Restructuring & Insolvency end of year review—life in 2015

Restructuring & Insolvency end of year review—life in 2015

Our panel of experts looks back at the most important developments and challenges for restructuring & insolvency lawyers in 2015.

The experts:

Nick Hood, business risk adviser, Opus Restructuring, chartered accountant and former insolvency practitioner
Chris Laughton, partner, Mercer & Hole 
Mark Sands, partner, Baker Tilly Creditor Services LLP 
Frances Coulson

, senior partner, head of insolvency & litigation, Moon Beever Solicitors

A view from the market

What is your take on the restructuring & insolvency market in 2015?

Nick Hood: 2015 has been another depressing year for insolvency practitioners and restructuring professionals, with a further downward twist of the spiral of falling insolvency volumes and even fewer cases with any significant value of recoverable assets. Those stakeholders who traditionally have been instrumental in forcing struggling businesses to address their problems, such as the high street lenders and HMRC, have been even less proactive, turning it into a far less orderly market. One downside of leaving directors of businesses to reach out for specialist help has been a rise in disputes between members of management teams and among owners, especially with smaller SMEs, which delays decision-making at a key time and means that there are even fewer positive business rescue outcomes. But the good news is that without these pressures from creditors, more businesses are going the consensual workout route rather than taking the easy option of a formal insolvency. Insolvency practitioners have had to adapt their skill sets to deal with this change of emphasis.

How has the market changed over the past 12 months?

Nick Hood: IPs are faced with a level of disruption from legal and regulatory change not seen since the introduction of the Insolvency Act in 1986 and even more fundamental than the impact of the Enterprise Act 2000 in the early 2000s. Everywhere they turn, goalposts are being moved and the less sophisticated may not be quite sure where

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