AIM Director Due Diligence
Neil Miller, Founder at TenIntelligence was recently quoted in the Daily Telegraph Business section outlining the importance of director due diligence for AIM listed companies.
The firm Purplebricks has been forced to delay the appointment of its new boss as advisers examine the implications of a previous personal insolvency that has not been disclosed to shareholders. The online estate agent announced that Helena Marston was unable to take charge as chief executive on Monday as planned because due diligence checks are not yet finished.
It did not disclose the reasons for the hold-up, but sources said that concerns are focused on the fact Mrs Marston was declared bankrupt under her maiden name of Epplestone in September 2014.
The former personal insolvency was declared to Zeus as part of a questionnaire that Mrs Marston filled in when she was appointed. Her bankruptcy has been discharged.
Sources said there was an internal discussion about whether it should also be revealed to investors in a stock market notice on March 10 that announced her appointment. The details were included in a draft version of this announcement but then removed.
Neil Miller, chief executive of due diligence firm TenIntelligence, said that Mrs Marston’s credentials would have to be checked carefully as part of the appointment process.
He said: “Before any individual can be appointed to the board of an AIM listed company, the nominated advisor will need to complete their director due diligence. As part of this process the individual will need to submit, answer and disclose a Directors Questionnaire.
“Questions will give the individual the opportunity to include whether the individual has ever been subject to court cases, litigation, criminal records, disciplinary investigations and insolvency.
“Any adverse findings, unexplained gaps in their history or other red flags, have to be challenged as part of the judgement process before appointing the individual.”
Mrs Marston had served as chief operating officer under previous chief executive Vic Darvey, who resigned in March for personal reasons. She was not on the board in this role.
It is not the first time that Purplebricks has faced controversy. The company was fined £267,000 by HMRC in 2020 for violating anti-money laundering rules.
Purplebricks said: “Further to the announcement on 10 March 2022 relating to the appointment of Helena Marston as chief executive officer of the company, the company announces that due diligence checks required by the AIM rules are ongoing and therefore Helena’s appointment remains subject to completion of these checks.
“A further announcement will be made a soon as possible.”
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