Before anything else, I must apologise, both to our clients and to our staff. This time last year I made sure that we had sufficient resources to allow us to administer 250 to 300 cases, with the expectation of distributions to shareholders in the region of £50m.
By mid-February 2020 we had to limit our take up of new clients to those where we already knew the introducer to maintain service levels. Covid-19, the actions, or rather the lack of actions of various Government departments didn’t help nor did the continued imposition by HMRC of a new computerised system of VAT processing without considering how the final clearance on companies that had entered insolvency might be affected. Distributing the relevant team to assist with Covid-19 throughout the rest of HMRC was perhaps the final straw, leading to a huge backlog with HMRC clearances from the VAT/PAYE team who still have cases outstanding which are over 11 months old.
We had to go through a further period of reducing client uptake in October.
Despite this, I can report over 500 groups of individuals (the vast majority of whom are families, retirement situations, or contactors adapting to the various tax changes,) have engaged with us to assist with finalising the affairs of their Companies in a tax-efficient manner and to move on with their lives.
In 2020 therefore, we were able to distribute over £65m to over 350 shareholder groups. With the problems, this is clearly a massive achievement for Kelly and the team which has been required to materially change the way they work to cope with numerous lockdowns, IT outages and general disruption.
And for 2021 this evolution continues, both in terms of process and infrastructure (ok possibly more people for the team).
January 2021 was ahead of 2020 as was February. We have again had to limit client take up, but additional resource comes online in early March. So, will it be 600 or 700 new clients and 500 distributions? Too early to tell, but I do think we are looking at returning over £100m of capital to shareholders of businesses that are no longer required.
I do hope you can join us!
At Frost Group, we want to make things as easy as possible for you. That is why, if you can’t come to us, we’ll come to you. We operate face to face, nationwide meetings, wherever is most convenient for you.