The Insolvency Practitioners Association, the membership body and regulator for those specialising in insolvency practice, held its IPA annual conference at The Royal Institution in London on the 8th May 2014, with an audience of around 150 Insolvency Practitioners (IPs) and others in attendance.
The IPA is the only recognised professional body specialising solely in insolvency. Its principal aim is to promote and maintain standards of performance and professional conduct amongst those engaged in insolvency practice. The Theme of the Conference this year was The Changing Landscape for Insolvency Practitioners.
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The keynote speech was given by the BBC’s Business Reporter, Steph McGovern, on signs of recovery and the economic outlook generally, which included entertaining personal anecdotes based on her numerous interviews with business leaders across the UK.
Earlier, Nick Howard, Head of IP Regulation at the Government’s Insolvency Service, had begun the morning session with an informative update on the hot topics under review at the Insolvency Service, including the regulatory regime and IP fee structures. Following the regulatory theme, the Chief Executive of the Institute of Credit Management, Philip King, led a discussion on creditor expectations in insolvency cases whilst Raquel Agnello QC of Erskine Chambers and leading lay contributor on the IPA’s Investigation Committee provided insight into the role of lay members and the benefits their input can bring to regulation.
The morning session was concluded with announcements from the IPA’s Chief Executive, David Kerr, regarding the IPA’s move towards a lay majority in its complaints decision-making and new procedures being put in place to improve transparency and confidence in the complaints process.
New IPA President, Mark Fry of Begbies Traynor, said “This, and other steps we are taking to strengthen our complaints handling, will help us demonstrate impartiality in our processes and send a strong signal to Government and to those who use the complaints system that we are serious about taking the measures necessary to preserve and build greater confidence in the regulation regime.”
Mark Fry hosted a panel session with guest speakers from a leading commercial Bank, a venture capitalist fund and a peer to business lender. Discussions centred upon future lending sources for businesses and other factors affecting the changing landscape for IPs and their roles in helping companies and individuals in financial difficulty.
Mark Fry concluded the conference with his outlook for the forthcoming year. Mark anticipates a challenging year ahead for the insolvency profession and for the many businesses and individuals still struggling to pay-off debt, but is determined to ensure that the IPA continues to support its members, starting with a new series of regional roadshows next month in Bristol, Leeds and Manchester, the latter to include announcements from the Government’s review of pre-pack administrations.