Wed 17 January 2018
Following a record-breaking year in 2017, fast-growing Liverpool law firm MSB Solicitors has this month announced it will expand its range of services further with the acquisition of a debt recovery firm.
Matrix Legal & Insolvency Services is a Liverpool-based debt recovery agency, which has more than 30 years experience of debt collection, debt prevention and credit management.
Now the business is to become part of MSB, which last year saw turnover break through the £5m barrier for the first time.
Matrix director, Colin Wynne, will join MSB as a specialist in debt recovery and his operation will become part of the law firm’s commercial department, headed by Mark Forman.
Dealing with PLCs and small firms across the UK, Matrix boasts an “in-depth knowledge of the law with regard to credit management”.
The deal fits in with the hiring of specialist employment lawyer Chris Hayes, who joined MSB in December from Morecrofts Solicitors in Liverpool. Mr Hayes will focus on rolling out the new function to his employment and HR clients.
Mr Forman said the move to incorporate Matrix into MSB was in line with the firm’s ethos of “doing things differently” and would offer an even better all-round service to its corporate clients.
“This brings into focus how MSB continues to be at the forefront of commercial law,” he added. “And we see this new service as something we could offer on a consultancy basis to other law firms.”
Thanks to popular TV shows such as ‘Can’t Pay? We’ll Take It Away’ and “The Sheriffs Are Coming’ there is now much more public awareness around debt recovery. In the past the public has had a negative perception of those whose job it is to collect debts.
However, there is now more awareness of the other side of the issue. How people and firms not paying their bills can put companies and jobs at risk. Cashflow problems is one of the main reasons why many small and medium-sized firms go bust.
Mr Wynne said: “Debt recovery specialists such as ourselves offer a vital service to companies big and small, as well as to sole traders. Without our help many firms could find themselves in serious financial trouble.
“MSB is one of the fastest-growing law firms in the North West and has a fantastic reputation for offering its clients a range of services. The joining of our businesses only further serves to strengthen that offer.”
Changes in legislation
News of the acquisition comes further to significant changes in legislation around debt recovery.
Colin says: “All businesses who trade with sole traders or private individuals need to be aware of new rules now in force that govern how they can pursue debtors.
“The Pre-Action Protocol came into force last October and the rules say it is no longer acceptable to send a seven-day letter before action to this type of debtor as there is now a requirement to send specific details about the debt in a Letter of Claim.
“Those details include the balance due, copies of the contract, copy invoices, copies of your terms and conditions, a calculation of any interest or charges applied to the account, a reply form, an information sheet and an income and expenditure form.
“You also now need to give your debtor a minimum of 30 days to reply and further time can be requested from the debtor (a further 30 days) to request further information if necessary and then at least a further 14 days to take legal or debt advice.
“As a result of the change in legislation, it can take up to 74 days to comply with the legislation before you are in a position to issue a claim at Court. We are geared up to deal with the protocol on behalf of our clients and we will be in a position to administer the protocol on their behalf.”