Insolvency monitoring visit process
All insolvency practitioners (IPs) who take insolvency appointments need to have a monitoring visit.
In addition to conducting monitoring of its own authorised IPs, ICAS also undertakes all of the insolvency monitoring on behalf of the Chartered Accountants Regulatory Board (CARB) of the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Ireland.
How often are insolvency monitoring visits carried out?
All IPs who take insolvency appointments must be visited at least once in every three years.
If an IP receives an unsatisfactory report, the ICAS Authorisation Committee has the authority to, and may instruct a follow-up visit. The cost of this additional visit being borne by the IP.
IPs who have recently been authorised and are not part of a larger organisation will also receive an early first visit.
How are IPs selected for a visit?
The actual timing of the monitoring visit will depend on risk, based on assessment of:
- The timing and outcome of past monitoring visits;
- Information from the Annual Application for an Insolvency licence; and
- Information from other sources (e.g. monthly bordereaux, complaints, in-house database).
If the Committee has requested a visit (for example, as a result of a complaint, or a follow-up visit to follow up on a previous unsatisfactory monitoring visit) then the IP will usually be informed of this.
How are IPs notified of the visit?
IPs are advised by letter approximately eight weeks in advance of a visit taking place. The letter will include details of the proposed visit date and the name of the reviewer. Wherever possible all communication with IPs is by email.
The Insolvency Manager should be notified immediately of any objections to the date of the visit or the named reviewer and the request will be considered.
In addition to the visit notification letter, each IP will receive a Pre Visit Questionnaire (PVQ). IPs are requested to submit the completed PVQ and supporting documentation by the deadline intimated in the visit notification letter: this enables the reviewer to consider the IP's procedures prior to attending the visit and will also enable initial case selection in advance of the visit.
What is the visit process?
Before the on-site visit
The reviewer will telephone the IP approximately one week before the visit to confirm the arrangements for the visit. Any urgent queries before the pre visit call can be answered by the Insolvency Manager on 0131 347 0288.
An initial meeting will be held with the IP (and possibly with other compliance staff) with the purpose of enabling the reviewer to understand the insolvency practice and to assess the risks that will require to be addressed during the visit.
The reviewer will conduct risk based case selection. The number and extent of files reviewed will vary with each visit. The reviewer will pass his/her written findings on each case reviewed to the IP who will respond to the points in writing. Each case will then be discussed between the IP and the reviewer in detail, in order to obtain agreement on the main file findings.
In addition to the review of the case files, the reviewer will review the systems and procedures used in administering the insolvency cases and other matters (for example: clients monies compliance, anti money laundering, CPD).
When the fieldwork has been completed, the reviewer will then draw together the findings.
If issues or shortcomings are identified, the reviewer will assess how the IP has dealt with the problems, or if they have not yet been dealt with, will try to find the underlying causes, and then seek his/her action plan and initial responses. The reviewer will seek to be helpful and may make suggestions and provide advice on suitable remedial action.
What is the process after the visit?
The reviewer completes the visit file and writes the final report. Every visit file is then reviewed as part of ICAS' internal review procedures, to ensure that all IPs are treated correctly, and in accordance with our monitoring procedures.
Insolvency monitoring has a target of 20 business days from the date of the closing meeting or receipt of final visit information in which to submit the final report to the IP. Upon receipt of the report the IP will have 14 days in which to respond with his/her comments. The report and the IP's comments will be placed before the next Committee meeting for its consideration.
What happens after the visit?
When the IP will hear about the outcome of the visit will depend on whether there is anything to follow up on post visit or if the insolvency licence will continue without any additional information being provided to the Committee.
The Committee meets six times throughout the year.
Any concerns about the delay in hearing back after a visit should be referred to the Insolvency Manager on 0131 347 0288 or firstname.lastname@example.org .
Some visits require further information, and the IP may be asked for some further submissions to evidence improvements made or actions taken e.g. CPD records, in which case the Committee writes to the IP requesting that such information is submitted by a specified deadline.
Once the Committee is satisfied with all the information submitted, the IP will be notified that the visit is completed.
When is follow-up action required?
The Committee may decide because there are serious matters or areas that give cause for concern in the report that further action is required by the IP. In these circumstances, the IP will be advised in writing of the committee's decision.
Further action imposed by the Committee could include, for example:
- Instructing the reviewer to carry out a follow-up visit;
- Asking the IP to attend a sub committee meeting to explain the findings and action plan directly to the Committee;
- Asking the IP to supply further information to show that proposed actions were successful;
- Restrictions being imposed e.g. the IP may be restricted from accepting new insolvency appointments; or
- In very serious cases, the insolvency licence could be suspended or even withdrawn.
The Committee has the power to withdraw an insolvency licence and consequently, as an RPB, is required to notify The Insolvency Service of its actions.
If it believes that the public interest would be best served by publication, the Committee may publish, in such manner as it sees fit, decisions to withdraw insolvency licences as per the Insolvency Regulations.
If the IP is not happy with the decision taken, there is a hearing and appeal procedure. If appropriate, details will be sent with the Committee's decision letter. The IP has the opportunity to appear before the Committee and be legally represented.
Download Insolvency regulations PDF [225 KB]