The IPA Volume Provider Regulation (VPR) Scheme 2020 benchmark report is out now – click here.

Michelle Thorp, CEO

Happy New Year all! Whilst it is unfortunate that we must begin the year with fresh restrictions, here’s to a more promising year – one in which, eventually, we hope to be able to put on the faintly familiar concept of in-person events, if the latest Covid response developments and good fortune are on our sides.

As I’ve mentioned before, maintaining wellbeing is a vital aspect of our personal and professional lives, let alone in the present context. Our vulnerability point of contact, Alan Limb, is available via [email protected] to speak to in confidence, should any member have concerns around vulnerability, whether personal or in relation to a colleague, client or others.

You may remember that, following the initial lockdown in March last year, we issued guidance for members on various matters affecting the profession and working through restrictions, including information we have from the Government, HMRC and others. The guidance is regularly updated and can be accessed here. Members are reminded that they remain responsible for their regulatory duties and requirements, and that there will be close scrutiny paid to how insolvency work is carried out – please do continue to uphold the very highest standards, even in these trying circumstances. If you need support, please get in touch.

I also have some new developments, both at the IPA and in the profession, to notify you of.

Young Professionals Networking Sub-Committee

I am excited by the establishment of a new Sub-Committee of our External Affairs and Member Services Committee. The Young Professionals Networking Committee comprises a number of members from the profession at various stages of their careers. The Committee is working to the goal of ensuring that we put on fabulous educational and social events for our student members, to assist them in their studies and develop their network and careers. Expect to hear more about our plans soon.

At the moment, the Committee, in partnership with the Secretariat, is planning a session on the rise of Cryptocurrency and its impact on insolvency, with a very highly regarded speaker in the profession. Details to be announced soon!   

AGM and Board and Committee member rotation

Our AGM will soon be upon us. You may be aware that this is the time when Board and Committee members are rotated.

The Board, made up of volunteers, is responsible for running the IPA, working in partnership with the Secretariat. The Board also works with our five Committees in carrying out its role.

Our five Commitees are: Regulation and Conduct, and Disciplinary and Appeals (which form the two tiers of the IPA’s regulatory Committees); Standards, Ethics and Regulatory Liaison; Finance and Risk; and External Affairs and Member Services. Read more about each Committee here.

Ahead of the AGM, we are on the lookout for prospective new Board and Committee members. Joining us in either capacity is an excellent way to complement your career through influencing the direction of regulation and the profession as a whole, as well as gaining unique, valuable insight, and new contacts. If you’re interested in an exciting new development in your career, contact Lyn Green, Head of Operations at [email protected].

New Ethics Code: Public Interest Code training

I am pleased to say that our 2021 events calendar kicks off later this month with two sessions on the new Ethics Code and public interest regulation – one closed session for our Volume Provider Regulation (VPR) Scheme members, and an open session for others.

After having established the VPR Scheme at the beginning of 2019 in response to the shift to volume management of IVAs by firms, we continue to seek further change in this sector, such as changes to the legal framework and other rules, to ensure that regulation continues to keep pace long term – all the more important when you consider that IVA uptake looks like it will increase considerably in the near future. I highly recommend that all those who are involved in the personal debt solutions space join us, in our capacity as the main regulator of IVAs, for what will be a deeply insightful session. Click here for more details and to book.

Amongst other articles in this month’s newsletter, we have notifications of new AML and sanctions requirements, which came into force as part of the completion of Brexit, as well as a reminder on the Standard Financial Statement – important to take note of. 

To finish my article this month, I am delighted by the confirmation that Crisis will remain our Charity of the Year in 2021/22. Now more than ever, charities such as Crisis depend on our support to help those in dire need amid the pandemic this winter. After having teamed up with a few members of the Secretariat to complete over 700 km of walking and running, as well as witnessing some spectacular dressing up to the nines for our Halloween quiz, I’m intrigued by what may come next!

My best wishes to all members as we navigate through this challenging winter. I look forward to updating you next month.

Michelle