Investing in Property 2016 brings together three minds in the world of business and finance to talk about the options and opportunities surrounding commercial property investment.

Date: Thursday 30 June 2016
Event type: Joint seminar with Matiolli Woods, Sydney Mitchell and Together Money
Venue: Colmore Gate, 7th floor Colmore Gate, Birmingham, B3 2QD
Time: 11:30pm – 2:00pm
Cost: Free

Property Investment Seminar Sydney Mitchell Matiolli Woods Together Money


11:30amRegistration accompanied by tea and coffee

12:00pmBuying and selling commercial property: getting it right the first timeStewart Coles, Sydney Mitchell

Stewart will discuss certain important legal issues for investors to consider when buying or selling commercial property with some tips and advice on how to help the transaction proceed as smoothly as possible, and how to avoid certain pitfalls and problems that can arise. He will also discuss some recent changes in the law and their potential impact on commercial property investors, covering topics such as Stamp Duty, VAT, and Capital Allowances.

12:20pmTogether Money and finance solutionsMark Finucane, Together Money

Together is an alternative funding partner, or specialist lender, which simply means we are able to provide a broad range of loan options available to businesses and individuals beyond the traditional bank loan route.

Mark will introduce Together and its offering, giving a brief summary of the history of the business, which has been successfully delivering finance solutions for more than 40 years, and will provide some recent examples of deals in the property sector where Together has helped clients meet their financial goals.

12:40pmPrivate pension funds and commercial propertiesPaul Cliffe and Steve Eggleton, Consultants, Mattioli Woods plc

Utilising the investment flexibility afforded to self-managed pension arrangements can be an effective strategy to access funds in order to finance commercial property developments/acquisitions.

This section will provide an insight into how a private pension fund can assist with the purchase of commercial property, including the ability for the pension to borrow and how the purchase can be structured with additional investors. Moreover, Paul and Steve will provide a valuable update on the recent changes to pension legislation and talk through some real-life case studies to illustrate some of the property planning opportunities available.

1:00pmBuffet lunch and networking

Speaker profiles

Stewart Coles, Associate, Sydney Mitchell
Stewart deals with a wide range of commercial property transactions; including acquisitions and disposals, secured lending, and non-contentious Landlord and Tenant work. He has developed specialist expertise in dealing with property transactions involving pension schemes, and has acted for the majority of the leading SIPP providers. He regularly acts on behalf of SIPPs and SSASs on the purchase, sale and leasing of commercial premises, as well as dealing with transactions which are specific to pension schemes, including in specie transfers and in specie contributions.
0121 698 2200,

Mark Finucane ACIB, Regional Development Manager, Together Money
Having previously worked in commercial banking with a high street lender, Mark has a thorough understanding of the financial services industry. A keen property investor himself, he has over 20 years’ experience in the property finance sector. He is also a long-standing member of the Institute of Sales and Marketing Management, as well as a qualified business mentor. As a relationship manager for specialist lender Together, Mark is committed to developing partnerships with professional introducers across the Midlands.
07718 563 145,

Paul Cliffe, Wealth Management Consultant, Mattioli Woods
Paul Cliffe joined Mattioli Woods after graduating from Nottingham Trent University in 2008 with a BA (Hons) in Business Economics. His career began as an account manager handling the day-to-day administration of SIPP and SSAS schemes. As part of his development into consultancy, Paul assisted Chief Executive Ian Mattioli, with the management of his clients. After achieving Chartered Financial Planner status, Paul continued his professional qualifications to become a Fellow of the Personal Finance Society. Paul became the first winner of the Insurance Institute of Leicester Young Achiever of the Year award and recently won national Newly Qualified Advisor of the Year. He is now applying his extensive knowledge and experience to benefit his existing clients and professional contacts throughout the UK.
07730 764 651,

Steve Eggleton, Wealth Management Consultant, Mattioli Woods
Steve joined Mattioli Woods in 1997 after graduating with a degree in Law and worked as an account manager initially before becoming a consultant with responsibility for a portfolio of SSAS and SIPP clients throughout the UK. In 2002, Steve left Mattioli Woods to establish his own pension consultancy business, where he continued to focus on the self-administered pensions market as well as advising on overseas pension transfers for expatriates and high-net-worth foreign nationals. This led him to return to Mattioli Woods in 2009, where he continues to develop his portfolio of clients.
07540 049 460,

If you would like to attend, please contact - Jordan Storey-Knott by telephone on 0116 240 8700.

Alternatively, you can click here to book online.

Senior employees know the intimate details of the companies they work for and their departure to a competitor can be a disaster. However, a recent High Court case showed that professionally drafted contractual restrictions on what they can and cannot do after they leave can be highly effective in softening the blow.

The case concerned an employee who had performed a lynchpin role in an international recruitment company. She was viewed as a valuable addition to the team when she joined the company and was paid commensurately. After 13 years with the company, she announced her resignation and notified her employer that she would be taking up a post with another business operating in the same specialist field.

The employee’s contract contained restrictive covenants that, amongst other things, forbade her from being directly or indirectly concerned or interested in any competing business for six months after her departure. Although willing to comply with other provisions of the covenant, employee argued that part of it was unenforceable and unreasonably prevented her from getting on with her career.

In rejecting her arguments, the Court noted that she was an experienced businesswoman who had entered into the contract with her eyes open. The covenant was reasonable and valid and there was no good reason for not enforcing it. She would thus have to wait until the expiry of the six-month period before taking up her new position. The company did not object to her performing a restricted training role for her new employer in the interim.

For further advice please contact Jade Linton on 0121 746 3300, email or fill in our online enquiry form

When you take out an insurance policy, it might seem tempting to minimise the risk insured against with a view to reducing the premium. However, one High Court case concerning a catastrophic property fire showed why absolute frankness is required.

The case concerned a five-storey mixed commercial and residential property that was so severely damaged by a fire that it had to be demolished. Its owners claimed a seven-figure sum from their insurers, but the latter refused to pay on the basis that various features of the property had been misrepresented to them.

When applying for the insurance, the owners had described the property as in good repair. However, the Court noted evidence that, amongst other things, many of its windows were broken or falling out and that its roof leaked. The owners’ assertions that the property did not have a flat roof and had not been subject to malicious acts of vandalism were also substantially incorrect.

In refusing to order the insurers to indemnify the owners for their loss, the Court noted that the latter had made no real effort to fairly represent the risk. Had they done so, the insurers would probably have declined cover. In the circumstances, the insurers were entitled to avoid the policy and tender the return of the premium.

For advice please contact Sundeep Bilkhu on 0121 698 2200, email or fill in our online enquiry form.


Come along to our HR forum and discuss topical employment issues

In a round table discussion, join with your fellow HR professionals from across the region.

Dispute Resolution

This month’s forum will consider the issues which may arise in connection with settling actual or potential employment disputes using settlement agreements or ACAS conciliation.

Let Jade Linton, Sydney Mitchell Employment Law Specialist, give you the opportunity to review
some recent case studies and host an active discussion. 

You will also receive a copy of the latest Sydney Mitchell Employment Law Update.

We are sure you will find this forum of interest. Book now to attend this FREE forum!

Please confirm your attendance by emailing Jade.

We do hope you can join us.

When: 29 June 2017

Time: 1.00 pm

Sydney Mitchell LLP
336 Stratford Road,
Solihull, B90 3DN


HR Forum - Sydney Mitchell

Estate planning really is essential, particularly if you own a company, and a failure to take professional advice can store up unforeseen trouble for your loved ones. The point could hardly have been more powerfully made than by one High Court case concerning a company that was plunged into crisis following its founder’s death.

The businessman owned all the shares in the company and was its sole director. His death had left the company entirely directionless, without directors or a company secretary to guide it. Its bank account had been frozen, leaving it unable to pay its staff or tax liabilities. In the circumstances, the executors of his estate launched emergency proceedings in order to save the business.

In upholding the executors’ application under Section 125 of the Companies Act 2006, the Court directed amendment of the register of companies so as to substitute the executors for the deceased as the holder of the latter’s shares. That in turn would enable them to pass a written resolution, appointing a director of the company who would be empowered to put it back on an even keel.

Such relief would normally have been granted only after the businessman’s will had been admitted to probate, but the Court recognised that the case was wholly exceptional. Given the company’s pending liabilities in respect of staff wages and a VAT demand, any delay could irreparably damage the business.

For further advice please contact Nicholas Bennett on 0121 746 3300, email or fill in our online enquiry form


If you suffer discrimination in the workplace you can be compensated for injury to your feelings as well as for your financial losses. A £12,000 award was made for injury to feelings in one striking case in which a woman was told that she was being made redundant on the same day that she put in a request for maternity leave.

The woman, who had a senior managerial role in a large company, was so upset and shocked on being told that she would lose her job that she had to go on sick leave, suffering from stress. In her absence, her bosses proactively looked for errors in her work and informed her that she faced disciplinary action. She ultimately resigned.

After she took legal advice and lodged a complaint, an Employment Tribunal (ET) found that she had been selected for redundancy because of her request for maternity leave and that the allegations of gross misconduct against her were unjustified and unsustainable. She had thus been constructively dismissed and had suffered unlawful discrimination based on her sex.

Following a further hearing, the ET noted that the circumstances of her departure from the company had resulted in a loss of confidence and mental health problems from which she took some time to recover. In the circumstances, the company was ordered to pay her a total of more than £42,000 in compensation, including the substantial award for injury to her feelings.

For further advice please contact Jade Linton on 0121 746 3300, email or fill in our online enquiry form

When shareholders have a disagreement, it can be particularly divisive where they do not have a controlling interest in the company concerned. However, as one Court of Appeal decision has recently shown, the outcome will usually depend on the interpretation of the company’s articles of association.

The case concerned two minority shareholders who between them owned 22 per cent of each of two cosmetics companies within the same very successful group. None of the shareholders owned 50 per cent or more of either of the companies. Following the deterioration of relations between certain shareholders, the minority shareholders gave notice to the others that they wished to dispose of their holdings.

The two companies’ articles of association were identical, and contained pre-emption clauses which specified the mechanism for the other main shareholders to acquire the 22 per cent block and also the method of valuation of any shares.  The clauses provided, amongst other things, that the shares could be acquired at a “prescribed price” that would be determined by two independent accountants, if not agreed.

No such agreement was reached, and an issue arose as to how the “prescribed price” would be valued by the accountants.  In particular, the minority shareholders argued that the shares should be valued on the basis of a pro rata proportion of the value of the whole equity of each company.  The other shareholders preferred to value the minority shareholders’ shares, by taking into account the minority status of the shares. 

In the High Court, the judge had found that the shares should be valued in accordance with the minority shareholders’ argument.  This method of valuation produced a much higher value for the shares, and the other shareholders appealed the decision.  In dismissing the appeal, the Court of Appeal could find no flaw in the High Court judge’s careful and thorough interpretation of the pre-emption clauses.

The lesson to be learned from this case, is that founders of companies and majority shareholders, should have a Shareholders’ Agreement, and regularly consider the pre-emption rights in the company’s Articles of Association - especially before granting any minority shareholdings to valued employees.  

For further information, please contact Suzanna Patalong on 0121 698 2200 or or complete our online enquiry form.

Family partnerships can be highly effective vehicles for running businesses, but that depends on good relations being maintained. In one High Court case in which ties of blood were sadly not enough to prevent discord, a father and son engaged in a bitter dispute over ownership of a hotel and campsite.

The father ran the business in partnership with his son and daughter-in-law. After a breakdown in relations, they agreed that the partnership had been dissolved, that its affairs should be wound up by a receiver and that its assets and liabilities should be divided between them.

The father and son were, on paper, equal joint tenants of the property which formed the main asset of the partnership. However, the father argued that this did not reflect the true position and that he was the beneficial owner of 80 per cent of the property. He launched proceedings seeking a declaration to that effect.

Ruling against him, however, the Court compared his thoroughly unreliable evidence with the convincing testimony of his son. Even if the father had contributed more to the property’s purchase price, it had been agreed between them at the outset that they would hold it in equal shares. The son had entered into the transaction on the faith of that agreement.

For any further advice, please contact Kamal Majevadia 0121 746 3300 email, or fill in our online enquiry form.

Covenants restricting the use of land commonly appear on title deeds, but they often date back many years and take no account of changing circumstances. A tribunal’s ruling, however, has shown that they are not written in stone and can be amended to ensure that scarce land supplies, particularly for housing, are put to good use.

The owners of a detached house, set in about three-quarters of an acre of grounds, had obtained planning permission to demolish a large indoor swimming pool and replace it with a new home. The property was part of an estate that was subject to a restrictive covenant dated 1963. The covenant forbade construction of more than one house on each of the original building plots that made up the estate.

Several of the owners’ neighbours objected to their plans. However, in amending the covenant so as to enable the development to go ahead, the Upper Tribunal found that the proposals represented a reasonable use of the site. Although the new house might just be visible from some neighbouring homes, it would have no substantial impact on their value. Impeding the development would bring no practical benefits of substantial value and advantage to the objectors.

For advice please contact Sundeep Bilkhu on 0121 698 2200, email or fill in our online enquiry form.

Before accepting an employee’s resignation, it is crucially important to be certain that resignation is their true intention. In one case, an Employment Tribunal (ET) found that a letter in which an employee asked her manager to ‘please accept one month’s notice’ was ambiguous and did not amount to a resignation.

The employee, who was employed by an NHS Trust, was not happy in the department in which she worked and had received a conditional offer of a transfer to another department.  Following an upsetting incident she handed the brief letter to her manager. The transfer offer was subsequently withdrawn in view of her record of sickness absence and her employment with the Trust was terminated after the manager purported to accept her resignation.

In upholding her unfair dismissal claim, the ET found that, taken in context, the letter was not a clear and unambiguous expression of a wish to resign her employment with the Trust. The probability was that the manager had not understood it as such and that the employee had only intended to give notice of her wish to leave the department. The amount of her compensation remains to be assessed.

For further advice please contact Jade Linton on 0121 746 3300, email or fill in our online enquiry form


Lexcel Practice Management Standard Birmingham Law Firm of the Year for 2011 Resolution Collaborative Family Lawyer The Law Society Accredited in Family Law UK Legal 500 2016 Conveyancing Quality Scheme
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