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Home of Choice in acquisition talks

Home of Choice is in final negotiations with an investor to acquire the business.

Rumours are rife that Keith Carby, former chief executive of Openwork, is looking to buy the mortgage network and incorporate it into his IFA business Foster Denovo.

This has required a change of control notification to the FSA which was approved last week. 

During this time the network has been unable to process the BACS payment files in the usual way, and as a result brokers and staff were not paid last Friday.

Following discussions with all parties, including the bank and the investor, the network says it fully expected to be able to arrange payments to staff and brokers this morning.

However, due to the complexities of deal, this has not been possible and is now likely to be delayed for another couple of days.

Gerry O’Brien, chief executive of Home of Choice, says: “I am hugely disappointed that these payments have not taken place as expected. We are in urgent discussion with all concerned and will make a further announcement as soon as possible.

“Our overriding wish is for brokers and staff to be paid what is owed to them and we will endeavor to bring this to a swift conclusion.”

A further announcement is expected to be made this afternoon.

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  • Andy Mills 29th April 2010 at 10:02 pm

    I have to say I stopped trusting HOC about 3 years ago when Richard & Gerry sold our company down the river…Feel sorry for you AR’s but the directors of that company DO NOT DO WHAT THEY SAY…They are out for themselves…Always have been & always will be…I think there is a saying that goes something like this…”What goes around, Comes around”.
    We have been waiting for this moment…It has arrived, so to Gerry,Richard,Simon & all the other cronies on the board…Good things happen to people who keep to their word…As for you guys, it couldn’t have happened to nicer people!!!!

  • Alan Simpson 29th April 2010 at 11:28 am

    HoC have just announced that they have today gone into administration. No staff salaries paid, all brokers’ commissions bagged by HoC – not a penny paid to the brokers who brought in the business. 3 months ago the directors were banging the drum about how they were financially secure – surely they knew this was a lie?

  • Paul Allen 27th April 2010 at 11:07 pm

    I was an AR with HOC for a couple of years and always found Richard & Gerry to be very passionate and focussed on the industry and on their advisers. I only left to join Intrinsic to expand into financial planning. HOC were always a great mortgage/prot network and if they are moving to a wider platform to allow advisers to diversify this will be a great move for all concerned. I sincerely hope it all works out cos you don’t come across many people as fired up as Richard & Gerry and their enthusiasm helps fire up the AR’s. Good Luck HOC

  • Tony Hughes 27th April 2010 at 9:26 pm

    Beware the spin around cash flow this Company is in serious trouble with a business model that is fundamentally flawed .
    Why on earth would Keith Carby and Foster Denovo want to invest in a dead duck ???

  • NOT KNOWN 27th April 2010 at 7:09 pm

    I hope doesn’t turn out to be a network data situation. This has had a domino effect on many people and i hope it gets resolved soon as people have bills to pay!!!!

  • Poorer but wiser 27th April 2010 at 4:53 pm

    Nearly 5pm on Tuesday and still no word of clarification. Gerry, Richard where is our money? Hope it`s` not going in the pocket of the waiter at Claridges or in your own paycheck. Perhaps someone from the wages dept at HoC might like to let us know anon what the real situation is.
    Giving it large at the ra ra meetings is one thing paying your dues is another. I hope that smell is the nearby cattle farm and not a repeat of the same B.S. weve heard from so many other ex directors of now defunct broker networks. One thing for sure, lack of communication has done you lasting damage. I do hope for all our sakes that the money owed gets paid.

  • HOC AR 27th April 2010 at 2:51 pm

    Dear all,
    Just found an interesting article relating to a change in director details at Home of Choice Group ltd, and Home of Choice ltd effective 16/4/2010.
    In the process of getting the exact detail and information, this will give all a more accurate picture of what is taking place.

  • HOC AR 27th April 2010 at 1:54 pm

    The actual value of a company is not important it is its liquidity that is its life blood, now we all know that the banks will not lend money to businesses as they much prefer to use our money to wipe off their bad debts. The bank that holds HOC’s overdraft rummoured to be in excess of 3 million, might think that by killing off another network they will increase the footfall through their banking networks.

  • anonymouse 27th April 2010 at 1:38 pm

    Keith stood up on convention in Oman and told all and sundry Openwork was on target for a value of one billion.

    Home of choice must be worth nearer two now.

  • Steve Davis 27th April 2010 at 1:11 pm

    Agree with last comment – what is there to sell, if this goes on any longer there will be no brokers left. Tell us the truth immediately and let us move on asap.

  • HOC AR 27th April 2010 at 12:08 pm

    Some interesting comments appearing.
    We all support HOC, but come on lets not forget it is brokers money that isn’t being paid.
    For Home of Choice to exist requires mutual respect, respect that has now gone out of the window due to lack of care, and duty, to staff and associates.

    Don’t be fooled by the smokescreen,
    there is no reason the BACS payment cannot be made, other than there are insufficient funds available, or the bank/creditor now has control of the business.

    If, as claimed, the FSA have granted “change of control”, then i am almost certain they would never in a million years grant permission for takeover/merger to take place, and make allowance in the detail that it is ok that staff do not get paid when due. Let’s not forget the FSA watch every move HOC make.

    DO NOT be fooled by the smokescreen.

    Money will now only be paid, if and when an investor is found to inject funds, or the bank grant extension to banking facilities.

  • HOC AR 27th April 2010 at 11:47 am

    As I said on a previous comment. Come on Gerry we are not mushrooms.
    At one of the roadshoews earlier this year HOC were looking to buy a competitor, and now they are looking to sell.
    My advice to other AR’ s make a few calls and protect yourself and your buisness, as your local bank will not

  • HOC AR 27th April 2010 at 11:46 am

    As I said on a previous comment. Come on Gerry we are not mushrooms.
    At one of the roadshoews earlier this year HOC were looking to buy a competitor, and now they are looking to sell.
    My advice to other AR’ s make a few calls and protect yourself and your buisness, as your local bank will not

  • HOC AR 27th April 2010 at 11:32 am

    just had the new announcement, if you thought it was squeaky bum time yesterday,just look at the phrase”I cannot give you a definite day for payment into your account at this time”, i sugest that you take a copy of the announcement and show it to your bank manager and tell him/her that you do not know when you can pay your mortgage!!!!!

  • Kieran Byrne 27th April 2010 at 11:28 am

    TELL me… Have you ever had a mortgage deal go pear shaped at the last minute?

    OK.. we know something is going on. GIVE THE MEN SOME BREATHING SPACE. I am sure we all have had thigs happen which are outside our control. I suspect the reason that nothing is being said is that the smallest word will be analysed to death by other networks keen to approach us and the financial press. Just keep writing business and all will hopefully work out well. These are good guys and remember that this is their lively hood that they have built up. Personally i wish them well and will stand by them as they stood by me. I am NOT considering moving..

  • AR of Home of Choice 27th April 2010 at 11:01 am

    Well, the further communication has just come out via email and it tells us ABSOLUTELY NOTHING! HOC have given us no further information from yesterday. All I wanted to see on that communication was an acknowledgement that HOC were not in difficulties and that hasn’t happened.

    That is proof enough for me that HOC are going under. HOC have breached their contract by not paying us and now they are attempting to string us along. I reckon it’s time to move on.

  • Keyser Soze 27th April 2010 at 10:53 am

    I’ve been a HOC member for 3 years, and am deeply concerned about this sudden development. Last Friday the company emailed us to say they’d had a hiccup with the BACS system and that we’d all be receiving OUR commission payments on Monday instead. Total cobblers. It’s plainly obvious they’ve run out of money or the bank’s pulled their overdraft facility.

    The most worrying thing is that they lied to us last Friday – why didn’t they just tell the truth instead of hiding behind this BACS nonsense? We all have obligations to meet and if HOC are taking our money down with them then we need time to make alternative arrangements.

    HOC would pontificate smugly in the event of one of its brokers failing to meet his/her obligations, now that the boot’s on the other foot then they choose to feed us half truths and feeble lies

    Adios, HOC, pastures new here we come…

  • Broker 27th April 2010 at 10:15 am

    It also came to light yesterday that the major GI provider hasn’t paid commission to HOC this week, worrying signs indeed

  • Hoc AR 27th April 2010 at 10:03 am

    Just had a look at the hoc mission statement – these people clearly are bull*hitters:
    • Maintaining a culture of honesty and integrity
    • Respect – for our colleagues
    Bull*shit
    Anyone who’s on here supporting them needs to wake up! They’re sh*tting on you as you’re kissing they’re a*ses

  • Metal Mickey 27th April 2010 at 10:02 am

    Ever feel like you’ve been cheated?

  • Richard 27th April 2010 at 10:02 am

    Just had a look at the hoc mission statement – these people clearly are bull*hitters:
    • Maintaining a culture of honesty and integrity
    • Respect – for our colleagues
    Bull*shit
    Anyone who’s on here supporting them needs to wake up! They’re sh*tting on you as you’re kissing they’re a*ses

  • Metal Mickey 27th April 2010 at 10:00 am

    Home of Choice = Home of Chumps

  • Smithy 27th April 2010 at 9:36 am

    What goes around comes around. O’Brien is a thug who lives in the last century. He has criticised his competitors and sold his soul to the product providers, agreeing single tie deals for cash. Choice…..I don’t think so.

  • AR of Home of Choice 27th April 2010 at 9:17 am

    I was told that there would be a further annoucement yesterday afternoon and this article also states that but nothing materialised. This is a very worrying sign.

    Come on Home of Choice, let us know what is happening. This is really damaging as the the longer this goes on the more people will draw their own conclusions and looking at the evidence so far (no commission paid, a smoke screen story to explain it, and no further info forthcoming) those conclusions are going to be very negative.

    Even if Home of Choice aren’t finished I can still see a lot of brokers leaving because of the way this has been handled. I strongly suspect they are finished though. Why else would you not pay commission and salaries?

  • ronald fisher 27th April 2010 at 9:13 am

    Has anybody looked at the accounts to see the constant drip of selfish executives in making sure their own pockets are fully lined?

  • Geoff Edwards 26th April 2010 at 9:10 pm

    Not looking good. I stuck with Mortgage Times for too long and lost thousands. Start looking for a new network home now.

  • mickey mouse 26th April 2010 at 8:40 pm

    so finally HOC has proved the issue with money and profit and that the model is proven that it wont work in the “new world”….. Looks like you are off to Foster Denovo which would not be a bad move as its full IFA but if Gerry or Richard are reading this a tip….you need to pay the brokers or there wont be a network to sell and Keith would have waisted his money…..

  • Kathy Owen 26th April 2010 at 8:19 pm

    I have publicly documented my ongoing support for HOC and think that it is a super network, and still standby this.
    I am, like many brokers I have spoken to today, a little bit concerned by the lack of correspondence from the guys in the know and the change of story from the reason we were given on Friday for the BACS not running to the enlightenment of a takeover today. I still don’t get what takeovers and pay runs have got to do with each other!
    All of the AR’s phones have been red hot while we have all been discussing it with each other. Come on guys give us a bit more info, please give us the re-assurance that we all so desperately want. None of us want to leave but the longer there is this silence and ‘business as usual’ smoke screens the more inclined we are to get a plan B together.
    Unfortunately for HOC it doesn’t take alot to make us a bit twitchy as we regularly see in the news about other networks being shaky. I really feel for the AR’s that have come across from ND as this can only make them very nervous. Please don’t let HOC be another one to bite the dust.
    Forever hopeful.

  • Chris 26th April 2010 at 7:56 pm

    In this situation,HOC has failed in its duties by not paying brokers and staff on time.This is not a caring attitude.It has also displayed disregard for TCF and transparency.
    Fact is no money in pockets-No payments.

  • John Fillingham 26th April 2010 at 7:38 pm

    I would like to add firstly that i believe Home of Choice are a very good network to be associated with, very forward thinking and focused on adding value to a business.

    However, why Mr O’Brien is in talks with the bank, amongst others, re the BACS payments is beyond me.

    If Mr O’Brien asked the bank to pay the monies by BACS they would, unless he has neither the authority nor funds to do so. The bank have no further interest in the BACS transaction.

    I do not recall HBOS staff & associates being paid late when they received “investment” from Lloyds Banking Group, a merger far more complex in size and detail, than any deal Home Of Choice is likely to be involved in.

    Also, the way Home Of Choice’s internal communication has dealt in this matter is sadly lacking from an organisation who claim to be customer and broker focused.

  • Darren Pescod 26th April 2010 at 7:07 pm

    I am an AR of HoC and once again they have let themselves down with their communication skills. They have been a great network in the past, hopefully with a few structural changes they will be a great one in the future. How many times do they need to be told to communicate with their AR’s instead of sending everyone in a panic with a rather poorley worded e mail. A few calls to your Top 20 accounts wouldn’t have gone a miss!

  • Darren Pescod 26th April 2010 at 5:51 pm

    I am an AR of HoC and once again they have let themselves down with their communication skills. They have been a great network in the past, hopefully with a few structural changes they will be a great one in the future. How many times do they need to be told to communicate with their AR’s instead of sending everyone in a panic with a rather poorley worded e mail. A few calls to your Top 20 accounts wouldn’t have gone a miss!

  • Ann Marie 26th April 2010 at 5:22 pm

    As per previous replies HOC are a good network as far as networks go and also the support is generally good, I have meet with Gerry on a few occassions, always seemed decent enough, so for him to say this is quite strange. Come on Gerry the AR’s are not mushroom’s

  • Steve 26th April 2010 at 5:01 pm

    Heard it all before with ND & MT, start the moving process now.

  • Concerned HOC Broker 26th April 2010 at 4:43 pm

    If it is the case that HOC are being taken over I can’t see how that is relative to them paying us brokers our commission. It’s total nonsense about the BACHS system. There is more to this. The way this whole thing has been handled stinks. There is more to come out and HOC are stringing us along to try and keep us all on board.

    I hope HOC comes out of this ok because even if the story that they are putting out is true (and I doubt it) the way this is being handled is terrible. Surely the management can’t expect any other reaction from brokers and staff other than panic. When a company stops paying what it owes it usually signals the end and people are right to be concerned and take action.

  • Gary Darcy 26th April 2010 at 4:23 pm

    To the anonymous poster, I would like to point out that i do not claim to be an AR of home of choice in my post

    I am just an interested observer

  • Peter Wheeler 26th April 2010 at 4:17 pm

    Have to say I agree with some of the other comments that suggest HoC is in serious trouble. A shame for them and for the industry I think. I believe they are good people and it seemed like they had ‘weathered the storm’ but it was always hard to see where the money was going to come from long-term.

  • broker 26th April 2010 at 4:08 pm

    I have worked at 3 different networks over the past 8years.
    Im current at home of choice, home of choice is by far the best ive have been associated with, the support and general running of the business has been second to none. I have heard that Mr Carby is coming on board to help run and set up the IFA arm of the business, which will make the proposition of hoc even better. A few people have said there off on this site, however if you look up there names on the extranet they have never even put business into hoc. Maybe there just trying to scare people? Maybe there not even from hoc?

  • Anonymous 26th April 2010 at 4:08 pm

    For those of you reading the comments of Mr G Darcy and Mr Freadman, neither of these ‘gentleman’ are in fact AR’s of Home of Choice.

    Nice try chaps, but failed at the first hurdle.

  • broker 26th April 2010 at 4:07 pm

    I have worked at 3 different networks over the past 8years.
    Im current at home of choice, home of choice is by far the best ive have been associated with, the support and general running of the business has been second to none. I have heard that Mr Carby is coming on board to help run and set up the IFA arm of the business, which will make the proposition of hoc even better. A few people have said there off on this site, however if you look up there names on the extranet they have never even put business into hoc. Maybe there just trying to scare people? Maybe there not even from hoc?

  • Broker 26th April 2010 at 3:49 pm

    Everyone should be concerned. What about other networks? HOC made a profit last year, where has the money gone?

  • Matt Palmer 26th April 2010 at 3:45 pm

    People are not getting paid and hardly require scaring any further!

    My understanding is that HOC was launched on massive debt, which has grown in the last 3 years and currently has a negative balance sheet and hasn’t ever made a profit

    Hardly surprising nor do i believe the comments above are scaremongering!

    Networks are a model for the 80’s and 90’s and its 2010

    Modern business model for a modern world

  • john higgins 26th April 2010 at 3:42 pm

    i just hope all the staff and brokers get paid as this is exactly what happened with Network Data.

  • Broker 26th April 2010 at 3:42 pm

    Sorry but the email sent to us today by the CEO was not you would expect from one so esteemed,he is the scare mongerer we have mortgages to pay so where is our hard earned commission? No smoke without fire seen this before! Buying time are they?

  • Simon Freadman 26th April 2010 at 3:41 pm

    I am also an AR of HOC. I have been to all road shows and either though we could see in the accounts a 3 million pound overdraft I was told all is ok.

    I also have obligations to my staff and family. One missed payment is aenough. I am not waiting for them to be rescued. I am also off

  • Gary Darcy 26th April 2010 at 3:41 pm

    All the networks that have gone bust (Prestbury, Network Data, Mortgage Times) recently have a few things in common. 1. They are all networks! as said previously in the thread the business model is flawed in the current market. 2. They were focused only on the Mortgage Market and hadn’t diversified into wider financial services. 3. They did not have scale i.e. less than 1000 advisers. 4. Negative balance sheets and debt ridden. Need to move with the times, and look forward, not back, if you are an AR with HOC you need to be considering your position and looking at the business model not just jumping from one AR proposition to another as history will just repeat itself until the model dies out, survival of the fittest!

    Modern times call for a modern business. Networks are yesterdays pizza.

  • Gary Darcy 26th April 2010 at 3:40 pm

    All the networks that have gone bust (Prestbury, Network Data, Mortgage Times) recently have a few things in common. 1. They are all networks! as said previously in the thread the business model is flawed in the current market. 2. They were focused only on the Mortgage Market and hadn’t diversified into wider financial services. 3. They did not have scale i.e. less than 1000 advisers. 4. Negative balance sheets and debt ridden. Need to move with the times, and look forward, not back, if you are an AR with HOC you need to be considering your position and looking at the business model not just jumping from one AR proposition to another as history will just repeat itself until the model dies out, survival of the fittest!

    Modern times call for a modern business. Networks are yesterdays pizza.

  • Gerald King 26th April 2010 at 3:35 pm

    I am an AR of HOC and very worried. My charges have been going up, the contract getting tighter in HOC favour. Now they have missed a payment. What next. How can the Directors carry on running a network,look at all the other mortgage networks, time to leave..

  • Irena Zwanik 26th April 2010 at 3:35 pm

    I am an employee of Home of Choice and as far as I am concerned this is fantastic news. Stop scaremongering and wait until all the legals are sorted out then we’ll see that this for what it is – a storm in a teacup.

  • Gerald King 26th April 2010 at 3:35 pm

    I am an AR of HOC and very worried. My charges have been going up, the contract getting tighter in HOC favour. Now they have missed a payment. What next. How can the Directors carry on running a network,look at all the other mortgage networks, time to leave..

  • Very Unhappy HOC AR 26th April 2010 at 3:18 pm

    Hoc has mislead us all. They cannot be as good as they say they are as they are obviously going bust and being rescued, the last throw of a dying organisation.
    I have stopped submitting business and am moving away now.

  • Ex Mortgage Times 26th April 2010 at 3:16 pm

    Don’t waste time (I did) start talking to other networks now.

  • Gary Darcy 26th April 2010 at 3:03 pm

    If i was a HOC broker i’d be looking at my options right now

    Too many times has history repeated in this case and too many times its been brokers money thats gone down with the ship!

    Nearly joined these guys earlier in the year, glad I changed my mind now!

  • s martin 26th April 2010 at 2:58 pm

    Any company who puts all their efforts into protection business will have a problem at sometime.The business model is flawed!!

  • Gerard Mc Geown 26th April 2010 at 2:54 pm

    We all here at Orchard stand by HOC and like all businesses they may be experiencing problems. My motto is stay CALM

  • Tom 26th April 2010 at 2:51 pm

    I hope that this isn’t going to become another ND / MT scenario.

    Sadly, I think that many people will already be chasing other networks though I do hope HoC survive as they are one of the better networks around.

  • Wally 26th April 2010 at 2:47 pm

    I hope that HOC are ok, I really do but I can’t help but think that they are not though. I don’t understand what the acquisition talks have got to do with paying of commissions and salaries via the bachs system. It sounds like a smoke screen to me. There’s only ever one reason why a company can’t pay out and that’s because it hasn’t got any money!

  • HOC AR 26th April 2010 at 2:44 pm

    This is Network Data / Mortgage Times all over again. I am already talking to other networks.

  • Chris Hulme 26th April 2010 at 2:43 pm

    I raised my concerns with HoC over financial viability of HoC earlier this year in respct of payments and changes to the way brokers were paid and was reassured that there were no such issues of liquidity.
    I have been comforted by HoC that they are progressive and forward thinking enough to have learned from Network Data although such news still causes concern.
    I have staff and bills to pay – will I get paid at all this week? or should I myself learn from Network Data and request that the providers now pay me directly?

  • simon graham 26th April 2010 at 2:43 pm

    I’m afraid this is looking like another Network Data situation.

    The company is basically broke.

  • Susan Smith 26th April 2010 at 2:40 pm

    What fantastic news !! If Keith Carby is getting involved with Home Of Choice this can only be a good thing especially form the investment/pension growth of the business – he has a fabulous reputation and many years of experience we will all benefit from

  • Whitley Bay Scouser 26th April 2010 at 2:20 pm

    Network Data, Mortgage Times and now HOC. The same tired old excuses and issues. Lets be honest the bank is empty and the cashflow is too far south to pay advisors their commission. If you are an AR be sensible look for a new home !

  • James Lindon-Travers 26th April 2010 at 2:14 pm

    A business that picked up the nickname ‘House of Cards’ from the start –
    not a big surprise to anyone!

  • Kieran Byrne 26th April 2010 at 2:11 pm

    My view is that the guys who run the business DO know what they are doing.

    We are all self employed had have had business cashflow hiccups. H O C is a company who does think outside the box.I have been with them 2 years and am WELL pleased with how I have been treated so I vote for giving the guys the benefit of the doubt.

  • john higgins 26th April 2010 at 2:10 pm

    This is another Network Data and the staff and brokers should be protected immediately.

  • Tim nice but Dim 26th April 2010 at 1:58 pm

    Sounds like another collapse of a network that is trying to be salvaged by Carby.

    Why would ANY company want to take on the declinine profession of mortgage brokers – dual pricing, direct only deals and poorer rates and fewer lenders for intermediaries?

    Good luck to all….time to check the latest accounts at Companies House…

  • jgraham 26th April 2010 at 1:57 pm

    Another mortgage Network bites the dust.

    You only have to look at their last 2 years accounts to see they have been in huge trouble from a long time ago – unless you were one of their well paid directors of course.

    Only the Paymentshield contract sell off money got them through last year.

    I’m amazed anyone is still surprised at these headlines.

    Why would anyone be in a mortgage Network after watching the last 18 months debacles?

  • Roland Millward 26th April 2010 at 1:29 pm

    I do hope that this is not going to be another Network Data Ltd. situation.

  • john higgins 26th April 2010 at 1:14 pm

    what a load of rubbish. The only reason staff are not paid is because the company has no money. If the company cant process BACS then pay the staff by cheque. The headline should be ‘Home of Choice in Survival Talks’. i really hope HOC survive as i have been a fan of their network since day one, but don’t be naive they are struggling for survival.

  • Steve Laing 26th April 2010 at 12:45 pm

    Here we go – yet another Network with excuses for non-payment of commissions to brokers.

  • Trevor Johnston 26th April 2010 at 12:42 pm

    I would suggest all brokers jump ship now. Remember other Networks and previous excuses for non payment of commission. Consider Tenet Lime!!