Trade body takes hard line on boat brokers following collapse of Peters Opal

The British Marine Federation will start denying boat brokers membership if they cannot prove that all customer monies are held in a client or escrow account that is completely separate from other business income and expenditure.

The trade body for the UK’s leisure marine industry, through the newly formed Boat Retailers and Brokers Association, is changing its code of practice to accommodate the new ruling, and has issued all brokers with guidance for changing their working practices.

This new hard line from the BMF follows the collapse of Peters Opal last year, and the subsequent discovery that the company’s client account did not hold sufficient funds to repay all its creditors.

In a letter sent to all boat brokers with BMF membership, the trade body says: “In order to ensure customer confidence in the brokerage market, in light of some high profile failures in the industry and to help your business, it is imperative to ensure that all members have a separate client account in which to hold client monies during the brokerage process.”

The BMF adds that this can be done through a separate bank account (preferably at a different bank to all other company accounts) or through a solicitor, and asks for proof that such an account exists before membership to the trade body is renewed.

For more on this story, see June’s MBM (out 19 May).