THE directors of a former insolvency practice in Bury are now serving lengthy bans for failing to protect clients' interests.

Insolvency Service investigators have secured a nine-year disqualification against Philip Nuttall, who run Moor Street based Varden Nuttall with Darren Varden.

Last year the pair made headlines when the administrators of Varden Nuttall secured a £12.8m judgement against them, after a county civil judge found they acted negligently in dealing with individual voluntary arrangements (IVAs).

Under IVAs, an agreement is reached between debtors and creditors so firms can pay a proportion of what they owe, and avoid bankruptcy.

But it was found Nuttall had been charging enhanced fees for IVAs, while entering into secret commission arrangements with third parties. Of the 2,800 cases on their books, there were client losses recorded of £9m.

Varden, 54 and said to be of Willow Close, Unsworth, who did not contest the 2018 civil hearing, was disqualified for seven years in March following an Insolvency Service inquiry.

He accepted he had "failed to take reasonable steps to safeguard estate monies of Individual Voluntary Arrangement and Protected Trust Deed clients" before the demise of Varden Nuttall in April 2016.

Nuttall, 58, of Broomfields, Congleton, was disqualified on the basis of his conduct both for Varden Nuttall and Release Money Group (RMG).

In Nuttall's case, it was ruled he had "removed assets from RMG of at least £1,635,872 and benefited personally, at the risk and to the ultimate detriment of the creditors of RMG and Varden Nuttall, and the debtor clients of Varden Nuttall and their creditors."

The Varden Nuttall case led to calls for a shake-up of how IVAs are regulated.