Creditors of failed Lloyd 's broker Collard & Partners could be left high and dry, according to the administrator.
A management buy-out took business with a fee of up to £1.25m linked to its profits over the next five years.
But joint administrator Jeremy Willmont of Moore Stephens warned that there would probably be insufficient cash to pay off all creditors.
He said:"At the moment I can 't say how much people will be paid, but it 's unlikely that everyone will be paid in full." He would keep only a "handful " of staff to help with the clean-up operation.
Collard was established in 1996 as a marine specialist with business largely from Asia. It employed 38 people when it last reported accounts on 31 March 2001.It was put into administration on 28 March.
Willmont said: "We aren't looking at the business continuing trading so staffing is one thing we are considering at the moment.
"There will be some redundancies. The staff are aware of the position."
The last accounts show Collard 's expenses in 2001,at £3.4m,were greater than its turnover, at £2.9m.
During the period, the company 's salary bill grew to £1.4m from £1m as it took on an eight new brokers.
But the extra manpower failed to translate into greater turnover. The turnover divided by the number of brokers was £176,000 in 2000 and £146,000 in 2001.
Total losses after tax increased to £389,000 in 2001 from £89,000 the year before.
During 2002 Collard is believed to have lost a major marine contract and a team of non-marine brokers. Joint administrator Phillip Sykes of Moore Stephens said in a statement: "The objective of the administration order is to avoid liquidation and develop proposals for either a company voluntary arrangement under the Insolvency Act or a scheme of arrangement under the Companies Act.
"The next stage is to carry out a detailed review of the company's IBA account and present proposals to creditors within the next three months."