Insolvency Committee - Year in review
Find out what the ICAS Insolvency Committee has achieved and been involved in as Donald McNaught CA reviews his first year as committee convener.
Having been Convener of the ICAS Insolvency Committee for a year I thought it would be useful to reflect on the work the committee has being doing on behalf of members in particular and the profession as a whole.
The committee meets four times a year to consider proposed changes to legislation, debate technical issues, and input to courses and conferences on insolvency topics. It acts as a sounding board and provides guidance to the ICAS secretariat who liaise with both the Westminster and Scottish Parliament, related government agencies and other organisations on behalf of the members. Learn more about the committee’s objectives.
The work of the committee and ICAS secretariat has produced many positive outcomes over the year. These include
- Having legislation amended as it makes its way through parliament.
- Influencing the development of SIPs and the wider standards of the profession.
- Providing influential comment on insolvency policy through consultation responses.
The ability of the committee to influence and achieve change has been greatly assisted by the creation of a Director of Insolvency role which David Menzies took up early in 2015. The benefits of this investment by ICAS have been highly visible during the year and that benefit will continue into the future.
Further areas of the committee’s work are summarised below.
Looking forward, the committee will focus on supporting the ICAS as the "Regulator of Choice" initiative as we look to develop ways of attracting new IP members to ICAS. We shall also look to work in a collaborative manner with the R3 Scottish Technical Committee, the Law Society of Scotland and other stakeholders to identify key areas requiring change which would benefit the industry and/or improve working practices of IPs as a whole. Any suggestions you wish to put forward will be welcome.
What next for the profession?
Recent years have brought much change to the profession. It could be said that with the falling number of both personal and corporate insolvencies the market is in a state of flux. Your feedback is invited on where you see the profession heading particularly with partial licensing, perception, political intervention. What opportunities are there for the profession to re-generate itself?
To ensure that the committee reflects accurately and fully the views of the IP community I would encourage you to engage with us as much as possible by sharing your experiences and opinions on profession-related matters either by contacting myself or David Menzies, Director of Insolvency.
On behalf of ICAS we have responded to a number of consultations issued by the Insolvency Service, The Law Commission, the Scottish Law Commission and the Scottish Government. Our submissions have been referenced in official responses demonstrating our increasing influence in the insolvency and restructuring arena. A number of the suggestions we put forward on the draft Public Services Reform (Insolvency)(Scotland) Order were taken on board in the final document. Due to time constraints other suggestions made in our response were unable to be addressed and will be looked at when the opportunity to introduce amendments next arises.
Through JIC the Committee has approved and issued amended SIPs in relation to Ethics (SIP1)
- Strengthening the requirement to report misconduct of an IP irrespective of which RPB they are regulated by.
- Strengthened requirements to act within the Code of Ethics around transparency to creditors and to provide information relating to threats and safeguards applied in relation to the fundamental principles.
Employee Redundancy Support – PACE
A Memorandum of Understanding has been agreed between ICAS and Partnership Action for Continuing Employment (PACE) through the Scottish Government. This was announced by Fergus Ewing MSP, Minister for Business, Energy and Tourism at the Insolvency and Restructuring Conference last November. The MoU extends the engagement beyond IPs to ICAS members as a whole, many of whom offer advice to businesses in financial difficulty and which may be considering making redundancies.
Accountant in Bankruptcy
Close collaboration with the AiB has produced guidance on the AiB’s account audit process, Notes for Guidance on Sequestration and Notes for Guidance on Trust Deeds which have improved the working relationship between the Agency and stakeholders.
Consumer Credit Licensing
A meeting with the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) in May 2015 achieved a helpful outcome on the insolvency exclusion provided within the Consumer Credit Licensing (CCL) regime. Confirmation was received that the Part XX exemptions under the Financial Services and Market Act 2000 can be applied to insolvency work which is incidental to other professional services (not requiring a CCL) are being carried out. This is of particular relevance when providing debt advice. A number of practical issues still remain to be resolved and work is ongoing.
Conferences and courses
A successful Discussion Group for corporate insolvency specialists held in May 2015 addressed among other things what the future of the profession might be going forward taking account of the introduction of partial licensing and other legislative changes. Invitations for this year’s Discussion Group are expected to be extended shortly.
There was a change to the format for the Insolvency and Restructuring Conference in November 2015. The new format of main keynote speaker sessions combined with a choice of breakout sessions split between corporate and personal insolvency was well received. There was also an audio-visual session via Skype with the Australian Restructuring Insolvency and Turnaround Association.