Archive for November, 2015

Bell & Company Team get into the Christmas spirit in Aid of Text Santa!!

This year the Bell & Company team are proud to be taking part in  the Text Santa Christmas Jumper day!  On the 18th December all of the lovely staff will be digging into their wardrobes and bringing out those colourful jumpers that we are usually too embarrassed to wear in public all in the name of raising money for a worthy charity!

We are doing our bit in our Christmas Knits!

You can pop in and see us in our festive knits in the office here on18th Dec or you can follow us on social media where we will be posting pictures!

Join us and thousands of other businesses across the UK in this great cause and donate be clicking this link

This Year the charity are supporting the work of Macmillan Cancer Support, Make-A-Wish UK and Save the Children. From helping those affected by crises, to granting wishes to children fighting life-threatening conditions, to funding nurses so those with cancer get the care they need, Text Santa will give hope to families in the UK and overseas.

More information on the Text Santa appeal, including frequently asked questions about how your money makes a difference, can be found here.

To find out how you can get involved and to sign up for your Text Santa Christmas Jumper Day Fundraising Kit click here.


At Bell & Company we are regularly contacted by borrowers who have property portfolios which regularly give them financial problems. The prospect of owing an investment property portfolio is very enticing and something we view with great attractiveness. We often view those who own multiple properties with great envy. However, as we have come to experience it is perhaps a picture which is incorrectly portrayed and many do not understand the associated costs and issues that go with owning a Buy-to-Let.

Some people clearly go into property investment without fully considering all the implications. Typically potential investors think along the lines of I’ll get a low rate interest only mortgage and the rent will provide a nice income on the side. Sadly, this is not the reality and there are many pitfalls landlords face along the way.



Unfortunately the mortgage is not the only costs you need to consider:

When you consider these added costs on top of your mortgage this is a significant outlay and when weighing this up with the rental income many will see the opportunity to own an investment property as less attractive.


Troublesome Tenants & Legislation

It would take us an eternity to list all the relevant legislation that landlords must adhere to, nonetheless it is key prospective landlords ensure they understand all this. We would recommend membership to Landlords Association of Northern Ireland. LANI is chaired by someone we work closely with, Mr Raymond Crooks. Raymond has spoken at one of our events in regard to owning property and Bell & Company have spoken at LANI meetings on the pitfalls of Negative Equity. Have a look at and sign up if you are a landlord.

Another issue are troublesome tenants. At Bell & Company we have heard some real horror stories regarding tenants from shocking property damage, non-payment of rent and serious criminal offences. Sadly, as a landlord you will likely encounter a troublesome tenant at some point but membership to LANI can assist you in such circumstances.


Changing Tax Implications

From the 6th July 2017 the Government to restrict finance cost relief for individual landlords. Landlords will no longer be able to deduct all of their finance costs from their property income to arrive at their property profits. The Government cite their objective here to is to make the tax system fairer, the Government will restrict the amount of income tax relief landlords can get on residential property finance costs, such as mortgage interest, to the basic rate of tax. So landlords with higher incomes no longer receive the most generous tax treatment. This will be introduced gradually from 2017.


Negative Equity

As mentioned in our introductory paragraph we find many borrowers approach Bell & Company who have a property portfolio of Buy-to-Let properties in negative equity. In many instances people are having to top up mortgages and costs every month as opposed to drawing a source of income.  They are servicing a mortgage for an asset whose value will likely never reach peak highs when a mortgage may have been obtained. This is a troublesome factor for many landlords and some feel there is no way out.

At Bell & Company we have assisted property investors with portfolios ranging from 1 or 2 buy-to-lets to up to 20 properties. We understand how different lenders operate and accordingly we can tailor our advice to your circumstances and help in the disposal of assets which are either underperforming or in Negative Equity. We deal with lenders based in both Northern Ireland, Ireland, Spain and the United Kingdom.

Despite our negative stance on Property Investment if done correctly it can provide a lucrative income. Nonetheless if you are suffering difficulties please contact Bell & Company on 02895 217373 to arrange your free initial consultation.

TEAM BLOG – Welcome back Leah O’Kane- Bankruptcy Expert

Welcome back Leah O’Kane- Bankruptcy Expert

Last week we welcomed Leah O’Kane back to Bell & Company from her maternity leave following the birth of her first child, Charlie.

We are excited to have Leah back and she is a very valuable member of our team likely holding one of the most challenging roles assisting our clients with Bankruptcy. This post follows on from our Blog on Bankruptcy and how useful a tool it can be certain circumstances and this is something Leah will confirm.

Should you want to discuss Bankruptcy then please contact Leah, her details are at the bottom of this post.


Leah O’Kane


Corporate Case Manager

Time with Bell & Company:

2 Years 5 Months

What does your day to day role entail?:

I manage a number of Corporate & Bankruptcy Cases, each case is unique and assistance is tailored around what the Client wishes to achieve.

Since returning from Maternity Leave this month however I will be focusing more on the Bankruptcy side of the Company and attempting to detach the Stigma surrounding Bankruptcy. I will still continue to be involved in a number of Corporate Cases that I previously managed as they will be an integral part of my daily role at Bell & Company.

I work on different Corporate Cases with particular focus on Cases that may have complex Legal issues on-going.

I engage with Solicitors on a daily basis regarding the Legals and engage with the Banks regarding the Corporate debt.

Negotiating is a vital part of my role at Bell & Company, I strive to achieve the best result for the Client should it be in negotiating a Clients Personal Guarantee, Corporate debt or a possible Income Payment Order in Bankruptcy.

I engage with the Insolvency Service also and attend Court with Clients that wish to proceed with Bankruptcy.

Bankruptcy is not always the first option or sometimes the most pleasant option for individuals but it is sometimes the best option.

Each case is thoroughly assessed and all avenues explored before Bankruptcy is discussed with the Client. If the Client wishes to proceed with Bankruptcy then I will guide them through the process and be with them every step of the way.

What do you enjoy most about your position?:


What are main issues you are seeing for clients in your position?:

In many Corporate Cases there is frustration on the significant misconception of true current market value of properties held by Cerberus/Capita by way of security.

Furthermore the stubborn approach adopted by Cerberus in terms of accepting nothing other than full re-payment is entirely unrealistic and will not be achieved.

A more commercial and realistic approach needs to be adopted here so we can push matters forward and reach a conclusion for our Clients.

In numerous Bankruptcy Cases the stigma people believe attached seems to dissuade them, however the stigma is not what it used to be pre 2007 as it is practically non-existent in 2015. Once the Client understands what Bankruptcy actually means and the true effect it will have on their life then they are a lot more content about it all.

Spare time activities:

I Love spending time with my husband and son as they mean the world to me.

If I have a few free days I try visit my amazing family in Dublin.

I enjoy exercising (sometimes) and generally trying to keep fit.

I have a great interest in books also so any time I have free will usually be spent reading.


Contact Details:

Leah O’Kane

11 Rosemary St, Belfast, BT1 1QF

Tel: 02895217373

Mob: 07780452963

Email: [email protected]



We regularly focus on our Resolution and Corporate Services in the Bell & Company blog posts but our Bankruptcy service is key to many distressed borrowers across Northern Ireland.  It would seem the UK as a whole has learnt little from the so called credit crunch with some rather alarming figures recently released. Currently in Britain there is £61billion of debt. One in four, or four million people, have credit card accounts with arrears on them. UK Mortgage lending has reached pre 2008 highs with many borrowers taking advantage of ultra- low interest rates.

Much of our previous focus in posts has been about the rise in interest rates. There is numerous conflicting views in the press when interest rates will rise. It seems something always comes up when the opportunity presents itself to the Bank of England. Nonetheless, rates look set to increase in the United States and typically the United Kingdom follows suit. Whenever the rise occurs many borrowers will fall into difficult when all of their credit commitments increase. In all likelihood we will see and influx of resolution clients and unfortunately those who require our Bankruptcy services.

At Bell & Company we take pride in offering Independent Insolvency advice tailored to your circumstances. Our Bankruptcy service has assisted numerous borrowers who had unsustainable debts. A lot of people are nervous regarding the process but our advisors have years of experience in assisting clients through the entire process. Rest assured we will be with you at the relevant hearings and ensure all paperwork is completed correctly.

Despite the negative assumptions surrounding Bankruptcy it can “clear the decks” allowing you to start again. Providing you understand the full ramifications of the process and what will and what won’t be affected it can be useful tool for over extended borrowers. Many who approach Bell & Company have questions regarding assets and Banking – we can answer all of these in our Free initial consultation.

If have over extended on credit or know someone suffering from debt pressures in whatever form then please call the team on 02895 217373 to arrange a Free initial consultation or introduce a client. We look forward to hearing from you.

Terry Bell

TEAM BLOG – Introducing Claire McCarragher

Name:  Claire McCarragher

Position: Corporate Accounts Manager

Time with Bell & Company: 2 Years & 11 months (3 years in January)

What does your day to day role entail? 

Once an individual has become a Client of Bell & Company I take carriage of their case and become the first point of contact.

I liaise with Creditors, Solicitors, Accountants etc. on behalf of the Client.

We assist and guide our Clients in the following fields:

  1. Corporate Debt: Company and other Business Debts
  2. Property related Debt
  3. Personal Guarantees
  4. Personal Insolvency

I work extensively on cases across the insolvency range with particular reference to complex financial issues including personal credit matters.

What do you enjoy most about your position?

I enjoy developing working relationships with my Clients.

I like the fact that you are continuously learning and broadening your knowledge in this position.

I also like the fact that every case is different, there is never two cases that are the same.

I also love the fact that we are helping people have a fresh start in life.

People who are in financial difficulty are not just affected by how much they owe  – this can consume their entire life and we help them realise that there is a light at the end of the tunnel and that there is nearly always an option.

Some of our clients don’t realise that this is not just a job for us – we live this experience with them, through the ups and downs in the process and we have the same end goal – to get them out the other side and let them and their family move on with their lives.

I have never dreaded coming in to work – I love what I do and will continue assisting clients who are in financial difficulty as long as my services are required.

What are main issues you are seeing for clients in your position?

We have a significant number of Clients associated with Cerberus/Capita further to the loan sales, in both the North & South, and are actively and aggressively engaging on their behalf with the appropriate parties.

The main issue that we are experiencing is that there appears to be a significant misconception of true current market value of properties held by Cerberus/Capita by way of security.

There have been many instances in which our Clients have actively worked to successfully attract the interest of ready, willing & able third party purchasers with a view maximising the yield to Cerberus with regards sales of security.

Very often, the offers are in fact above and beyond the value assigned to the assets by professional and reputable Chartered Surveyors & Agents with a profound knowledge of properties in the subject areas.

This is undoubtedly because of our Clients’ determination to drive sales & minimise their exposure.

The reality is that portfolio sales here will not allow for full debt repayment due to the fact that, as a direct result of the economic crash, properties are very obviously worth only a fraction of what they were.

The stubborn approach adopted by Cerberus in terms of accepting nothing other than full re-payment is entirely unrealistic and will not be achieved.

If Cerberus want to achieve any sense of progress and resolution here, they are going to have to take a more pragmatic and commercial view.

Spare time activities?

I enjoy drama and was appointed as Chairperson of our drama school for 2 years running.

I also enjoy music and have played guitar for 5 years and the drums for 12 years (a great way to release).

I also have two young nephews who I adore and love spending time with.

Contact Details:

[email protected]


PODCAST: Frustrated by the delays that are being caused by Cerberus’ current approach?

Welcome to the first edition of the Bell & Company podcast. Today we have HELEN MCCARRAGHER discussing Cerberus.

You may recall over the last month we have been placing a focus on Cerberus. In fact I took it upon myself to write a paper on the subject for my most recent MBA modules such is breadth of scope and detail regarding their acquisition of loan books both in Northern Ireland and Republic of Ireland (Sad man but true!)

Whilst there has been a lot of bad news regarding their acquisition of Project Eagle from NAMA, with particular scrutiny placed on their debt collection techniques and also a government fixers fee, Bell & Company from the outset have advised their clients to work with Cerberus. At the end of the day we can only work with what is in front of us and understanding their protocol, as we do, can achieve excellent results. This is vindicated with Cerberus advising a Stormont committee of significant write downs.

Details of Cerberus’ action to date:



Bell & Company have long believed there to be a real opportunity for our clients to work with Cerberus and extricate themselves from non-performing default loans. When with NAMA or the Ulster Bank negotiations often become stagnated but with Cerberus we have found there to be a real proactive approach working out what is best for all parties.

Should you or anyone you know had your loan sold to Cerberus then please contact Karen in the office today on 028 9521 7373 to arrange your free initial consultation.

James Bell – London Office Manager.

Fill in your contact details for free advice:

By accepting you agree to Bell & Company contacting you to discuss debt solutions