First Title Develops Ground-Breaking Approach to Facilitate Sale of Dawnay Day Portfolio

–Title insurer’s property-transaction enabler is a “blueprint” for the future–

April 3, 2009, LONDON

First Title Insurance (First Title), a subsidiary of First Title plc and the largest provider of title insurance in the United Kingdom and Europe, is pleased to announce that it provided a tailored title insurance policy to facilitate the high-profile purchase of Dawnay Day’s UK portfolio of 223 commercial assets.

First Title Insurance, appointed by BDO Stoy Hayward LLP  the Receivers of the Dawnay Day companies – was employed to help the administrator overcome the challenges associated with the sale of such a significant portfolio, namely the costly and lengthy due diligence process. By offering First Title’s policy as part of the overall proposition, the Receivers made the sale of the property portfolio more attractive to potential purchasers.

By providing comprehensive title insurance through the creation of a bespoke policy, First Title Insurance enabled the legal due diligence element of the complex transaction to take place more quickly and efficiently. The policy overcame the lack of vendor’s title warranties in a typical sale by an administrator or receiver by guaranteeing title for the purchaser, F&C REIT Asset Management and its shareholders.

By employing a sampling approach, First Title Insurance enabled the deal’s lawyers to avoid the time-consuming process of trawling through every title document. This lengthy process was completed in a matter of days, subsequently guaranteeing the purchaser ownership, as well as ensuring that F&C REIT Asset Management avoided having to take a view of any known or unknown title issues. As a rule, speed, during this type of transaction, means that assets are less likely to decrease in value during the time it takes to complete the due diligence process.

Phillip Oldcorn, chief executive officer of First Title Insurance, says: “First Title’s facilitation of the Dawnay Day property deal demonstrates a new and successful way of handling such complex transactions with major benefits for all parties. BDO Stoy Hayward particularly benefited from the bespoke proposition, which enabled it to overcome the issues surrounding a lack of title warranties. The process also helped to make the assets more saleable and attractive for a purchaser and significantly increased the speed of the legal elements of the transaction. BDO Stoy Hayward had the added benefit of being able to include the cost of First Title’s policy in its recovery costs. Not only is this the first time that such a policy has been used as an allowable expense, but it is also the first time that an insurance policy had been used in this manner in an insolvency.

“First Title’s tailored approach has provided a blueprint for the future of single and multi-asset sales in recovery situations. During the current climate, risk management has never been more integral to such deals, and guaranteeing that the purchaser has good title goes a long way towards ensuring this.”

Shay Bannon, business restructuring partner at BDO Stoy Hayward, said: "Working in a professional and commercial partnership with First Title Insurance plc added a new dimension to this transaction. Using insurance enabled us to present these assets to prospective purchasers with the benefit of certain title, which would otherwise have been unavailable. We will definitely consider title insurance in all future sales of distressed assets, and would recommend First Title as our insurer of choice. Their speed of response and the flexibility of its products were first class."


 About First Title plc

First Title plc has nine offices throughout Europe — five offices in the United Kingdom and elsewhere in Germany, Poland, Hungary and Turkey — with more than 600 employees. It provides a wide range of innovative products that enable lawyers, mortgage lenders and estate agents to deliver more efficient and advanced service to their property clients.  First Title has a wide range of niche real estate-related insurance for legal ownership problems, pollution, credit issues and real estate tax risks.  More information about the company can be found at First Title is a wholly owned subsidiary of The First American Corporation (NYSE: FAF), a FORTUNE 500® company that traces its history to 1889. First American is America’s largest provider of business information, supplying businesses and consumers with valuable information products to support the major economic events of people’s lives.  Additional information about The First American Family of Companies can be found at


About BDO Stoy Hayward

BDO Stoy Hayward LLP operates across the UK with over 3,000 partners and staff. BDO Stoy Hayward LLP is a UK limited liability partnership and the UK Member Firm of BDO International. BDO international is a world-wide network of public accounting firms, called BDO Member Firms. Each BDO Member Firm is an independent legal entity in its own country. The network is coordinated by BDO Global Coordination B.V., incorporated in The Netherlands, with its statutory seat in Eindhoven (trade register registration number 33205251) and with an office at Boulevard de la Woluwe 60, 1200 Brussels, Belgium, where the International Executive Office is located. In the UK the Belfast Firm is operated by a separate Partnership known as BDO Stoy Hayward - Belfast.


BDO Stoy Hayward LLP and BDO Stoy Hayward - Belfast are both authorised and regulated by the Financial Services Authority to conduct investment business.

BDO Stoy Hayward LLP and BDO Stoy Hayward - Belfast are both authorised and regulated by the Financial Services Authority to conduct investment business.

BDO Stoy Hayward is an award winning firm.  Recent achievements include:

  • Best Workplace UK - Financial Times 2008
  • Audit Team of the Year – Accountancy Age Awards 2008
  • Tax Team of the Year – Accountancy Age Awards 2008
  • Corporate Finance Deal of the Year – Accountancy Age Awards 2008
  • 100 Best Companies to Work For - The Sunday Times 2008
  • The Women of Achievement Award –  Women in the City 2008
  • Business Superbrand - Business Superbrands 2008



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