Rescued John Charcol to take on 20 advisers

Robert Sinclair, Good thing that brand was saved

John Charcol, which was bought out of administration last week, has revealed it is looking to recruit up to 20 mortgage advisers by the end of the year.

The brokerage was rescued by Towergate Financial from its administrator Grant Thornton on Monday evening.

A spokesman for John Charcol says: “We are looking to recruit 20 consultants by the end of the year. We took on three brokers in January and five in November and December. On a day-to-day basis we are receiving more mortgage enquires than we can cope with.”

In 2008 the brokerage made a number of redundancies after it relocated its Brighton office to London. This was followed by a cut in advisers’ basic salary in July 2009.

Towergate has not revealed how much it paid for the brokerage but is rumoured to have beaten a rival bid from Jon Moulton’s investment vehicle Better Capital.

John Charcol reported debts of £7m in its last published accounts but Towergate has not confirmed it bought all the firm’s liabilities as part of the deal.

Robert Sinclair, director at the Association of Mortgage Intermediaries, says any negatives associated with the deal are outweighed by the need to retain the well-known brand.

He says: “The John Charcol brand has a great resonance with consumers. At a time when confidence is fragile in the housing and mortgage markets it would not have been good to see it fold.

“It would be similar to what happened when Woolworths went under – it would knock confidence.”

The integrated business means that John Charcol chief executive officer John Garfield will work closely with Towergate CEO Ian Darby to grow the business alongside his current management team.

Darby was app-ointed CEO of Towergate in October 2008 having spent 16 years at John Charcol and becoming its chairman following the Bradford & Bingley buyout in 2004.

Darby says: “John Charcol is an incredibly strong brand in the mortgage market, built over many years and based on top quality advisers and great advice. We have a great opportunity to offer financial planning and insurance solutions to its clients and it can help ours too.”