Joint administrators have been appointed to handle the collapse of independent foreign currency exchange business Crown Currency Exchange (CCE).


At least 13,000 customers of the Cornwall-based company are affected. The business was established five years ago by husband and wife team Peter and Susan Benstead and had processed hundreds of millions of pounds worth of foreign currency transactions over that period.


It provided customers with travel money in more than 80 major currencies. Services included cash, travellers cheques and money transfer facilities.


Paul Clark and Matt Bond, partners at turnaround, restructuring and insolvency services specialist MCR, have been appointed joint administrators along with Harold Sorsky and Stella Davis of SPW.


Clark said: “Like many operators in the travel sector, it has experienced a difficult trading environment during the course of the past 12 months which has been exacerbated by a further downturn and general tightening of the travel market.  


“We believe that over 13,000 consumers have been directly affected and we will be in contact with them shortly to advise them on their individual status.


“I have no doubt that they will be understandably concerned about their own position and we recommend that they contact the company directly.


“We fully appreciate the difficult position in which many will now find themselves in – many in the build-up to holidays or business trips, as well as money transfers associated with second home purchases.


“However, the administration process is in its early days and we cannot guarantee an early resolution for those looking for a quick return of their money.


“At this stage no currency order due for delivery from October 4 onwards, or any monies that were due prior to this date that have not been delivered, will be fulfilled.


“The joint administrators will provide an update in due course.”


Prior to its collapse CCE had its accounts frozen by Barclays amid fears for the future of the firm.


Reports said directors had told the bank that CCE was in trouble. The move by Barclays meant customers’ money was tied up as the bank looked to protect what funds it had for its creditors.


It was reported that customers had been unable to contact CCE by telephone since Saturday October 2. The firm’s 0800 free quote number and customer services number was not working when Travel Weekly called it this morning.