Terms of Business
We can provide services to the following clients: partnerships of four or more people; trusts and charities; limited companies and public limited companies. We regret we cannot assist sole traders and partnerships of under four people.
Terms of Business: Commercial
The purpose of these terms of business is to set out the basis on which we are engaged as commercial brokers and outline the respective responsibilities re yourself as the Client and ourselves.
We aim to offer all our clients an efficient and effective quality commercial broking service at a fair cost. We hope it is helpful to you to set out the basis on which we will provide our professional services.
Our Commitment to You
· represent your interests and keep your business confidential
· explain to you the commercial broking work which may be required and the prospects of a successful outcome
· make sure that you understand the likely degree of financial risk that you will be taking on
· keep you regularly informed of progress or, if there is none, when you are next likely to hear from us
· try to avoid using overly technical or legal language when writing or speaking to you
· deal with your enquiries promptly, e.g. we will always try to return your phonecalls and emails on the same day
Hours of Business
Normal hours of business at our offices are between 9.00 am and 5.00 pm on weekdays. You can telephone either of the numbers above between these hours. Messages can be left on the landline answerphone. There is no answerphone on the mobile but you can call the mobile up to 8.00 pm. Appointments can be arranged outside normal hours of business when this is essential.
People Responsible for your Work
Details of the name and status of the person who will be carrying out the day to day work on your case are set out in the letter accompanying this Terms of Business.
Charges and Expenses
In the letter accompanying this Terms of Business, we have provided you with a breakdown of our charging rate together with an estimate of the likely overall cost of your case and agreed payment arrangements.
Our charges will be calculated on the basis of our standard fee scales. They will include, amongst other items, meetings with you and perhaps other people, reading and working on papers, correspondence, preparation of any detailed costs calculations, and time spent travelling away from the office when this is necessary.
· We will provide you with an estimate of charges at the commencement of your matter, but this will usually be an approximation rather than a quotation. Estimates are given on the assumption that the matter is not, or does not become unusually urgent, complicated or time consuming. This firm carries out periodic review of our charge out rate and it may be that from time to time we increase those rates. If such an increase is made you will be notified of it and all future work on your matter will be calculated at that charging out rate and, by signing these Terms of Business, you consent to being liable for those future charges at the increased charge out rate. If at that future time you decide you do not wish to consent to the increased charge out rate then you are entitled to terminate your retainer with the firm. You will be informed of any additional fees in the Letter of Engagement and Contract. These fees will include:
· a non-refundable engagement fee
Fees may also include:
· a non-refundable arrangement fee: with effect from the date of issue of the Offer, a non-refundable arrangement fee based on a % of the gross value of funding. Payment to be made at the point of acceptance of the offer.
· a non-refundable completion fee: to be paid on completion as a legal disbursement by
the Client’s Solicitors (who are hereby irrevocably instructed by the Client to do so by way of copy of this Agreement) from funds held by them on the Client’s behalf.
· Certain additional consultancy work can be undertaken to assist with complex applications. Fees and charges are available on request.. We are always happy to discuss your requirements in this context. A figure will be confirmed to you in writing before the commencement of the work in question.
· If for any reason your matter does not proceed to completion, we will be entitled to charge you for work done and expenses incurred.
You are referred to our letter to you accompanying this letter for details of issues relating to our costs and disbursements in your transaction.
· It is normal practice to ask clients to make payments on account of anticipated fees, disbursements and expenses from time to time. It is helpful if you can meet these requests promptly but if you have any difficulty please let us know as soon as possible. Once a bill has been raised, monies held on account will be credited to any outstanding bill and you may be asked for further money to cover ongoing charges. This excludes monies held as deposit or as payment for specific disbursements. Should a bill remain unpaid for 21 days then we reserve the right to suspend work until such time as the account is settled.
· Payment is due to us within 21 days of our sending you a bill. Interest will be charged at 8 per cent per annum on our fees from 28 days after delivery of the bill until all our fees outstanding on the bill have been fully discharged. If we have agreed to allow you to pay our bill by instalments, interest will accrue at this same rate and in the same manner on any part of the bill remaining outstanding after 28 days of its delivery.
· Payment can be made by cheque or BACS transfer. Please note that we can only accept cash payments up to a total of £500.00.
· You are responsible for payment of bills even if someone else has agreed to pay a bill or we have agreed to send a bill to a third party for payment on your behalf.
· If you fail to pay our costs and disbursements incurred by the due date then we reserve the right to suspend any work or services and/or to terminate the contract and/or to exercise a lien over your papers. This means that we will not return them to you until the full amount of outstanding costs and disbursements have been discharged.
· If you fail to pay our costs and disbursements incurred by the due date then we reserve the right to recover from you all expenses and costs, whether legal or otherwise, incurred in seeking recovery of an overdue notice.
If you have any problem with the service we have provided for you then please let us know. We will try to resolve any problem quickly and operate an internal complaints handling system to help us to resolve the problem between ourselves. If for any reason we are unable to resolve the problem between us, you may refer to the Code of Practice of the National Association of Commercial Finance Brokers. The Code stipulates the remedies available to the client in the event of a complaint or other dispute, after exhausting the broker’s own Complaints Procedures. This firm is not authorised by the Financial Services Authority.
Storage of paper and documents
· After completing the work, we are entitled to keep all your papers and documents while there is money owing to us for our charges and expenses. In addition, we will keep your file of papers for you in storage for not less than ten years. After that, storage is on the clear understanding that we have the right to destroy it after such period as we consider reasonable or to make a reasonable charge for storage if we ask you to collect your papers and you fail to do so.
· If we retrieve papers or documents from storage in relation to continuing our new instructions to act in connection with your affairs, we will not normally charge for such retrieval. However, we may make a charge based on time spent for producing stored papers or documents to you or another at your request. We may also charge for reading correspondence, or other work necessary to comply with your instructions.
Verifying Identity and the Money Laundering Regulations
· Money Laundering is a process by which the proceeds of any type of crime and the true ownership of those proceeds appear to come from a legitimate source. Tax evasion can be a crime for these purposes.
· The UK Governments has introduced stringent rules for many types of business including commercial finance brokers which are aimed at tackling money laundering. Our compliance with these rules is a legal obligation.
· We cannot act in certain types of cases unless we check identification and verify the address of new clients. We will discharge our legal obligations to undertake an identification and postal address check of you by doing this online by way of a personal search with a credit referencing agency. In some cases we may need to see and take copies of personal documents e.g. passport and/or driving licence. We will inform you if we need you to produce these to us.
· In some limited circumstances if you cannot meet up with a member of staff at the outset to take instructions it will probably be necessary for you to attend the offices of a third party such as a local bank or firm of accountants so that somebody there can check the relevant documents for us. We will inform you if this is necessary.
· We may need to ask you questions such as how you intend to finance any transactions. This information will assist us in running your case efficiently as well as protecting you and the firm from becoming involved in money laundering.
· If we act for you for a significant length of time or if personal details change (e.g. you move house) we may need to ask you for documents again.
· Please note that (save in exceptional circumstances) we do not accept payment of invoices or monies on account by cash from clients or third parties. Please also note that funds will only be returned to clients not third parties.
In accordance with the Code of Practice of the National Association of Commercial Finance Brokers we are covered by indemnity insurance to the value of £1,000,000 (one million pounds sterling) in respect of any one indemnity insurance claim. These terms of business therefore limit our liability in respect of indemnity insurance as between you and Commercial Money Matters to the sum of £1,000,000 (one million pounds sterling) per claim.
When accepting instructions to act on behalf of a Limited Company, we may require a Director and/or controlling Share Holder to sign a form of personal guarantee in respect of the charges and expenses of this firm. If this request is refused, we shall be entitled to stop acting and to require immediate payment of our charges on an hourly basis and expenses as set out earlier.
Communication Between You and Us and Complaints
· We aim to offer all our clients an efficient and effective service and are confident that we will be able to do so in your case. However, should there be any aspect of our service with which you are unhappy please raise your concern in the first place with the person with day to day control of your matter. If you still have queries or concerns please refer your complaint to the Managing Director, Graham Allen. If you are still not satisfied you may refer to the Code of Practice of the National Association of Commercial Finance Brokers. The Code stipulates the remedies available to the Client in the event of a complaint or other dispute, after exhausting the Broker’s own complaints procedures.
· We will aim to communicate with you by such a method as you may request. We may need to virus check disks or e-mail. Unless you withdraw consent, we shall communicate with others when appropriate by e-mail or fax but we cannot be responsible for the security of correspondence and documents sent by e-mail or fax.
· It is your duty to inform us if you change postal or e-mail address or phone number.
Data Protection Act
· In order to facilitate our communications with clients and our administration of their affairs, we will seek consent from clients to our recording relevant personal information on our firm’s computer system. We will supply to clients, at their request, a copy of the data relating to themselves and will provide them with a description of the data and the purposes for which it is processes and with details of the source of the data and any potential recipients of the data.
· It may be necessary from time to time to seek a personal search from a Credit Referencing Agency. By signing this Terms of Business you are agreeing to allow this firm to make such a search. If you are signing as a Company Director your are also providing us with the authority to search from time to time not only details about yourself but also your fellow directors.
· Where you have instructed us in a property transaction involving a loan or mortgage we are obliged to disclose to the lender any information that comes to our attention that would materially impact upon their decision to provide you with a mortgage. By signing this Terms of Business you are providing your consent to us making such disclosure.
· For clients who have instructed us in the sale and purchase of a property it may be that from time to time we share information regarding the progress of this matter with agents and lenders via correspondence, the telephone and private internet reports. By signing this Terms of Business you are giving us your authority to do so.
· We do make use of the data to write to you from time to time to inform you of developments either in the law or in this practice. If you do not wish to receive such mail from us please let us know and we will note our records accordingly.
· We may, from time to time, need to use external sources and agencies for typing, photo-copying and printing. By accepting our terms of business you will have accepted this process. If you do not wish to consent to this and opt out from this process then you will need to inform us in writing.
IT Information and E-mails
Where appropriate we shall communicate with you and third parties by e-mail. We may also communicate with you by e-mail to market our services. By signing and returning this Terms of Business you are giving your consent to us doing this.
We are under a professional obligation to keep the affairs of clients confidential. This obligation, however, is subject to a statutory exemption: recent legislation on money laundering and terrorist financing has placed us under a legal duty in certain circumstances to disclose information to the Serious Organised Crime Agency (SOCA). Where a broker knows or suspects that a transaction on behalf of a client involves money laundering, s/he may be required to make a money laundering disclosure. If this happens, we may not be able to inform you that a disclosure has been made or of the reasons for it because the law prohibits “tipping off”.
Clients with Special Needs
If you have any special needs requirements or disability will you please notify us in advance so that we can prepare and make suitable arrangements to meet those needs.
Terms of Business
· Unless otherwise agreed by us in advance in writing, and subject to the application of current and future hourly rates, this Terms of Business now apply to any future instructions given by you to this firm. In other words, you may not amend this Terms of Business unilaterally.
· Although your continuing instructions in this matter amount to an acceptance of this Terms of Business, it may not be possible for us to start work on your behalf until one copy of them has been returned to us signed by you to keep on our file.