A leading conveyancing legal firm has ceased trading after being shut down by the industry regulator.
The Foster Partnership has had its licence revoked by the Council for Licenced Conveyancers (CLC) which has told staff to return home and shut down its website.
The three-year-old conveyancing firm, which has branches in Ramsgate, Rainham, Margate, Herne Bay and Broadstairs in Kent, employs thirty people and has commercial links to many estate agents and developers in the county.
Its demise in such a public manner is highly unusual; at several of the branches dramatic scenes unravelled on Friday during which CLC officials arrived at the firm’s premises and told staff to go home, local media report.
Problems were identified at the conveyancing company when, during a 2018 annual regulatory audit, breaches of the company’s professional rules were uncovered including serious accounting errors. These were reported to the CLC.
“Since that time, we have worked tirelessly with the CLC, our auditors and indemnity insurers to identify and rectify the issues, including implementing more stringent management and accounting policies,” a spokesperson told a local news website.
“In spite of this, the CLC have obviously run out of patience and have taken the drastic step of intervening in the practice.”
In an official statement published online, the regulator said: “In light of breaches of the Code of Conduct and to protect the interests of the firm’s clients, [we have] intervened.”
All files and client monies have now been transferred to another Kent-based conveyancing firm, Stephensons Solicitors.
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