Our standard terms of business

The following standard terms of business apply to all engagements accepted by Wells Associates. All work carried out is subject to these terms except where changes are expressly agreed in writing.

1. Investment services

1.1. Although we are not authorised by the Financial Services Authority to conduct Investment Business, we are licensed by the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England & Wales to provide certain limited investment services where these are complementary to, or arise out of, the professional services we are providing to you.

1.2. In particular, we may:

  • advise you on investments generally, but not recommend a particular investment or type of investment
  • refer you to an Authorised Third Party (ATP) (an independent firm authorised by the FSA), assist you and the authorised third party during the course of any advice given by that party and comment on, or explain, the advice received (but not make alternative recommendations). The ATP will issue you with his own terms and conditions letter, will be remunerated separately for his services and will take full responsibility for compliance with the requirements of the Financial Services and Markets Act 2000. The firm may receive commission from such an introduction, in which case you will be fully informed of the expected size and nature of such commission at the time of the introduction.
  • assist you in making arrangements for transactions in investments in certain circumstances;
  • advise and assist you in transactions concerning shares or other securities not quoted on a recognised exchange; and
  • manage investments or act as trustee (or donee of a power of attorney) where decisions to invest are taken on the advice of an authorised person.

1.3. We may also, on the understanding that the shares or other securities of the company are not publicly traded:

  • advise the company, existing or prospective shareholders in relation to exercising rights, taking benefits or share options valuation and methods;
  • arrange any agreements in connection with the issue, sale or transfer of the company’s shares or other securities;
  • arrange for the issue of the new shares; and
  • act as the addressee to receive confirmation of acceptance of offer documents etc.

1.4. If you are dissatisfied in any way about our services described in this section, you should follow the procedures set out in the ‘Help us to give you the right service’ section of this letter and, if in the unlikely event that we cannot meet our liabilities to you, you may be able to claim compensation under the Chartered Accountants/Certified Accountants Compensation Scheme.

2. Probate Services

2.1      In the unlikely event that we cannot meet our liabilities to you, you may be able to seek a grant from ICAEW’s Compensation Scheme. Generally, applications for a grant must be made to ICAEW within 12 months of the time you become aware, or reasonably ought to have been aware of the loss. Further information about the scheme and the circumstances in which grants may be made is available on ICAEW’s website: www.icaew.com/probate .

2.2      If you would like to talk to us about how we can improve our service to you, or if you are unhappy with the service you are receiving, please let us know by contacting Jackie Barker our head of legal practice. We will consider carefully any complaint that you may make about our probate services as soon as we receive it and will do all we can to resolve the issue. We will acknowledge your complaint within five business days of its receipt and endeavour to deal with it within 8 weeks. Any complaint should be submitted to us by letter.

2.3     If we do not deal with it within this timescale or you are unhappy with our response we give you, you may of course take the matter up with our professional body the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales and the Legal Ombudsman. Complaints to the Legal Ombudsman should be made within six years of the act or omission or within three years of you becoming aware of the issue, and in either case within six months of our written response to your complaint to us. The contact details for the Legal Ombudsman are:

Letter:               The Legal Ombudsman,PO Box 6806, Wolverhampton WV1 9WJ,

Email:               enquiries@legalombudsman.org.uk

Telephone:        0300 555 0333.

2.4  If for whatever reason, we are unable to continue with Probate Work, we have made arrangements with Katie Gillam at Cooper Burnett LLP (subject to their terms and conditions of business) for the continuation of probate work for our clients.

3. Client monies

3.1. We may from time to time hold money on your behalf. Such money will be held in trust in a client bank account, which is segregated from the firm’s funds. The account will be operated and all funds dealt with in accordance with the Client Money Regulations of the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales.

3.2. Client monies may be held in an interest-bearing account. In order to avoid an excessive amount of administration, interest will only be paid to you where the amount earned in any calendar year exceeds £35. Subject to any tax legislation, interest will be paid gross.

3.3. If money exceeding £10,000 is expected to be held by us for more than 30 days, we shall pay it into a designated deposit client bank account and account to you for all interest earned. Subject to any tax legislation, interest will be paid gross.

3.4. Any un-disputed fees of this firm remaining unpaid more than 30 days after the invoice date will be collected from any client monies held on your behalf.

3.5. If you have entered into a standing order arrangement to make payments on account of current and/or future fees, any amounts which may be paid in excess of fees actually outstanding will not be treated as client money and the foregoing provisions will not apply.

4. Fees

4.1. Our charges are based on two criteria:

  • The time necessarily occupied on the work.
  • The degree of responsibility and skill required by the person carrying out the work.

4.2. Fee invoices will be rendered at appropriate intervals during the course of the year and will be due on presentation.

4.3. Without prejudice to your rights to terminate this contract, if we incur any costs or fees of any third parties, professional or otherwise, attempting to enforce or procure your payment of any sums owing to us under this contract, these will be chargeable to you in addition to our fees as liquidated damages and in the event that such action results in any court giving judgement in connection with any sum outstanding under this contract, we will ask for such costs or fees to be included as part of that judgement.

4.4. We reserve the right to charge interest from the due date for payment to the actual date of payment at the rate of 2% above base compound interest per month or part thereof, from time to time in force, if any sum in respect of our fees, costs or expenses is not paid within 30 days of the date due. Any query in relation to a fee that has been rendered to you must be raised in writing within 30 days of presentation.

4.5. In consideration of our providing a credit facility to a limited liability entity in respect of our fees the signatories to the engagement letter accept joint and personal liability for any of our fees not settled within sixty days from the invoice date.

4.6. Cash will not be accepted in payment for services rendered.

5. Retention of and access to records

5.1. During the course of our work we will collect information from you and others acting on your behalf and will return any original documents to you following the preparation of your financial statements and returns.

5.2. Whilst certain documents may legally belong to you, we intend to destroy correspondence and other papers that we store which are more than seven years old, other than documents which we consider to be of continuing significance. If you require retention of any document you must notify us of that fact in writing.

6. Quality control

5.1. As part of our ongoing commitment to providing a quality service, our files are periodically subject to an independent quality review. Our reviewers are highly experienced and professional people and are, of course, bound by the same requirements of confidentiality as our principals and staff.

7. Help us to give you the right service

7.1. If at any time you would like to discuss with us how our service to you could be improved, or if you are dissatisfied with the service you are receiving, please let us know by telephoning our senior partner Sonia Kesby.

7.2. We undertake to look into any complaint carefully and promptly and to do all we can to explain the position to you. If you feel that we have given you a less than satisfactory service, we undertake to do everything reasonable to address your concerns. If you are still not satisfied, you may of course take up matters with the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales.

8. Applicable law

8.1. Our engagement terms and standard terms of business are governed by, and construed in accordance with English law. The Courts of England will have exclusive jurisdiction in relation to any claim, dispute or difference concerning this these terms and any matter arising from them. Each party irrevocably waives any right it may have to object to any action being brought in those courts, to claim that the action has been brought in an inappropriate forum, or to claim that those courts do not have jurisdiction.

8.2. You are reminded that, in addition to this agreement being subject to the civil laws of England and Wales, we have a legal obligation to adhere to all civil and criminal legislation currently in force.

9. Professional Indemnity

9.1.  We have professional indemnity insurance in place which is worldwide excluding the USA and Canada and is with OMNYY LLP. In the event of any claim against this firm arising in respect of professional services provided , where you have incurred losses, our liability to you is limited to a maximum of twenty times our fees in respect of those services. This limitation of liability does not apply to statutory audit work.

10. Electronic Communication

10.1. Unless you tell us otherwise we will at times use email or other electronic means to communicate with you.

10.2. Internet communications are capable of data corruption and therefore we do not accept any responsibility for changes made to such communications after their despatch. It may therefore be inappropriate to rely on advice contained in an e-mail without obtaining written confirmation of it. We do not accept responsibility for any errors or problems that may arise through the use of internet communication and all risks connected with sending commercially sensitive information relating to your business are borne by you. If you do not agree to accept this risk, you should notify us in writing that e-mail is not an acceptable means of communication.

10.3. It is the responsibility of the recipient to carry out a virus check on any attachments received.

11. GDPR Privacy Notice

Wells Associates takes the protection of your privacy very seriously. We will only use your personal information to deliver the services you have requested from us, and to meet our legal responsibilities.

How do we collect information from you?

We obtain information about you when you engage us to deliver our services and/or when you use our website, for example, when you contact us about services.

What type of information do we collect from you?

The personal information we collect from you will vary depending on which services you engage us to deliver. The personal information we collect might include your name, address, telephone number, email address, your Unique Tax Reference (UTR) number, your National Insurance number, bank account details, your IP address, which pages you may have visited on our website and when you accessed them.

How is your information used?

In general terms, and depending on which services you engage us to deliver, as part of providing our agreed services we may use your information to:

  •          contact you by post, email or telephone
  •          verify your identity where this is required
  •          understand your needs and how they may be met
  •          maintain our records in accordance with applicable legal and regulatory obligations
  •          process financial transactions
  •          prevent and detect crime, fraud or corruption

We are required by legislation, other regulatory requirements and our insurers to retain your data where we have ceased to act for you. The period of retention required varies with the applicable legislation but is typically five or six years. To ensure compliance with all such requirements it is the policy of the firm to retain all data for a period of seven years from the end of the period concerned.

Who has access to your information?

We will not sell or rent your information to third parties.

We will not share your information with third parties for marketing purposes.

Any staffs with access to your information have a duty of confidentiality under the ethical standards that this firm is required to follow.

Third Party Service Providers working on our behalf

We may pass your information to our third party service providers, agents, subcontractors and other associated organisations for the purposes of completing tasks and providing services to you on our behalf, for example to process payroll or basic bookkeeping.  However, when we use third party service providers, we disclose only the personal information that is necessary to deliver the service and we have a contract in place that requires them to keep your information secure and not to use it for their own purposes.

Please be assured that we will not release your information to third parties unless you have requested that we do so, or we are required to do so by law, for example, by a court order or for the purposes of prevention and detection of crime, fraud or corruption.

How you can access and update your information

Keeping your information up to date and accurate is important to us. We commit to regularly review and correct where necessary, the information that we hold about you. If any of your information changes, please email or write to us, or call us using the ‘Contact information’ noted below.

You have the right to ask for a copy of the information Wells Associates holds about you.

Security precautions in place to protect the loss, misuse or alteration of your information

Whilst we strive to protect your personal information, we cannot guarantee the security of any information you transmit to us, and you do so at your own risk.

Once we receive your information, we make our best effort to ensure its security on our systems. Where we have given, or where you have chosen, a password which enables you to access information, you are responsible for keeping this password confidential. We ask you not to share your password with anyone.

Your data will usually be processed in our offices in the UK. However, to allow us to operate efficient digital processes, we sometimes need to store information in servers located outside the UK, but within the European Economic Area (EEA). We take the security of your data seriously and so all our systems have appropriate security in place that complies with all applicable legislative and regulatory requirements.

Your choices

We may occasionally contact you by [post / email / telephone] with details of any changes in legal and regulatory requirements or other developments that may be relevant to your affairs and, where applicable, how we may assist you further. If you do not wish to receive such information from us, please let us know by contacting us as indicated under ‘Contact information’ below.

Your rights

Access to your information: You have the right to request a copy of the personal information about you that we hold.

Correcting your information: We want to make sure that your personal information is accurate, complete and up to date and you may ask us to correct any personal information about you that you believe does not meet these standards.

Deletion of your information: You have the right to ask us to delete personal information about you where:

  • you consider that we no longer require the information for the purposes for which it was obtained
  • you have validly objected to our use of your personal information – see ‘Objecting to how we may use your information’ below
  • our use of your personal information is contrary to law or our other legal obligations

Restricting how we may use your information:

In some cases, you may ask us to restrict how we use your personal information. This right might apply, for example, where we are checking the accuracy of personal information about you that we hold or assessing the validity of any objection you have made to our use of your information. The right might also apply where there is no longer a basis for using your personal information but you do not want us to delete the data. Where this right is validly exercised, we may only use the relevant personal information with your consent, for legal claims or where there are other public interest grounds to do so.

Objecting to how we may use your information:

Where we use your personal information to perform tasks carried out in the public interest then, if you ask us to, we will stop using that personal information unless there are overriding legitimate grounds to continue.

Please contact us in any of the ways set out in ‘Contact information’ below if you wish to exercise any of these rights.

Changes to our privacy notice

We keep this privacy notice under regular review. Paper copies of the privacy notice may also be obtained if required, please call the office on 01892 507280 to request this.

This privacy notice was last updated on 2 May 2018.

Contact information

The Data Protection Officer at Wells Associates is Sonia Kesby, please call the office on 01892 507280 if you wish to contact her.


We seek to resolve directly all complaints about how we handle your personal information but you also have the right to lodge a complaint with the Information Commissioner’s Office at

Information Commissioner’s Office

Wycliffe House

Water Lane




Telephone – 0303 123 1113 (local rate) or 01625 545 745

Website: https://ico.org.uk/concerns

12. Changes to these Standard Terms of Business

11.1. These standard terms of business are subject to changes from time to time.

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