Phew, September went quickly, didn’t it?! Apologies for our silence – it’s been a busy month!
This is a brief summary of the must-haves for this season and where to go for more information.
Given that we’re expecting a new SIP9 to be issued by 2 November, there’s probably little sense in fretting right now about what we need to do to seek fees in excess of an estimate and how we need to change our progress reports.
However, we will need to be prepared for new appointments. The Compliance Alliance document packs have been amended to deal with these for CVLs and Administrations and we have provided key items also for Bankruptcies and Compulsories.
For CVLs, our document packs give you the choice of seeking approval at the S98 meeting or afterward by postal resolution. Although you will have seen Dear IP’s attempt to assure us that a S98 resolution on fees is not intended to be precluded, I have yet to meet an IP who is planning to rely on this guidance… not yet anyway.
New Creditors’ Guides to Fees
R3 has produced new Oct-15 Guides to Fees, which are available – along with the previous Guides – at: https://www.r3.org.uk/what-we-do/publications/professional/fees. We have incorporated these changes in our document packs also.
R3 has also promised to issue its own guidance following the release of the revised SIP9, which sounds interesting…
Practical Information on the Fees Rules
You may have already listened to my webinar, recorded for the ICAEW, which is still available for free at: http://www.ion.icaew.com/insolvencyblog/post/Access-the-recording-of-our-recent-webinar-on-fee-estimates. I confess that this was quite an in-depth examination of the new Rules – it is still generally relevant (despite the more recent Dear IP), but perhaps a little light on practical content.
At the R3 London Regional meeting last week, I presented on what I hope addressed the far more pressing question, “how do we meet the rules in practice now?”
This seemed to go down well, so I am planning to present a webinar on a similar vein for The Compliance Alliance, which will be available from 12 October 2015. I will focus on how to deal practically with the immediate effects of the new Rules.
To sign up to the webinar (£25+VAT per person), please email email@example.com. Firm-wide annual subscriptions to our growing library of webinars (future topics include SIP9 and SIP16) are also available.
The most obvious practical effect of SIP1 is the need to add reference to being bound by the Insolvency Code of Ethics in your first communication with creditors (again, dealt with in our document packs).
The requirement to report IPs has got many people talking, although I sense that many think there will be few occasions when they will have sufficient evidence of non-compliance discrediting the profession that merits a report.
In my mind, SIP1 poses the question of how you “report” an IP to his/her authorising body. The SIP seems to provide alternatives of the Complaints Gateway or direct to the RPB. I have asked the main RPBs how they would treat a direct report, given that they are required to put all complaints through the Gateway: would a direct report be treated differently? With the exception of someone from the ACCA, I have yet to receive any responses.
No More IP Case Record!
Fantastic news, isn’t it?!
If your staff haven’t already clocked it, then make sure that they know so that they can avoid wasting time updating, printing and filing IP Case Records – for all cases, past, present and future.
If you have time, you might also like to remove reference to maintaining these Records from checklists, case review templates, diaries and task lists.
The new Regulations state that IPs must “maintain records containing information sufficient to show and explain the administration of that case […]; and any decisions made by the insolvency practitioner which materially affect that case”. The RPB monitors that I’ve spoken to do not seem too excited by this “new” requirement, as they believe that it doesn’t add more of a record-keeping burden than existed already.
Changes to Administration Entry
Schedule B1 para 26 has been amended to put the brakes finally on the Minmar rollercoaster.
Now, where there is no one entitled to appoint an Administrator or Administrative Receiver, there is no need to issue a Notice of Intention to Appoint an Administrator. Therefore, if the directors want to appoint an Administrator and there is no floating charge-holder (and no winding-up petition), they should be able to go straight to the Notice of Appointment.
Although solicitors are generally instructed to help appoint Administrators, you might like to revisit your pre-appointment exchanges with directors to make sure they reflect the changes.
Changes to Personal Insolvency Thresholds
Certain thresholds have changed, so you might like to check that these are reflected in your websites, decision trees and advice guidance:
- The minimum level of creditor’s claim for bankruptcy petitions increases from £750 to £5,000.
- The maximum debt level for individuals seeking a DRO is now £20,000 (up from £15,000) and their maximum asset value level is now £1,000 (up from £300).
A Plethora of Miscellaneous Changes
Plenty of other parts of the SBEE and Deregulation Acts came into force today, including:
- Giving Administrators the power to bring wrongful and fraudulent trading actions;
- Giving Administrators and Liquidators the power to assign rights of action in relation to preferences, transactions at an undervalue, wrongful/fraudulent trading etc.;
- Setting out that the proceeds of any such claims (whether assigned or dealt with by the office holder) will not be available for floating charge-holders; and
- Changes to the process of claw-back of bankruptcy after-acquired property from banks.
A comprehensive summary of these changes – as well as those regarding the continuation of essential supplies in insolvencies – are provided in R3’s Technical Bulletin 112 and (less successfully, in my opinion) in Dear IP 68.