Who Are We and What We Do
Membership and Regulation
The IPA is a membership organisation for those in insolvency practice or involved in insolvency-related work. It has around 2,000 individual and firm members and students. In terms of the number of IPs regulated it is the second largest of the four Recognised Professional Bodies (RPBs) recognised by the Secretary of State for Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS), under the Insolvency Act 1986 for the purposes of authorising and regulating insolvency practitioners (IPs) in the UK. It is the only one of the bodies solely involved in insolvency. Additionally, we undertake monitoring and inspection activities under contract for those practitioners authorised by the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants (ACCA).
Our principal aim is to promote and maintain high standards of performance and professional conduct amongst those engaged in insolvency (and related) practice. We also look to encourage wider knowledge and understanding of insolvency within and outside the insolvency profession through access to our qualifications and membership and through exposure and discussion of insolvency issues which affect the profession, its stakeholders and the general public.
The IPA maintains a leading role in the development of professional insolvency standards. Our IPs are licensed in relation to formal insolvencies conducted in England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland on the basis of extensive experience and having passed exacting insolvency and related examinations. IPs are required to maintain their knowledge and understanding while licensed through continuing professional education programmes. Our IPs are subject to annual review/renewal of their licences and three-yearly inspections focussed on professional standards, quality and value.
Volume Provider Regulation Scheme
In early 2019, the IPA introduced a bespoke new regulatory regime for its Volume Provider firm members. In a new market trend, these firms were administering Individual Voluntary Arrangements (IVAs) and Scottish Protected Trust Deeds (PTDs) at significantly higher volumes than ever before seen in the profession. In response, the IPA developed the Volume Provider Regulation (VPR) Scheme.
We are encouraged by the agile and much improved regulatory oversight provided by the Scheme, which now covers nearly 70% of the IVA market and 57% of the PTD market.
The first benchmark report on the Scheme was published in February 2020 and can be viewed here.
Joint Insolvency Examination
We are one of the entry bodies for the Joint Insolvency Examination (JIE), which is required for those who wish to become an IP. There are some 200 students sitting the JIE each year.
Certificate of Proficiency in Insolvency
The IPA has developed and administers the Certificate of Proficiency in Insolvency (CPI), the Certificate of Proficiency in Personal Insolvency (CPPI) and the Certificate of Proficiency in Corporate Insolvency (CPCI) examinations, aimed at those involved in insolvency administration or insolvency related work, leading to a qualification which is recognised throughout the insolvency profession and now more widely in related fields of work. They are set at a level equivalent to an A-level.
Fixed Charge Receiver Registration Scheme
We have also developed and jointly administer with NARA and the Royal Chartered Institute of Surveyors a fixed charge receiver registration scheme for those specialising in fixed charge receiverships which fall outside the statutory framework for which an insolvency authorisation is required. The IPA provides a secretariat service in respect of the scheme.
We publish an annual Insolvency Practitioners’ Handbook, which draws together the Ethics Code, SIPs and other regulatory guidance to which our IPs are expected to adhere into one convenient volume. We also produce email updates to members on developments within the profession.
Continuing Professional Education
The IPA offers a wide range of events and courses which qualify as structured CPE. These include an Annual Conference, Personal Insolvency Conference and a series of Regional Roadshows. Other courses and events are run throughout the year and members will receive periodic email notifications.
Additionally, the IPA operates an online learning platform, The Excellent IP, providing distance learning CPE. The Excellent IP platform hosts conference footage, technical training and business skills courses for insolvency professionals.
The Joint Insolvency Committee (JIC), made up of the five RPBs and The Insolvency Service, is responsible for the development and agreement of profession-wide Statements of Insolvency Practice (SIPs), Code of Ethics and other guidance. The IPA plays an active part in that committee.
The IPA also issues guidance to members, such as that issued in 2016 in respect of the Code of Ethics and participates in a number of external stakeholder groups, such as the IVA Standing Committee.
In addition to our regulatory responsibilities, the IPA is a listed Anti-Money Laundering (AML) Professional Body Supervisor (PBS), meaning that the IPA is responsible for monitoring our members’ compliance with money laundering regulations when carrying out their insolvency and advisory work.
We are members of external committees that deal with AML, including the Consultative Committee of Accountancy Bodies, a forum with the aim of working together for the benefit of the profession, wider economy and the public interest; and the Accountancy Affinity Group, made up of professional bodies working in collaboration to maintain consistent standards and best practice. We also support the Government’s Flag it Up campaign.
Click here to visit the AML section of our website.