In Autumn 2020 two of the largest IVA firms have recently announced the latest in a long line of customer transfers within the industry:
- all Aperture’s open IVAs have been sold to Jarvis Insolvency; and
- Vanguard’s open IVAs will be administered by Ebenegate.
UPDATE: In February 2021 Jarvis rebranded and it now calls itself Debt Movement.
Sale of Aperture’s IVAs to Jarvis
On 5 September 2020 Jarvis Insolvency announced:
Jarvis Insolvency have recently taken over your IVA from Aperture and will now be managing and supervising your IVA moving forwards. This follows an agreement between Aperture and Jarvis Insolvency and an Order made in the Leeds County Court.
Every IVA is under the name of an Insolvency Practioner (IP). The court order would have been to change the IP for all existing Aperture IVAs to Laura Prescott, who works for Jarvis.
Aperture was the second largest IVA firm in 2018, but it stopped taking new IVAs in June 2019. At that time there was some talk that new business that would have gone to Aperture would instead go to Jarvis – see some of the comments below my article Aperture – no longer taking new IVAs.
This transfer has affected 25,000 people who had open Aperture IVAs. They are receiving an email stating what has happened,
Aperture was itself spun out from Grant Thornton in 2015. It then purchased many IVAs from other firms – buying ClearDebt’s IVAs in 2016 and Debt Free Direct’s IVAs in 2017. As a result, many Aperture customers started with a different firm and the transfer to Jarvis will be their third IP.
Ebenegate to administer Vanguard IVAs
Vanguard was the fifth largest IVA firm in 2019, setting up over 6,000 new IVAs. In August 2020 Vanguard announced:
Please note that as of Monday 17th August, all live Individual Voluntary Arrangements (IVAs) are now being serviced by Ebenegate.
This seems to be simply an outsourcing function at the moment. There is no mention that the IPs have changed so Vanguard remains responsible for these IVAs.
Our UK office manages the day-to-day running of the business, while our Mauritius office are the customer care specialists and case-handling experts who will be your point of contact throughout the life of your insolvency case.
There are close connections between Creditfix, the largest IVA firm and Ebenegate. Finbora Group Limited, previously known as Creditfix Holdings Limited, bought Ebene Gate Mauritius in 2018-19. Creditfix and Ebenegate share some personnel. This weekend, the Ebenegate phone number on the Vanguard website was answered by a Creditfix employee, who knew nothing about Vanguard IVAs.
Here is a recent comment on an IVA forum:
I have been in an IVA for a year now and found it very stressful and taken a toll on my mental health (which I am in the process of sorting) I have been speaking to my mum and step dad and they have said they are willing to pay a F&F so I can start fresh, I have been trying to contact them for weeks now emails and phone calls and no response ( Was vanguard now ebengate) I don’t know what I’m meant to do as I can’t get through to anyone any help would be much appreciated.
It remains to be seen how well outsourcing administration to a different time-zone will work for people with Vanguard IVAs.
IVA customers can’t object
You have no right to object to a transfer, even if it is to a firm you deliberately decided not to use at the start of the IVA. You cannot switch to a different firm you would prefer.
After your IVA is set up, you become a commodity for many of the large IVA firms. Your case is a potential stream of income over the next few years. It can be sold to another firm or outsourced to a firm who thinks they can process the IVA more cheaply.
And if communications with the new firm do not go well, there is no independent Ombudsman you can appeal to.
Customers may lose out
The changes come at a difficult time. As furlough and other government assistance unwind, some people with IVAs will need help from their IVA firm to understand the rules around redundancy and payments breaks.
Without proper support, some customers may not realise there are options that could allow their IVA to get back on track or to complete. Systems that prioritise “efficiency” over good communications may result in more IVAs failing unnecessarily.