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As a new year begins, Chris Laughton, partner at Mercer & Hole, andMark Sands, partner at Baker Tilly Creditor Services LLP, share their corporate andpersonal insolvency thoughts andpredictions for 2015.
Chris Laughton: Most of our corporate insolvency instructions come via professional advisers, often solicitors or accountants who see the need for our specialist skills, but ultimately we are instructed by management, creditors or other stakeholders. Our sources of work in 2014 were similar to previous years, although the continued decline in bank instructions to firms on their panels led to more competition in the non-bank sector as bank panel insolvency practitioners (IPs) looked for work elsewhere.
Mark Sands: We are a largely creditor-led practice so most of our bankruptcy instructions came from creditors in 2014. These include high street banks, financiers, trade suppliers, local authorities andindividuals--in many cases introduced to us by their legal advisors.
Chris Laughton: The current trend is for fewer corporate insolvencies. I estimate a total of around 33,000 for 2014, which is about 75% of the peak in 2009. Interest rates are generally expected to start to rise in late 2015 andUK GDP growth is currently expected to be slightly lower than in 2014. However, neither factor is sufficiently soon or severe to reverse the downward corporate insolvency trend. Some industries will face challenges. Oil andgas production anddistribution start the year with uncomfortably low commodity prices, while new retail delivery demands caught out City Link in an example of the impact of rapid structural change, which will not always be technology related. 2015 will bring uncertainties—and hence more risk of insolvency—caused by the general election, continuing economic weakness in Europe, tensions in the Middle East, the risk of financial
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Stephen qualified as a solicitor in 2005 and joined the Restructuring and Insolvency team at Lexis®PSL in September 2014 from Shoosmiths LLP, where he was a senior associate in the restructuring and insolvency team.
Primarily focused on contentious and advisory corporate and personal insolvency work, Stephen’s experience includes acting for office-holders on a wide range of issues, including appointments, investigations and the recovery and realisation of assets (including antecedent transaction claims), and for creditors in respect of the impact on them of the insolvency of debtors and counterparties.
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