A Brief History of the IPA
The IPA was formed in 1961 as a discussion group of accountants specialising in insolvency. Over the early years, it grew in numbers and stature as the body of the insolvency profession. It was incorporated under its present name in 1973.
During the 1970s and early 1980s, as insolvencies increased and more became involved in being appointed as trustees and liquidators, concerns emerged about the activities of a small number of them and their impact on the profession and its reputation. Those concerns were looked into by a Government Committee chaired by Sir Kenneth Cork as part of a wide ranging review of the insolvency framework; and it led to a recommendation, enacted in the Insolvency Act 1986, for a statutory authorisation regime for practitioners.
The IPA was designated one of seven recognised professional bodies for the purposes of authorising and regulating insolvency practitioners: it is the only body whose membership is wholly of those involved in insolvency administration or insolvency-related work or interested in insolvency.
Following the introduction of authorisations, the IPA was instrumental in forming the Society of Practitioners of Insolvency as a separate organisation to co-ordinate across the profession the representation of insolvency practitioners, training and technical guidance and advice. The Society was subsequently renamed the Association of Business Recovery Professionals (known as R3 – Rescue Recovery and Renewal) to reflect the increasing use of both formal and informal reorganisation and turnaround procedures for failing businesses.
The IPA was the first of the bodies to put in place insolvency-specific Professional Conduct and Ethics Guidance and has been at the forefront in setting standards for the insolvency profession, now through the Joint Insolvency Committee of the bodies. It has also led the profession in the development of examinations for those in insolvency practice and involved in insolvency-related work.
The IPA first launched an insolvency-specific examination in 1981, at a time when the accountancy bodies were removing insolvency papers from their examinations, and provided opportunities for those who were not members of those bodies to advance their careers in the insolvency profession through a recognised examination. The examination became the basis in 1989 of the profession-wide Joint Insolvency Examination, which is the standard qualification to become an insolvency practitioner.
Recognising that there remained a studying and qualification gap for those involved in case administration and insolvency-related work, it then introduced the Certificate of Proficiency in Insolvency (CPI); and more recently with the growth of personal insolvency and the increasing range of statutory and non-statutory debt relief/repayment solutions, the Certificate of Proficiency in Personal Insolvency (CPPI). The CPI and CPPI Examinations are now open to anyone who wishes to take it, as part of the IPA’s move to widen access to understanding and knowledge of insolvency, which has become an increasing feature of both business and consumer worlds.