The Insolvency Service
HC 198, Sixth Report of Session 2008-09 - Report, Together with Formal Minutes, Oral and Written Evidence
- House of Commons - Business and Enterprise Committee
- TSO (The Stationery Office)
With the economic downturn there has been an alarming increase in the number of companies entering liquidation and unprecedented numbers of people are being made bankrupt. The Business and Enterprise Committee decided to review the work of the Insolvency Service and found it to operate in a generally efficient and effective way.
The investigation, though, uncovered concerns about the insolvency regime. Public confidence in the insolvency regime will be damaged unless prompt, robust and effective action is taken to ensure that pre-pack administrations (when a company's business and assets are sold on terms that were negotiated between the buyer and the administrator before the company formally entered administration) are transparent and free from abuse. This causes particular outrage where the existing management buy back the business and continue to trade clear of the original debts ('Phoenix pre-packs'). Pre-packs of this kind fuel concerns about illegitimate, self-serving alliances between directors and insolvency practitioners.
Other findings and recommendations include:
The interests of unsecured trade creditors must take a higher priority, especially in 'phoenix' pre-pack administrations. The Committee welcomes the new practice statement, Statement of Insolvency Practice 16, which aims to increase the transparency of pre-packs. Monitoring of its implementation, in the recession, becomes a matter of considerable urgency.
Insolvency practitioners' remuneration is perceived as unduly high by many creditors: the Insolvency Service should publicise the results of its monitoring to see whether insolvency practitioners are complying with the current practice statement governing the approval of their fees.
The Department for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform must ensure the Service's funding arrangements are sufficiently robust to handle the very high levels of insolvency.
|Format||Paperback||Published||06 May 2009|
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