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Shoosmiths spins debt practice into joint venture ABS

Boss: Recoveries is a distinct business area

National law firm Shoosmiths has spun its debt recovery practice into an alternative business structure (ABS) joint venture with collections, recoveries and enforcement company Chartsbridge.

Equivo is a dedicated recoveries business majority owned by Shoosmiths and says it is the first multi-disciplinary recoveries solution providing an end-to-end service.

Some 182 Shoosmiths staff are transferring to Equivo under TUPE and there have been no compulsory redundancies. Shoosmiths would not confirm how many staff Chartsbridge was bringing to the venture.

Shoosmiths has two seats on the Equivo board, filled by partners Mel Chell and Stuart Little, head of its business advisory division.

The company is authorised and regulated by both the Solicitors Regulation Authority and the Financial Conduct Authority, and is authorised by the Ministry of Justice to carry out High Court enforcement activity.

Equivo has three main divisions: legal, collections and field, and enforcement, “covering all disciplines within the recoveries lifecycle within a single company structure”.

Chartsbridge founder John Ingram is Equivo’s chief executive, while Jim Taylor has joined as managing director of the legal division after 24 years at Shoosmiths. Ms Chell is doubling up as Equivo’s director of client experience and culture.

Former Shoosmiths partners Lisa Keating and Sean Adams have also moved over to continue running the consumer finance litigation and recoveries function.

Jonathan Chatfield, formerly of Marston Holdings, has been appointed managing director of the enforcement division.

Shoosmiths’ chief executive Simon Boss said: “Recoveries is a distinct business area, requiring particular and unique skills and systems.

“Equivo will drive continued investment and development in this business whilst at the same time, Shoosmiths will continue to focus on building its UK leading financial services group.”

Mr Ingram added: “By entering into this venture with Shoosmiths, the new combined Equivo business is now able to offer a complete ‘one-stop shop’ end-to-end and highly tech-enabled service to our clients, and this is something that no one else in the market can currently offer.

“There is no doubt that this business will bring increased industry expertise to our clients and enhanced opportunities to work on digital solutions providing both efficient and compliant approaches to engage with customers in a post-Covid/digital world with our specialist tech teams.”