The Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA) today took action over the financial problems at the Metamorph Group by closing down four of the firms in its network.
It has intervened in MLL Ltd and Beaumont ABS – both of which have been made subject to winding-up orders in recent weeks – as well as BPL Solicitors and Atray Ltd.
MLL trades through Terry Jones Solicitors, Linder Myers, Donnelley & Elliot, SLC Solicitors, Verisona Law, Beaumont Solicitors and RJW Legal.
BPL is Metamorph’s conveyancing arm, which operates through the same firms, except RJW Legal.
Beaumont ABS’s business was recently transferred to Knowles Benning, another group firm, while Atray (formerly Metamorph Law Ltd) is dormant after its operations were transferred to MLL in 2019.
According to a notice on the various websites, MLL and BPL are completing a “managed wind down”, with their client work being transferred to Knowles Benning, which will operate as the successor practice.
The SRA said the interventions were necessary “to protect the interest of clients and former clients of those firms”. It has appointed John Owen of Yorkshire firm Gordons as the intervention agent.
In addition to Bedfordshire firm Knowles Benning, Metamorph owns four other firms which are not subject to the intervention: Parrot & Coales in Aylesbury, Eastleigh firm Knight Polson, Browns Solicitors in Buckinghamshire, and Southampton-based Beeston Edwards.
Metamorph executive chairman Tony Stockdale last week resigned as a director of Knowles Benning, having previously resigned as a director of the other firms at the start of November.
He remains a director of Metamorph Group Ltd, however, having been reappointed three weeks after resigning.
Companies House has also recorded three resignations of Knowles Benning directors this week: Antonio Fallanca, the head of wills, trusts and probate; Kate Smith, head of crime; and Stephen Atkins, head of residential and commercial property.
The regulator said in a statement: “The SRA will now investigate further the issues raised that have led to this intervention to see if any additional action is necessary. At this stage of the SRA’s work, no further details can be disclosed.
“It is only if further action become necessary that any information is released into the public domain. There is no timescale for how long this work will take.”
Beaumont ABS’s liquidators recently revealed that it owed creditors £2.3m.
At the start of this month, marketing network QualitySolicitors left the Metamorph group following a management buy-out.