Q2 2018 insolvency statistics – comments

Commenting on the Q2 2018 (April-June) England & Wales insolvency statistics (published this morning by the Insolvency Service), Stuart Frith, president of insolvency and restructuring trade body R3, says:

Corporate insolvencies

  • Corporate insolvencies fell by 12% in Q2 compared to Q1 2018 and rose by 12% compared to Q2 2017.

“While the dip in corporate insolvency numbers in the last quarter may surprise some, it is just one quarter. Insolvency numbers have bounced around from quarter to quarter in recent years, and the underlying trend remains slightly upwards. Insolvencies in the last quarter were much higher than they were this time last year.

“The fall from Q1 could be explained by the fact that corporate insolvencies often receive a bump in January to March as company directors take stock of their situation ahead of the end of the financial year.

“While there has been a lot of attention on ‘big name’ insolvencies since the start of the year, particularly on the High Street, it’s important to remember that one business’s struggles can have a serious knock-on effect on its suppliers and customers. Recent R3 research found that over a quarter (26%) of UK companies have suffered a hit to their finances following the insolvency of a customer, supplier or debtor in the last six months.

“R3’s members are reporting, for example, that they are receiving enquiries for advice and support from companies in industry sectors linked to retailers, such as recruitment agencies and shop fitters.

“Company Voluntary Arrangements (CVAs) have been getting plenty of headlines recently, and while numbers are slightly elevated compared to normal, they are down from last quarter and they still account for just 2% of all insolvencies. When looking at CVAs – and particularly when thinking about the knock-on effect of insolvencies on other businesses – it’s important to remember that CVAs often provide a better outcome for creditors, employees and other stakeholders than the alternatives of administration or liquidation, as shown by recent R3 research.

“All businesses are facing a range of pressures. Sluggish economic growth isn’t helping, while staff costs for many are greater than a year ago, following April’s increases in the National Living and Minimum Wages, with pensions auto-enrolment expenses also part of the picture. Business rates rises continue to be cited as a reason for business struggles, too.

“The sooner any businesses facing problems seeks advice from a qualified and professional adviser, the more options they will have to turn themselves around.”

Personal insolvencies

  • Personal insolvencies rose 4% from Q1 to Q2 2018, and are 27% higher than in the same quarter in 2017 (seasonally adjusted figures).

“Personal insolvency numbers have been on the rise since the second half of 2015, so while the latest quarter-on-quarter rise isn’t too surprising, it does underline that, for many people out there, financial stability is out of reach. The comparison with last year’s Q2 figures is especially stark.

“There are plenty of reasons why people might be feeling the pinch. Wage growth is barely higher than inflation, after a long period of real wage falls. Although unemployment is low, there are more people earning variable amounts in the gig economy, which can make budgeting difficult. Meanwhile, outstanding consumer credit volumes have been growing, as has the average amount of debt per head.

“The household saving ratio was lower in the first quarter of 2018, according to the latest statistics, and has been falling for the last couple of years. Across 2017 as a whole, the average household spent £900 more than it received in income – people’s safety nets are getting thinner.

“It’s important to remember that these statistics don’t tell the full story of personal insolvency as they don’t include the number of people in non-statutory debt management plans.

“Debt management plans are an agreement between an individual and their creditors to repay debt or a portion of debt over a set period of time, but, unlike statutory insolvency procedures, the agreements don’t automatically bind all creditors, there isn’t the automatic debt write-off you would get in bankruptcy or a Debt Relief Order, and the procedure isn’t necessarily overseen by a licensed insolvency practitioner.

“While debt management plans can be the best way of dealing with some people’s debts, little is known about the scale of their use. Although providers of these debt solutions are monitored by the FCA, there is still no reliable way of knowing how many people are in a debt management plan – and what the true extent of personal insolvency is in England and Wales.

“Although not yet near the highs seen a decade ago, the rise in personal insolvency numbers should make the Government sit up and take notice – the Q2 number is the highest it’s been for over six years. A long-mooted ‘breathing space’ is currently in the works, which would provide people in serious debt with a period where they are protected from creditor action, and where they can seek unpressured advice from an accredited source about their situation and possible solutions.

“This breathing space can’t come soon enough and there is widespread support for its introduction, so it’s unfortunate that the Government has decided to wait for the views of its new Single Financial Guidance Body before moving ahead. The new body is still in the process of being set up and won’t be properly up and running for some time yet.

“Anyone worried about their financial situation should seek guidance on ways forward from a reputable professional. There is help out there, and tackling problems rather than letting them spiral can be hard but ultimately well worth it.”

Lack of consumer finance options costing UK businesses £25bn

UK businesses could be losing out on over £25 billion in potential sales by not offering a range of consumer finance options, according to new research.

The findings were published in a report by specialist lending platform, Duologi, which looked at the current state of the consumer credit market and attitudes towards point-of-sale (POS) finance across a number of sectors. POS finance allows merchants – from retailers to health providers and travel companies – to offer their customers a loan to purchase a product or service.

The study, “Finding the right balance: the future of credit” revealed that more than three-quarters (78%) of consumers would consider purchasing through POS finance in the future – around 39million UK adults.

Of these, the average amount that each would be willing to borrow is £620, representing a potential £25 billion sales opportunity for merchants that implement this type of payment into their business model.

Consumer spending behaviour is also likely to favour merchants that offer POS finance options – helping to boost sales and reputation in a number of key ways.

Over a third (34%) of people said they would be more likely to spend with a business that offers POS finance options. With fierce competition throughout every sector as the UK economy fluctuates in confidence, this potential to boost traffic (both online and in-store) could be critical to a brand’s survival.

Customers also stated that POS finance options would be a key factor in deciding where to shop; 20% of people said that if a company didn’t offer flexible finance options, they would be more likely to go elsewhere.

Moreover, finance options can help to boost brand loyalty, with more than a quarter (28%) of people saying they would be more likely to return to a merchant that allowed them to borrow funds in this way.

A further 26% of people would be likely to spend more than originally planned if they found they could access a good amount of credit from a merchant.

Duologi co-CEO, Gary Little, commented: “Consumers are now more willing and able to borrow funds than ever before and as such, are demanding increasingly competitive credit options from lenders. There is clearly an enormous opportunity available for UK businesses to drastically boost bottom lines; one which many may not even realise they are missing out on.

“Fintech businesses are driving a transformation in the market. Whereas previous incarnations of consumer finance offerings may have been plagued by lengthy application processes or slow procedures, new platforms – built on powerful technology – are making this kind of transaction just as simple as paying on credit card, but with the flexibility to repay the cost in a way that suits customers’ needs.”

Duologi is led by co-CEOs, John Taylor and Gary Little, who between them count more than 50 years’ consumer lending experience at institutions such as Barclays and Close Brothers. Backed by global investment firm, Oaktree Capital, the company offers merchants the chance to increase their sales, boost customer satisfaction and grow profitability through the delivery of tailored point-of-sale finance options.

Parking operator says ethical debt recovery is vital for effective enforcement and encouraging behavioural change

“To deliver ethical and reliable debt recovery we need to be accountable, approachable and comply with best practice and regulatory requirements,” says Louis Ellis, Director of TRACE Debt Recovery UK.

“Of course, delivering excellent parking charge recovery rates is the primary objective. But, it’s not just a case of pursuing unpaid charges. We believe it’s vital to keep clients informed at all stages of the debt recovery process and to maximise direct contact with debtors so they are fully aware of their obligations, options and entitlements. And we are demonstrating how close engagement with client and debtor alike not only improves recovery rates but also reduces areas of potential conflict, frustration and discord.”

The refreshing approach employed by TRACE is helping to transform the effectiveness of debt recovery for car park operators and parking service providers right across the country. Frustrated with the delays and poor outcomes from previous debt recovery arrangements, Bournemouth-based Countrywide Parking Management (CPM) switched its debt recovery to TRACE earlier in 2017 and according to CPM’s co-Founder and Director, Tom Williams, the results over the past year have been “outstanding.”

“Our overriding goal is to provide estate and facilities managers with an effective solution to the recurring abuse and misuse of limited or restricted parking facilities,” says Williams.

“Our growth reflects our unwavering commitment to provide reliable permit schemes and very strict enforcement of all car parks we are assigned. But enforcement does not end with the issue of a Parking Charge Notice – it has to be followed through to ensure charges are paid or appropriate legal action is taken. Failure to enforce a justified PCN undermines even the most stringent car park enforcement arrangements. So reliable and robust debt recovery is absolutely vital.”

CPM recovers full payment within 14 days for 40% of the PCNs it issues. A further 25% are paid at the higher charge rate that applies up to 28 days and after issue of the Notice to Keeper and final demand.

The remaining 35% of outstanding PCNs are passed on to TRACE for debt recovery action. After verifying the accuracy of address for correspondence and updating details as required, TRACE makes direct contact with the motorist to emphasise the importance of settling the overdue payment and to explain the options available.

“We want to speak to people and we do everything we can to open and maintain constructive dialogue,” emphasises Louis Ellis. “Fairness and transparency are vital and we will always seek a resolution that reflects the requirements of both parties and takes full account of instances of vulnerability and potential sensitivity. After all, with one in ten of us changing our address every 2 years, there will always be instances where initial correspondence has inadvertently been sent to an old address. By providing an approachable and responsive service we are showing what can be achieved without resorting to litigation unless absolutely necessary.”

“Parking is not a civil liberty,” adds Williams. “Just like a motorist has to adhere to the rules of the road, so too do they have a responsibility to respect the parking regulations that apply in the area they have chosen to park their vehicle and any parking charges they incur through non-compliance. Only a very small percentage of motorists break the rules and only a small proportion of those that do receive a Parking Charge Notice.

However, pursuing unpaid PCNs encourages correct behaviours and helps to drive improved compliance by acting as a clear deterrent to anyone who might be tempted to ignore parking rules and restrictions.

“It is a time-consuming and specialist task, so it’s important operators like ourselves work with a trusted and industry-approved debt recovery partner that is committed to ethical practices and matching our commitment to service integrity. At all stages, however, the real-time remittance and status reports provided by TRACE help to ensure we are always aware of case progression and recovery rates and enable prompt and decisive actions to be taken at any time.”

Where motorists continue to ignore efforts to make contact, or are being obstructive, TRACE is authorised by its clients to instruct its litigation partner, BW Legal. Both companies then work together to select cases for litigation where there is a good prospect of successful recovery, using an analytical approach to interpret volume data while also adhering to regulatory compliance. “Many debt recovery companies will send out letters threatening court action, but never actually follow it through,” adds Ellis. “Such practices are principally unfair to members of the general public who may not be aware of their rights, and not only fall foul of The Consumer Protection from Unfair Trading Regulations 2008 but also risk a report being made to the Trading Standards Institute.

“BW Legal is a dual regulated company and its processes are designed to treat defendants in an ethical and fair manner, which reflects our own commitment to best practice. TRACE and BW Legal actively identify vulnerable individuals who may have become caught up in the process, and handle all cases with care and attention to ensure fairness, which ultimately protects the reputation of parking operators like CPM.”

Countrywide Parking Management provides car park management and enforcement services for clients in the residential, retail and commercial sectors all over the UK. In the majority of cases, its services are provided free of charge and all schemes – from warden patrols and ANPR enforcement to Pay and Display and full permit management – are tailored to meet the specific needs and priorities of clients.

Legal sector to benefit from fintech revolution led by Shieldpay

Shieldpay is set to transform the UK’s legal industry with its fully digital third-party managed accounts. Traditional providers are slow and expensive. Client money is often left in a ‘black hole’ leaving firms and clients in the dark about the location of funds and the status of the transaction. Shieldpay’s easy to use transparent payment solution means firms will no longer be restricted by traditional banking hours or have to complete lengthy paperwork to set up transactions and release client money. Shieldpay’s patented digital payments process increases the efficiency and transparency of the handling of client money, offering full visibility on the status of funds, with real-time notifications that will benefit both lawyers and their clients alike.

A report from the Solicitors Regulatory Authority[1] revealed that money laundering reports from law firms are up 67% over the past 15 month. Cyber-crime is also up 50% year-on-year, reaching a record level of 157 cases in 2017 with £20m of client money lost across two years. Shieldpay’s technology mitigates the risk of this happening, as the platform verifies all parties involved with robust bank-grade identity checks. Client money is then held in the secure Shieldpay vault and is only released when authorised by both sides, or at a pre-agreed milestone throughout the legal process.

Third party managed accounts are being adopted for on-going legal services as firms are encouraged not to handle client money by insurers and regulators alike. This shift, coupled with the demand for a digital third party managed accounts, has seen a number of law firms already join Shieldpay, including Evolve Family Law, The Legal Director and Lexoo as a legal marketplace.

Tom Squire, Enterprise Director Shieldpay, comments: “The handling of client money used to be a time consuming and archaic practice. Our new digital solution means that firms and their clients have full transparency over the status of client money at any point in time.

Traditional payments processors often came at a high cost and with less visibility, but our custom-built platform means that firms can reduce costs and provide a transparent solution that will benefit their clients.”

Robin Charrot, Co-Founder at Evolve Family Law, comments: “We’re excited to be one of the first in the industry to partner with Shieldpay and its innovative digital solution. While the traditional use of escrow or third party managed accounts is slow and expensive, Shieldpay’s digital solution is an industry game changer that means we can provide increased visibility to our clients over the status of their funds.”

James Mallender, Director at The Legal Director, comments: “Working with Shieldpay’s instant digital escrow facility means that our clients, whether they are buying or selling, can trade with ease, speed and confidence with real-time visibility over the status of their money. Shieldpay is a welcome innovation to the industry that will benefit our firm and clients alike.”

Daniel van Binsbergen, CEO of Lexoo, comments: “As the world’s biggest legal marketplace, we are committed to offering our clients and lawyers cutting-edge solutions that enable cost-effective, transparent and secure transactions to take place on the Lexoo platform. Shieldpay’s solution is a perfect fit for our platform, and we’re looking forward to rolling out this offering to our 750+ lawyers operating in over 51 jurisdictions.”

As well as managing client money for law firms, Shieldpay’s instant digital escrow facility can accelerate multi-million-pound M&A deals and real estate transactions, with Shieldpay having powered the UK’s first fully digital real estate transaction in recent months.

Anglia appoints new business development manager

Vehicle credit management specialist, Anglia UK, is continuing to expand with the appointment of a new business development manager.

Nathan Keegan joins the fast growing business with some 20 years’ experience in the motor finance industry. Prior to joining Anglia he was responsible for sales at the VW Group’s MAN Heavy Truck Division.

During his career, Nathan has also worked in the prestige dealer retail sector, specialising in finance, leasing and contract hire, and as the regional operations manager for BMW’s government sales division.

Nathan’s appointment follows the creation earlier this year of a new sales director role, which was filled by former RBS senior manager, Duane Snelling.

Nathan said: “Over the past 21 years Anglia has established a reputation within the finance industry for achieving first class results while always putting the customer first. There is huge potential to grow the business further and I’m very much looking forward to playing my part in this.”

Sales Director Duane Snelling added: “Nathan is an experienced and highly accomplished sales professional. He understands the skills and values that set us apart from the competition and we are delighted to have him on board.”

Anglia offers a range of services to the car finance industry including: vehicle and asset repossession; transport and logistics; dealership auditing and arrears management. It is also one of a handful of firms to achieve both ISO 9001 and ISO 27001 in recognition of its world-class standards.

Proposed acquisition of Norfin Investimentos S.A. and Trading Statement

Arrow Global announces the proposed acquisition of Norfin Investimentos S.A (“Norfin”), a leading manager of real estate investments in Portugal.

This acquisition further strengthens Arrow Global’s asset management and investment capabilities, is highly complementary to Arrow’s existing Whitestar platform, and will allow the Group to offer a comprehensive set of servicing solutions to investors in Portugal.

Due to Norfin’s ownership of a regulated fund manager, Norfin Sociedade Gestora de Fundos de Investimento Imobiliários, S.A, the transaction is subject to a regulatory change of control approval by the Bank of Portugal and is expected to complete by the end of 2018.

Transaction details

Arrow Global has agreed terms to acquire Norfin for an upfront purchase price of £15.1m.

Norfin is owned by its founding shareholders João Brion Sanches (CEO), Alexandre Relvas and Felipe de Botton. Norfin’s primary business activity is the management of closed-end real estate funds in Portugal.

The acquisition will be funded in cash from existing Group resources, with £15.1m paid on closing. In addition, an earn-out related to shares acquired from the Sellers is provided, which will be capped at £29.4m and is payable in 2021 dependent on business performance up to the year ending 2020.

The transaction is expected to be earnings accretive in 2019.

Highlights: About Norfin

· Norfin is a leading manager of real estate investments (residential and commercial) via closed-end funds. It has €1.5bn of assets under management

· Norfin has built a first-rate reputation and track record, having been recognised by Euromoney as the Best Real Estate Investment Manager in Portugal for the last 12 consecutive years

· For the year ended 31 December 2017, Norfin’s audited revenues were €6.7m, with €2.1m profit before tax. Total assets were €12.2m. The acquisition is expected to further increase the weighting of Arrow Global’s capital-light asset management revenues, which for the year ended 31 December 2017, accounted for 22.3% of the Group’s total revenues

· Norfin’s highly experienced, Lisbon-based team, will add approximately 50 dedicated management and staff to Arrow Global’s team. João Brion Sanches, Norfin’s CEO, will continue to run the business after the completion of the deal

Trading update

· Trading continues to be strong and in-line with management expectations, at high returns
· On track to meet annual target of £230-240m of portfolio purchases
· At £145m at end of June, volumes are running ahead of 2017; well balanced by geography and asset class
· Forecast returns net of collection costs remain in line with our mid-teens IRR target; 16% IRR achieved in H1 2018
· The Group remains within its target leverage range and expects to reduce leverage by the end of 2018

Lee Rochford, Group Chief Executive Officer of Arrow Global, commented: “We are delighted to announce this strategic acquisition that further strengthens Arrow Global’s market position in Portugal and adds valuable real estate asset management capabilities to the Group.
Norfin’s first-rate reputation and expertise is highly complementary to our existing Whitestar operations and adds to our commercial and origination capabilities in a market where we are already the leading servicer, allowing us to offer a comprehensive set of servicing and asset management solutions to our clients.
The acquisition adds further significant capital-light revenue to the Group’s income stream and is expected to be earnings accretive in year one.
Importantly, we will remain within our guided leverage range of 3.5x-4.0x secured net debt to adjusted EBITDA and continue to expect to reduce leverage by the end of the year. We expect leverage to fall further in 2019 as our high return back book, combined with our prudent balance sheet management, continues to generate strong cash flow.
Trading in the second quarter has continued to be in line with expectations, with the positive pricing environment we noted in the first quarter continuing into the period and resulting in strong returns. We look forward to updating the market further on our performance at our Interim results on 30 August.”

João Brion Sanches, CEO, Norfin, said: “We are delighted to be joining Arrow Global. We have built a strong business which will add to the Group’s investment and asset management capabilities and which complements Arrow Global’s existing Portuguese business. Arrow has a strong entrepreneurial culture and we believe that it is the right partner for us to enable Norfin to reach its next stage of development. The combination provides the enlarged Group with significant opportunities and I and the rest of the team look forward to working with the Arrow Global management team going forward.”

Top bid consultancy launches digital learning programme

ShineBid Services, one of the UK’s leading businesses on winning government and highly regulated bids, today launched a new digital learning programme to equip businesses with its tried and tested step-by-step masterplan to winning bids.

The first module to be made available is Writing and Review, which is split into three chapters that can be completed from an introductory skill level. The module will arm users with the essential knowledge to writing compelling responses that are engaging, memorable, impactful, robust and high-scoring.

“Writing bids is more than simply answering questions; for businesses setting out to win RFPs, it is crucial to convince the buyer why you should be chosen ahead of the competition,” said ShineBid Services CEO Anne McNamara. “Bid responses must address the explicit bid requirements, respond to the buyer’s underlying needs, and ultimately showcase a strong win strategy. The launch of our digital learning course marks a new direction in bid training and we are excited to help enable users to write great bid responses whenever they want, from wherever they are in the world.”

Writing and Review is set within a scenario of a bid team working on a project that resembles a real-life bidding situation. This module– which will take approximately two hours to complete – contains nine free supplementary resources, including activities to complete offline, templates, guides and short quizzes.

The digital learning programme was developed by award-winning bid professionals and is made up of ten modules that form The ShineBid Winning Masterplan™. With a win rate of 80%, and more than $10 billion won for clients since its inception, each module encompasses ShineBid’s expert knowledge alongside a series of interactive tests, offline activities and free resources.

The ShineBid Winning Masterplan™ is a methodical guide to ShineBid’s tried and tested approach to winning bids, starting from gathering the intelligence to create a strategy, the design and branding of a bid, managing the writing process, to the final submission. The digital learning programme will enable users to expand their knowledge, put into practice ShineBid’s methodology and ultimately win more business.

Users will receive a certificate of completion upon finishing the Writing and Review module. ShineBid plans to continue to add to its digital learning resources, with a total of 10 modules set to be launched to cover every step of the bidding process.

Encore Capital Group Completes Acquisition of Remaining Interest in Cabot Credit Management

Encore Capital Group, Inc. (Nasdaq: ECPG) today announced that it has completed its acquisition of the remaining interest in Cabot Credit Management (Cabot), one of the largest credit management services providers in Europe and the market leader in the United Kingdom and Ireland. Cabot is now a wholly owned subsidiary of Encore. The transaction is expected to be accretive to Encore earnings in 2018 and beyond, and Encore’s earnings per share growth is expected to accelerate to at least 20 percent in 2018.

“The completion of the acquisition of Cabot is a transformational event for Encore that solidifies our global leadership position in our sector, and represents a natural continuation of the path we embarked on when we first acquired a stake in Cabot in 2013,” said Ashish Masih, President and CEO of Encore. “Cabot has successfully grown and expanded over the course of the past five years, and we view it as the best platform to take advantage of the significant, attractive opportunities to deploy capital in Europe.”

The Cabot transaction is part of Encore’s ongoing diversification strategy. While the U.S. market is currently strong, these investments in other geographies are expected to reduce the volatility in Encore’s overall business over time. The company’s European business, led by Cabot, has developed several recovery product specialties, including those related to credit cards, loans, mortgages, REO, SME debt, telco, utilities debt, auto and IVAs, as well as servicing and BPO capabilities.

“Since Encore’s initial investment in Cabot, we’ve been able to significantly increase our scale, improve our operational capabilities and achieve meaningful efficiency gains,” said Ken Stannard, Chief Executive Officer of Cabot. “This transaction is great news for Cabot employees, clients and customers alike, as it strengthens our ability to achieve our growth goals with a partner who deeply understands our business and shares our commitment to treating people fairly and respectfully.”

The initial agreement was announced on May 8, 2018.

Andrew Wilson & Co invests in the future of High Court Enforcement

Kelly Cookson, 34, Eric Roe, 25 and Joe Hanlon, 30, from leading recovery firm Andrew Wilson & Co, are on course to become three of the youngest High Court Enforcement Officers (HCEO) in the country. Together they will increase the company’s HCEO tally from two to five.

High Court Enforcement Officers are authorised by the Lord Chancellor to enforce High Court Writs to recover debt and regain control of property on behalf of legal firms, local authorities, landlords, property agents, insolvency practitioners and other instructing parties. They can delegate their powers to Enforcement Agents, also known as Bailiffs, of whom Andrew Wilson & Co has just over 20 working throughout England and Wales.

Kelly, Eric and Joe will join a select group, as currently there are only around 50 serving High Court Enforcement Officers in the industry. The trio are in the final stages of qualifying, having completed the Level 4 Diploma in High Court Enforcement and are now fulfilling the practical element of their HCEO training by going out on the road enforcing.

Sarah Roscoe, Managing Director of Andrew Wilson & Co, comments: “I am bursting with pride. To have three members of our senior management team undertake this training is yet another example of the dedicated, quality individuals we employ and the investment we put into developing our people.”

Over her 13 years at Andrew Wilson & Co, Kelly Cookson has worked her way up from Junior Administrator to Collections Manager to Operations Manager and is now a Director of the business. When she qualifies, she will be one of only a handful of female High Court Enforcement Officers in the country.

“Becoming a HCEO means the absolute world to me,” says Kelly. “I love working in the enforcement industry and with the team at Andrew Wilson & Co and I am excited at the prospect of making our industry even better. Being under the age of 35 with two young children, with not many female HCEOs in the country, also feels like a massive achievement.”

Joe Hanlon, who is also a Director, completed the CICM (Chartered Institute of Credit Management) accredited course one year earlier than his colleagues and will be awarded full HCEO status this summer, having completed the practical element of his training.

Joe says: “I’m thrilled and also very grateful for the recognition and opportunities I’ve been given to progress my career at Andrew Wilson & Co. It feels great to be part of a company that invests in training and rewards its people.”

Eric Roe followed his family into the business as a teenager before undertaking a Master Level Degree in Law at Northumbria University. After graduating he returned to work in Andrew Wilson & Co’s legal department. As well as being a trainee HCEO, Eric is also studying towards the Certificate of Proficiency in Insolvency; he says:

“Becoming a HCEO was not originally my determined route, but whilst working at Andrew Wilson & Co and pursuing this qualification, it became the obvious decision to take. I am excited to see what the future holds and how we can continue to lead the industry into its bright future.”

Kelly, Eric and Joe are helping to pave the way for the next generation of High Court Enforcement Officers. All three have had the advantage of learning from one of the best in the business, as their company’s co-founder, Andrew Wilson, is also the Chairman of the High Court Enforcement Officers Association with more than 39 years of industry experience.

Managing Director, Sarah Roscoe, who celebrates tens years at Andrew Wilson & Co in 2018, concludes: “This is an important milestone for us. Increasing our existing number of High Court Enforcement Officers to five will give us more experience at management level and allow us to grow our business and compete with the larger firms going forward.”

Scottish Insolvency Statistics: April to June 2018 (2018-19 Quarter 1)

Accountant in Bankruptcy (AiB) today released official statistics reporting personal and company insolvencies in Scotland for the first quarter (April to June 2018) of 2018-19 and final statistics for the 2017-18 financial year.

Scottish Insolvency Statistics for April to June 2018 (2018-19 Q1)

There were 3,208 personal insolvencies (bankruptcies and protected trust deeds (PTDs)) in Scotland in 2018-19 Q1, compared with 2,869 in 2017-18 Q1, an increase of 12%.

There were 1,236 bankruptcies awarded during this quarter, a 6.5% decrease on the same quarter in 2017-18. PTDs increased by 27% to 1,972 over the same period.

There were 648 DPPs approved under DAS compared with 597 in the same quarter of the previous year.

A total of £9.5 million was repaid through DAS during this quarter, compared with £9.4 million in 2017-18 Q1.

The number of Scottish registered companies becoming insolvent or entering receivership increased in the first quarter of 2018-19, with 245 companies becoming insolvent compared with 200 in 2017-18 Q1 There were 141 members’ voluntary liquidations (solvent liquidations), down on the 151 in 2017-18 Q1.

Scottish insolvency statistics in 2017-18

Final statistics show that in 2017-18 personal insolvencies in Scotland increased by 5.7% to 10,602 from 10,032 in 2016-17.

Personal insolvencies rose for the second consecutive year but remain below levels seen between 2005-06 and 2014-15.

The increase in personal insolvencies in 2017-18 was mainly due to PTDs, which increased by 8.9% on the previous year to 5,958. Bankruptcies increased by 1.8% to 4,644.

In 2017-18, there were 2,318 debt payment programmes (DPPs) approved under the Debt Arrangement Scheme (DAS), 85 more than a year earlier. In 2017-18, £37.6 million was repaid from debtors under DAS compared with £37.3 million in 2016-17.

Corporate insolvencies increased from 846 in 2016-17 to 884 in 2017-18.