July 21, 2024

Avoid this poisoned chalice from Tchenguiz

ChaliceA tactic to undermine residents’ right to manage ambitions by Estates and Management – which manages the various freehold vehicles of the Tchenguiz Family Trust, based in the British Virgin Islands – is to offer to dump FirstPort and replace it with another management company.

And here they are: CPBigwood, Inspired Property Management, Warwick Estates and Rendall and Rittner. On other occasions, our old friends Freemont Property Managers, headed by the former Politburo of Peverel (see below), is put forward.

A recommendation from Tchenguiz is sufficient reason in itself to avoid these companies.

This is not because they are in themselves bad companies – indeed, some of them do occasionally manage leaseholder-controlled blocks – but if they are appointed by the Tchenguiz interest this is what they will serve.

Not the leaseholders.

This list of managers was offered recently to a retirement site in east London that was getting restless and was fed up with FirstPort / Peverel. It was taking steps towards right to manage, which so successfully snuffs out dubious income streams in leasehold.

Indeed, the typical savings of a right to manage block are around 20 per cent, and the Competition and Markets Authority concluded that RTM sites were more harmonious than ones where the freeholder appoints the management.

Unfortunately, this tactic by Tchenguiz of offering to dump FirstPort / Peverel – which it once owned – and replacing it with another management company may have had some success in retirement sites.

All the game-players in the leasehold sector, such as FirstPort / Peverel, peddle the myth that leaseholders are in some sense the “customers” in the leasehold management process.

Of course, they are nothing of the kind, although they do do the paying.

While there are plenty of good reasons to get rid of FirstPort / Peverel – whose subsidiary Cirrus was found by the Office of Fair Trading to be running a collusive tendering racket that ripped off pensioners (click here for the full sordid story) – there is no reason at all to accept another management company appointed by the freeholder.

Use your right to manage, or better still buy the freehold, and appoint a management accountable to yourselves. Then if they are no good, sack them.

Freemont Property Managers was set up by former Peverel CEO Nigel Bannister and former head of Peverel Retirement Keith Edgar. They were joined by Peverel executives Philip Cummings and Kevin Barr, the former Peverel head of estate accounts.

Nigel Bannister is noteworthy for his ill-timed newspaper interview in November 2009, after Campaign against retirement leasehold exploitation activists had aroused the interest of the authorities in the Cirrus collusive tendering cheating.

Nigel Bannister was quoted in the Times saying: “People are reading a conspiracy into a problem that isn’t there. We use Cirrus because it is an excellent service.”

A fortnight later Peverel was admitting just such a conspiracy to the Office of Fair Trading, which ruled – after four indolent years – that Cirrus was running a collusive tendering racket at Peverel sites.


  1. Michael Hollands says

    Warwick Estates are members of the ARHM and ARMA Q so what does that say about those qualifications

    • Campaign against retirement leasehold exploitation says

      It says nothing about those qualifications.

      These companies are offered by the freeholder, therefore must be declined by residents seeking RTM.

      Once they have achieved RTM, they can appoint these companies or any others, or indeed appoint FirstPort if they wish.

      Of course, we would recommend that they appoint an LKP accredited managing agent which actually seek leaseholder controlled blocks. The list is under “accreditation” on http://www.leaseholdknowledge.com

    • lesley newnham says

      CPBigwood are also registered as ARMA-Q qualified but my advice would be don’t touch them with a barge pole!! Go for RTM or an LKP accredited managing agent any day of the week.

  2. Michael Epstein says

    The other property management being palmed off on unsuspecting residents is of course Freemont Property Managers,. Freemont is run by the former heads of Peverel Nigel Bannister and Keith Edgar, who were deeply involved in the price fixing scandal.
    Ironically the Freemont website advises against Right To Manage and encourages residents to approach the freeholder to change managing agent. If the freeholder happens to be a Tchenguiz company, i wonder who would be appointed?

  3. Seb,

    You said:

    “A fortnight later Peverel was admitting just such a conspiracy to the Office of Fair Trading”

    You forgot to mention that to our understanding Peverel supposedly “admitted” to the conspiracy in December 2009. However during the whole of the subsequent OFT investigation from 2009-2013 until the final findings were published we were not aware of this supposed “admission”. Nor did anyone knw that Peverel were entitled to escape any sort of fine by “admitting” the issue first.

    It would be fair to say both Sir Edward Davey and Sir Peter Bottomley were rather skeptical of the OFT’s claims regarding this “admission”. Sir Edward Davey was particularly cross becasue he had raised the matter with the OFT some months before the “admission”. If I recall correctly we both sat in his office during a rather heated exchange with senior OFT officials.

    Our understanding is that the OFT claimed that becasue it had not formally opened an investigation before the Peverel “confession” it was obliged to grant Peverel leniency.

    The huge shame is that after the OFT spent maybe more than half a million pounds of tax payers money the only people to face a fine was one tiny supplier who acted as a fake bidder in the cartel. The only people warned about possible criminal prosecution throughout the whole investigation were the Campaign against retirement leasehold exploitation whistle-blowers.

    Although our rule is never to name civil servants it is perhaps time to make an exception given that the Campaign against retirement leasehold exploitation pensioners spent so much time helping the OFT in the belief action would be taken and, instead, found that they had been duped.

    Cavendish Elithorn headed up the OFT investigation. While Mr Elithorn was paid a more than handsome shilling for his work the Campaign against retirement leasehold exploitation whistleblowers gave their time for free and are left with a bitter taste.

    Mr Elithorn has now gone on to be “Strategy Director, High Speed Rail at Department for Transport (DfT), United Kingdom”.

    • Campaign against retirement leasehold exploitation says

      Dear Martin,

      You are quite right. Worst than the collusive tendering scandal was the complacency, indolence and tokenism of those who investigated it.

      A one-off? Hardly. One is reminded of the Serious Fraud Office executives who paid themselves off so generously after messing up the Tchenguiz case: Phillippa Williamson, Christian Bailes and Richard Alderman.

      Full ghastly details of these utter wastrels are here: http://www.leaseholdknowledge.com/sfo-scroungers-phillippa-williams-christian-bailes-richard-alderman


    • Michael Epstein says

      How appropriate for Clive Elithorn to be appointed as Strategy Director, High Speed Rail, as under his stewardship of the OFT they went at “High Speed Off The Rails!”

    • Martin, I sent complaint to the OFT and have copypies of the replys sent to me, including the person named. I asked for names, dates, times and a list of the other developments that they had said were also Price Fixed.
      The one reply stated that they could not provide this information even under the Freedom of Information Act. They stated it was not in the Public Interest for them to provide any further information than was released in the report.
      Shortly after the Whitewash the Government closed the OFT and then opened the CMA, just like Peverel Retirement who denied any wrongdoing, taking years to respond, then changed names?

      • Michael Hollands says

        The way the OFT handled this issue was discraceful. I think there should be some sort of Public Inquiry into those events

    • Martin I have copy of the email sent by KK to SFO on 16/12/2009.

      Some one in Goverment got to those who were in total control of the OFT, who is not yet known?

      Why is easier to explain?

  4. Michael Epstein says

    As Freemont Property Managers have entered the Retirement Development sector, could Campaign against retirement leasehold exploitation contact the directors of Freemont for a comment about the price fixing?