FRP Advisory are set to be appointed as liquidators of the BHS empire,
City A.M. understands – ousting Duff & Phelps from the role.
Duff & Phelps have recommended to creditors that BHS be moved into liquidation – and suggested they take on the job – but it has emerged they have been pushed out due to concerns they will not be impartial.
FRP Advisory were made joint administrators to BHS in July and will be taking on the liquidation after Dominic Chappell – who bought BHS for £1 – alleged Sir Philip Green described Duff & Phelps as his "ponies".
Not only will FRP Advisory look into the conduct of BHS directors, they will also investigate Duff & Phelps.
"If there is a need to check on what the administrators have done, you would bring in different liquidators," said Nick Hood, business risk analyst at Opus Restructuring. "Obviously, the concerns with BHS are because of the doubts thrown up in parliamentary hearings – and the Pension Protection Fund insisted there was a second set of administrators appointed.
A spokesperson for Duff & Phelps said: "It is common practice for the PPF to appoint a different liquidator when they are the major creditor, as evidenced by previous cases.
"In this matter it may be that BHS won’t go into liquidation for a number of months, and therefore the administrators have agreed with the PPF to appoint additional administrators to ensure that dividend payments to creditors are made as soon as possible."
Hood said: "There's no chance the liquidation won't happen. A switch like this is not very common if I'm honest – but the fact that there is going to be a different liquidator reflects the high level of public concern over how BHS was run."
Duff & Phelps recommended complete BHS' liquidation in a proposal document sent to creditors in June, before FRP Advisory had been brought in.
In the document, Duff & Phelps told creditors: "The joint administrators are likely to recommend that the company be moved into Creditors' Voluntary Liquidation (CVL) once all assets have been realised.
"It is proposed that the joint administrators, currently Philip Duffy and Benjamin Wiles of Duff & Phelps Ltd be appointed as joint liquidators of the company should it be placed into CVL."
But their suggestion is to be rejected, and FRP Advisory will take on the liquidation process.
FRP Advisory will help the Insolvency Service prosecute any cases for the disqualification of BHS directors.
A spokesperson for Duff & Phelps said: "Under the division of responsibilities with FRP, Duff & Phelps are still carrying out the vast majority of the administration work, including certain investigations supporting the Insolvency Service."
The firm will also examine whether assets sold by BHS were undervalued – particularly the properties – or if the company was trading wrongfully. FRP will make sure creditors were paid back in the correct order and if any transactions were made by BHS in order to defraud creditors.
Duff & Phelps and FRP Advisory declined to comment.