Entwistle refused to undertake an internal investigation at our development as the Area/Regional Manager and Technical Officer were still working for Peverel at the time of the Bogus Tendering.

    Janet stated that No Employer was today working at Peverel, that had working knowledge of the Price Fixing?

    As both Janet Entwistle and Chris Owens had refused to carry out an internal investigation where the evidence of the Price Fixing is evident and can be seen at Ashbrook Court.

    To rub salt into the wounds Peverel/Cirrus then gave the works to Glyn Jackson the loosing tenderer who had been given Cirrus Priced Tender and just added 20%, not even bothering to total all the figures.

    What a cover up and whitewash of over 2,000 elderly residents paid for works that gave Cirrus the £1.4 million pounds that were not undertaken as being OBSOLETE as they stated but to keep Peverel/Cirrus in works for the period from 2004/5 to 2009/10.

  6. Janet steps down having never stood up for Resident Pensioners.

  7. If you are leaseholder in a block managed by Peverel Retirement, you should demand to be given a copy of the service charge management contract to check if your service charge money is held by the correct company and credited to the correct bank account.

  8. Chas – Here is some information on the directors who were in control back in 2009 :

    1. Peverel Retirement Ltd ( No. 03479623)- I believe was in charge of the M&S built retirement homes

    Directors at 5 Nov 2009 : William Proctor, Nigel Bannister, Chris McGill, David Edwards & Michael Gaston.

    2. Cirrus Communication Systems ( No. 03229746) – renamed “Cirrus UK Monitoring Ltd” in Dec 2009.

    Directors at 5 Nov 2009 : William Proctor, Nigel Bannister , David Edwards & Michael Gaston.

    3. Kingsborough insurance Services Ltd ( No. 03479579 ) – which took excessive commissions from the insurance company for placing the buildings insurance cover, :

    Directors at 4 Nov 2009 : William Proctor, Nigel Bannister, David Edwards,, Michael Gaston & Chris McGill.

  9. You say most residents had no say in Peveral managing them but neither have residents had any say in McCarthy & Stone Management Services Managing them At least when we had Peverel they provided a file with information of rules and regulations and information on how to complain to the ombudsman and information on the duties of the House Manager etc They would also answer letters something our new management find difficult to do It would be interesting to know what other people think of the change from Peveral to McCarthy & Stone Management Services

  10. Michael Epstein says:

    What better tribute can i pay to the departed Janet Entwistle than by quoting her directly?
    “I recognise there are problems with the reputation, but we are not here to just look at changing the brand.That isn’t a long term solution”
    Janet Entwistle was praised for her efforts in re-branding the company.

    • ME,

      I think the branding iron was not very hot when connected?.

      Most people I have conversations with still call them Peverel Management Services Lt and not Peverel Retirement their old brand name or even Peverel Services Ltd the Parent Company?

      Have you seen how many shares JE has in Peverel?

      JE did recognise that there was problems at Peverel but the old guard prevented any real change.
      JE also acknowledged that commissions were excessive.
      JE stated that she was in for the long haul or was it the wrong hall?

      • Michael Hollands says:

        On the 3 Feb, Knights Square and First Port announced that Janet was stopping to assist in the decentralisation of the businesses.
        Yesterday I e.mailed her to wish her success with her future employment, but am told that she is away on a month’s holiday.
        Would this be Gardening Leave?