Paul Smith, CEO

Hello all.

To start, a note on the IPA’s Committees – given differences in jurisdictions and regional economic activity, we are particularly keen to ensure that the UK’s regions and devolved nations are well represented on our Committees. Committee positions are open, and if you are interested in volunteering, please contact Lyn Green, Head of Operations, on [email protected], and click here for further details.

Looking to recent reports of a 30% spike in insolvent companies, it is appropriate to remind members of the importance of resourcing and capability in insolvency teams to meet anticipated demand whilst also keeping risk under control.

You may want to consider training for members of your team, such as that provided by the IPA and our partners, and also signing up team members, who are ready, for the IPA Certificate of Proficiency in Insolvency (CPI) or Certificate of Proficiency in Personal Insolvency (CPPI) examinations.

Our IPA Learning webinars are designed to inform you on important issues that are relevant to your day-to-day work. Against the backdrop of conflict of interest issues that can arise when providing advice in insolvency work, the next IPA Learning module will concentrate on common themes identified by our Regulation and Monitoring team, and help identify the correct approach to giving advice in insolvency.

There is often discussion on the subject of reducing numbers of IPs, so I am always interested in how numbers are changing. Over the last five years, we have seen total numbers of IPs in the UK generally reduce, although that trend was reversed for 2021. As at January 2022, there were 1,541 registered IPs, against 1,570 in 2018, so numbers are reasonably steady, but it would be great to see the overall trend move back into positive territory. IPA Student member numbers fluctuate slightly year on year, but with an average of 157 students taking our exams each year from 2018-2021, we are still seeing plenty of people advancing their insolvency career who may join the ranks of IPs at a later stage.

I would also like to remind members of the continuing AML threat from Russia and the need to fully understand assets under clients’ ownership and control, and the impact on any insolvency appointments. With the sanctions situation very fluid, it is essential that Customer Due Diligence (CDD) policies include checking for updated sanctions and that checks are carried out on new appointments and where payments are due to be made to charge-holders, creditors and shareholders.

If you know or suspect that a breach of financial sanctions has taken place, you are legally required to report this to the Office of Financial Sanctions Implemenation (OFSI). It is also likely that a SAR and DAML request will need to be submitted.

There are also new, increased OFSI enforcement powers that were enacted recently – read more about this here.

Access a wide range of AML information and resources in the IPA’s AML Hub. Look out for our next free-to-members AML Essential Briefing that will look at the Russian sanctions situation in more detail – full information to be announced.

We also need our members’ views – I strongly encourage you, if you don’t already, to respond to questionnaires that we send out such as those post events, so that you can help us to shape the future direction of the IPA on different fronts. Look out for future surveys on different topics, and I emphasise that if you have any feedback to share with us at any time, this is welcomed and gratefully received at [email protected].

Paul