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Michelle Thorp, CEO

Hello to you all. I hope that you have found the personal and professional adjustments into the UK’s lockdown measures to be relatively trouble-free and that you are managing well.

I hope that our weekly updates to you, our question and answer document and the other updates on the IPA website on Covid-19 have provided a useful overview and reference point for accessing further information on the various changes introduced. I also hope that the new regulatory measures that we have brought in have eased the burden and are helping you to carry out your work effectively. As we mentioned in our weekly updates, if you have any difficulties or have identified any further measures you think would be useful, please contact [email protected]. Click here to view the Covid-19 information on the IPA website.

Moving away from Covid-19, there is, as ever, more to update you on.

AGM

Last month, we successfully held the IPA’s first virtual AGM, and on a side note, several virtual committee meetings have also taken place, and we are very pleased with how these have been running – giving a boost to our faith in IT!

At the AGM, Carrie James handed over the Presidency for 2020/2021 to Kevin Hellard, Partner and Insolvency and Asset Recovery Practice Leader at Grant Thornton UK LLP. Once again, congratulations to Kevin on his Presidency!

Kevin’s Presidency means that Samantha Keen, Insolvency Practitioner at EY, COO of its UK & Ireland Transaction Advisory Services business, and previous Deputy Vice-President, is now Vice-President. We’ve welcomed a new Deputy Vice-President in Paul Davis, Partner at MacIntyre Hudson, prior Board member and chair of our Finance Committee. I look forward to working with all three over the coming year.

A huge thank you to Carrie for her service to the IPA in 2019/2020. She has done an excellent job in helping to steer us through a period of unprecedented change at the IPA, and on top of this, introduced our Charity of the Year initiative.

Kevin has selected Crisis as Charity of the Year 2020/21. We look forward to updating you on our fundraising efforts and encourage all members to get involved in any way they can. Further communications on this will follow.

Our 2019/2020 Annual Report went out ahead of the AGM. You can view this here if you haven’t already and read about the highlights of our year – our Volume Provider Regulation Scheme, insights from our committees, our Anti-Money Laundering role and our work to raise funds for the Trussell Trust to name a few.

Corporate Insolvency and Governance Bill

Back in April, we notified you of planned changes to corporate insolvency law. The Bill carrying these changes, the Corporate Insolvency and Governance Bill, has now been published. Earlier today, we emailed you with a notification of its publication and a summary of the measures contained in the bill. I hope that this is helpful.

Pre-Pack Pool

On 7 May, the Pre-Pack Pool oversight group, of which the IPA is part, wrote to Lord Callanan, Minister for Climate Change and Corporate Responsibility, to advise on implications we foresee if the Government does not introduce regulations on connected party pre-pack deals in administrations, which it has the power to do under the Small Business, Enterprise and Employment Act 2015. The power lapses on 25 May 2020.

We have drawn to Lord Callanan’s attention that, in its current form, the Pre-Pack Pool would be unsustainable beyond 31 August 2020. With no legal requirement for connected party purchases to be referred to the Pre-Pack Pool, referrals are low, and the Pool depends on income received from referrals from prospective purchasers, as well as funding from the stakeholders involved in running it, the IPA being one.

We have therefore recommended to Lord Callanan that the Government establishes concrete support for the Pool by way of a requirement for referral to the Pool (or other independent opinion providers) of connected party purchases and/or a level of direct funding.

Connected party purchases have come under scrutiny in recent times. An increase in support for the Pool from the Government would help to allay stakeholder concerns over these purchases. We expect, amid the pandemic, corporate insolvencies to increase in coming months, with a corresponding increase in connected party sales, which will bring the insolvency profession and the regulatory framework into the spotlight even more. We feel that allowing this important additional layer of independent scrutiny, which was instigated following an independent review commissioned by the Government into the issue, to fade away at this time will leave the Government open to criticism.

We will update you as this matter progresses.

That’s all from me for this month’s newsletter. Best wishes to you all from myself and the IPA team.