Former Bond Partners director banned

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A former director of Bond Partners LLP has been excluded from the ACCA after being found guilty of misconduct by recording time worked in respect of a bankruptcy which was excessive and not supported by the level of work appropriate to the case.

The disciplinary committee has ordered that Theodoulos Papanicola is excluded from membership and pays costs, although the decision is subject to any appeal which Papanicola may lodge.

The investigation is continuing, which limits the information available on the exact details of the ruling, ACCA said.

The ACCA action follows on from the start of the year when Papanicola was declared bankrupt at the High Court. In February he was found guilty of two allegations of misconduct relating to the application of a company voluntary arrangement (CVA) proposal and told to pay costs of £11,903.

As reported in Insolvency News the ACCA ruled he had failed to “make adequate appropriate inquiries” into the CVA to establish if the proposal had a “reasonable prospect of being approved”.

In January Bond Partners, for whom Papanicola was a director since its inception in 2004, collapsed into administration, with RSM Tenon appointed to handle the case. The administration resulted from significant claims against the partnership and a winding up petition by HMRC, according to the administrators.

Numerous AccountingWEB members have complained in recent years about their experiences with Bond Partners Network, a marketing intermediary for accountancy firms in which Bond Partners had a 50% shareholding. This outfit was wound up by the High Court last year.

Following complaints about recent posts by one member affected by the case, AccountingWEB was forced to make the contentious material non-live, but produced this overview to present a non-contentious factual summary of the saga to date.


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About Robert Lovell

Business and finance journalist


    30th May 2012 14:00

    Amazing to me that firms would pay considerable amount of money for telemarketing etc without a thorough due diligence on the efficacy and financial sustainability of the offering firm.

    Thanks (0)
    By nickja
    to Paul D Utherone
    30th May 2012 18:12

    Steve, why would you believe....

    ....that firms didn't carry out what they believed to be appropriate and thorough due diligence?   

    Around 250 firms were signed up, the majority of whom I suspect relied on the apparently clean status afforded to Bond Partners LLP, the 100% owners of Bond Partners Network Limited for most of that company's life, and its principals by our professional bodies.    That's not to criticise those bodies because they were no more aware of what was going on behind the scenes than those who signed up.    Moreover, I defy anyone to suggest that they would or could have checked out the status of all those "selling" the scheme - how would they have known the names? -  and discover that one of those salesmen had a criminal conviction and was serving a five year director's disqualification order .  

    I hope sincerely that something like this never happens to you.  If it does, I promise not to gloat.

    Thanks (1)
    to inaspin2
    31st May 2012 12:41

    If i paid £18k for a service

    If i paid £18k for a service without making indepth checks, i would not blame you for gloating.  I am not gloating, just saying that personally I would not venture any significant amount of money on something like this, without a lot of background checks. I would have wanted to visit the head office, speak to the marketing staff, speak to several happy customers, review the directors and senior officers.  Its a huge sum of money £18k for something intangible?

    Thanks (1)
    30th May 2012 17:32

    the benefit of hindsight

    Steve - Its easy to be clever after the fact.  Believe me, Bond had a slick sales operation, that in the height of the recession convinced dozens of firms to sign up for marketing that never took place.   It has been a massive expensive headache for all involved and Papanicola's exclusion from membership is small compensation for the aggravation caused

    Thanks (2)
    31st May 2012 16:35

    Chronology updated

    Thank you for supplying the additional information, which casts a significant light on the proceedings.

    We are currently preparing a follow-up article about this case, which will have a significant bearing on the future regulation of IPs, according to one of the IPs who has taken over some of the Papanicalo insolvency cases.

    We are still trying, however, to work out whether the relationship between the controversial marketing services subsidiary Bond Partners Network and the insolvency practice at Bond Partners was a significant factor in any way, or just happenstance.

    Thanks (1)
    22nd Jun 2012 09:45

    Temporary removal of further commenting

    We have now temporarily disabled commenting on this article until we have reviewed some issues that have been raised.

    Thanks (0)