Manchester, United Kingdom
Alison has truly been the driving force behind not only the growth of one of berg’s unique product areas, but also the national profile of berg. Alison has contributed thought leadership and expertise on national business and financial issues and has provided insight and challenge, whilst raising awareness of critical legal and business issues for thousands of businesses.
Alison leads the firms work in financial regulation and mis-selling by the banks including interest rate swaps, tailored business loans, GRG and banking disputes generally. Her work on the berg Banking Report 2013, 2014 and 2015, submissions to the Treasury Select Committee and various independent investigations have championed complex issues nationally, to the benefit of individuals and businesses.
Aside from banking and financial disputes, Alison also has a particular interest in shareholder disputes and is able to assess the position from the point of of view of shareholders, directors and employees. It was this which led to Alison setting up the firms employment department which is nationally recognised for it’s expertise.
Alison provides advice on a full range of employment issues from negotiating severance pay for senior executives to implementing complex bonus/incentive pay and restricted convenants and effecting revisions. Alison adopts a highly commercial problem solving approach which takes account of personal and business objectives.
Alison has built up a significant practice dealing with senior executives both in terms of recruitment (salaries, bonuses, share options) and also negotiating their severance terms. This contrasts well with regular advisory work to employers and increasingly the rising group of self employed entrepreneurs.
Joined as trainee. Currently Chief Executive
Alison joined berg as a trainee solicitor in 1990 and has developed her career at the firm becoming Managing Director in 2007 and Chief Executive in January 2016. In addition to managing the firm through a significant period of change and growth, Alison has become a nationally recognised expert in banking and financial dispute issues and is regularly invited for media comment on national news. She is also an accomplished employment lawyer tackling cases from complex incentive pay to high court confidentiality injunctions and restructuring programmes. Alison’s main interest is in business and people and helping individuals and businesses tackle the challenges they face and make the most of the opportunities. Other key interests include science and technology, alternative finance, education and healthcare.
Aliso led on the case of London & West Country Estates which transformed the outlook for thousands of businesses forced into insolvency and who were unable to challenge their bank (or other third parties) as a result of the unwillingness to act against the banks by the administrative receivers and/or liquidators.
Alison also leads on the ongoing case of Mid City Estates pursuing claims of mis-sold loands from both Natwest and Lloyds.
1989 - 1990
Solicitors Final Exam
1985 - 1989
BA Hons Pyschology & Law
“Alison Loveday advised me on how to exit my role as CEO of a plc. Alison found a way that worked for my board, our stakeholders and for me. It was a delicate situation that Alison navigated deftly, She was aware of the many interests involved and managed to accommodate them while never losing sight of the fact tht I was her client and her primary focus. Alison was supremely knowledgable, professional, capable and available. I would use her again and would recommend her, and her Firm, very highly””
Midcity Estates provides student accommodation in Sheffield. All was well with the business until they made the mistake of entering into a loan facility with Natwest in 2006 which came with a condition of lending that they take out a base rate swap.
Midcity transferred its lending portfolio to Lloyds a year later. At this time, Midcity was required to enter into a new, restructured swap. This saw Midcity become locked into a new IRHP with a term of 15 years. The new Lloyds IRHP had more fixed rate risk than its previous Natwest IRHP. It also came with an increased margin on its lending, together with a large administration fee of £150,000. What’s more, a break cost of £670,000 was created from the breaking of the original Natwest swap. This sum was added to the new IRHP.
Due to the crippling nature of the new Swap, it was cancelled on 11 July 2011 and Midcity took out a Fixed Rate loan. Break costs of £981,500 were created by this new arrangement.
We have pursued Midcity’s claim against both Natwest and Lloyds through the FCA Review. The process has been far from straight forward.
On 24th October 2014, we were informed by telephone by Natwest that a redress offer was to be sent out for the sum of £912,124.79. After almost two months, we finally received a letter from Natwest. To our surprise, the letter stated that despite the earlier telephone call, they had decided that no redress was payable. There was no explanation as to why they had changed their minds, apart from the bank’s mention of introducing a ‘swap for a swap’ (i.e. substituting an alternative product), which meant Midcity would receive no compensation.
Despite numerous complaints to the Chairman and CEO of the bank, the FCA and MPs, no further clarification on the point has been received other than to direct queries to Lloyds bank, who took over the lending in 2009. Natwest have stood by their offer of no redress.
Midcity fared slightly better with Lloyds. Their decision was that hedging was a condition of lending for only 50% of the loan and the fixed rate ought to have been 3.56% as opposed to 5.05%. As a consequence, Midcity has been offered £1.2m compensation from Lloyds. Whilst Lloyds is seeking to partially refund Midcity in respect of break costs, the amount of £981,500 remains embedded into the Fixed Rate Loan. The offer therefore looks artificially better than it is.
Midcity are still subject to horrific break costs on the Fixed Rate Loan that was entered into as a direct result of the now admittedly mis-sold Swap of 2009, which we calculate to be in the region of £1.1million. Lloyds have resolutely refused to deal with the Fixed Rate Loan as part of the Review on the basis that fixed rate loans are outside the strict scope of the FCA Review.
We are now at the stage of consequential losses in the Review. The banks continue to pressurise the business – refusing to suspend payments pending the outcome of the Review, and in the case of Natwest, refusing any extension of time for Midcity to file its claim for consequential losses – despite its own huge delay in dealing with the claim.
The battle goes on. The business owners who are two pensioners have had to push out any plans for retirement and are determined to continue to press the banks for compensation which reflects the true cost to the business.
Mr and Mrs Hockin had built up a successful family company called London and West Country Estates which owned and ran a number of business parks. This was their life’s work, which has been taken from them as a result of the actions of RBS.
The Hockins were mis-sold a complex interest rate hedging product which they did not want or understand. The Hockins were also unaware that the bank could flip from LIBOR to base rate if it suited them partway through the term. They were told that they could exit the swap without charge, which was untrue as the exit charge within a few months would already have been several million pounds and around the time the facility was coming to an end in 2011, it had reached over £10 million. The bank also failed to mention that the swap would be taken into account when assessing the company’s loan to value covenant.
But far worse was to come. Despite London and West Country Estates being a growing and robust business, the bank used the increased costs u1985nder the swap, and the alleged breaches in loan to value covenant, to put the company into the hands of its notorious Global Restructuring Group.
Then, in January 2012, the bank sold the business loan at a 30% discount to Isobel, a fund partly owned by RBS (75%). Two months later, Isobel put the company into administration and at this point, Mr and Mrs Hockin lost control of the business. Although they wanted to pursue a claim against RBS in relation to the sale of the swap, they could not do so as ownership or conduct of the claim sat with the administrators, Ernst & Young. The administrators refused to pursue the mis-selling claim against the bank, nor would they assign the claim to the Hockins to enable them to do so.
With our help, the Hockins won a Court application ordering the administrator to assign the claim. Proceedings were then commenced and are well underway. The Hockins have been advised that their claim is worth in excess of £30 million but as might be expected the bank are seeking to thwart the claim at every stage. Tax payers money is thus being used to defend this claim vigorously, when in reality the bank should accept its wrongdoing and compensate the Hockins for the loss and damage they have suffered as a result of the bank’s action.
Alison acted for the Director of an international technology business. The advice included consideration of the client's position as director of a plc board as well as an employee. There were significant strategic and tactical considerations particularly around dealing with the chairman and non executive directors. Subsequently advising on severance terms and dealing with disclosure obligations to the stock exchange, investors and the media.
Elysia entered into business in 2004 with HSBC as its banker. The bank sold the Partnership a structured collar. When trade dropped in 2008/09 and the payments under the structured collar increased, the Partnership began having financial difficulties. The structured collar was taking £120,000 a quarter out of the Partnership, which was unsustainable and eventually the Partnership lost its franchise agreement, rendering it effectively at an end.
The Partnership submitted its claim to the FCA Review. The three hedges that the Partnership had entered into, including the structured collar, were torn up and a full cash redress offer made and accepted. The Partnership thought that the bank was actually taking responsibility for its failures of the past. That was not the case.
A detailed forensic accountants report was prepared to explain the true impact the structured collar had had on the business and to identify the Partnerships consequential losses. However, when the banks decision arrived, the offer was circa £20,000. This was predominantly refunds of bank fees. The additional £7 million that the Partnership claimed in consequential losses was dismissed. The bank averred that even though the Partnership’s cash flows had been destroyed by the structured collar, the bank did not deem that it had caused the Partnership any additional losses.
When we reviewed the decision by the bank, we noted to our surprise that the bank’s s. 166 independent skilled person does not actually appear on the FCA’s panel of s. 166 Independent skilled persons. We complained to the bank, who said it did not matter, and we complained to the FCA who did not think the issue worth responding to.
Essentially the bank found that taking almost £350,000 from a small partnership during the economic down-turn caused no damage. The independent skilled person, who is a large law firm that predominantly works in the Far East – Hong Kong and Asia – where HSBC predominantly works, did not think that the bank could be blamed for any of the financial difficulties the Partnership was caused. That is not surprising if you think that the independent skilled persons are largely over-seen by the banks. The FCA thinks that this kind of connection between the bank and the reviewer is unlikely to have caused the independent skilled person to be swayed.
The Partnership has appealed. The grounds have been substantial. The principal question is “How could the Partnership NOT have been damaged by the loss of such a substantial sum of money?” We await the decision.
Business development organisation for the financial and professional sector. Engaged in a number of types of activity with this organisation and was this year (2016) elected as Chair of pro-manchester.
The Booth' Centre is berg's chosen charity for 2016. Based in Manchester the centre is dedicated to providing essential services for the city's homeless community with a view to providing real life skills to enable those who visit the centre to take positive steps to rebuild their lives.
Antz Junction is a social enterprise based in Bolton with the aim of helping individuals to overcome the barriers that may be facing them and preventing them from gaining or returning to employment. Alison is a keen supporter of the charity acting as an ambassador for the work they do.