All Party Parliamentary Group on Insolvency - Officeholder Remuneration

25 JAN 2010

As someone who has written at length about officeholder remuneration (see here) I am particularly pleased to note that the All Party Parliamentary Group on Insolvency (charied by Ms Natascha Engel MP) is to hold a panel discussion entitled: "Overpaid or worth the cost? Insolvency Practitioners' fees in the spotlight" The panel will include:

The event is taking place at the House of Commons on the 9 February (invite only). This will be an excellent opportunity to thoroughly discuss the important issues that arise from officeholder remuneration. It will be interesting to note if anyone from the OFT is going along?! For that matter Private Eye may also be in attendance bearing in mind their recent interest in the topic of IP remuneration!

The session will enable the IP profession, and their representatives (i.e. R3 - the Association of Business Recovery Professionals - who are providing secretarial support for the event) to show how previous press critique on IP remuneration is often misguided, ill-informed and without foundation. I am sure the issue of 'value' will feature as a topic for discussion. As I have said before on this blog, if a tax partner is charged out at £900 per hour to provide advice on a tax point to the IP of a company in administration, this may prima facie look excessive and make for good copy for our friends in the press. However, if that advice leads to a saving of £1,500,000 to the estate in tax liabilities then it is perhaps money well spent.

The issue of rescue culture, viable businesses, saving jobs, recyling assets, and such like, must also feed into the melting pot of discussion. I am unsure of the remuneration levels claimed for the work undertaken in Re Olympia & York Canary Wharf Ltd (No.4)[1993] B.C.C. 866; [1994] 1 B.C.L.C. 702, no doubt they were rather large for this complex restructuring, but no one can doubt that the IPs involved helped facilitate the completion of a complex that is a truly remarkable monument to the rescue culture and the ethos and motivation which drives the vast majority of IPs, i.e. saving value in a constructive manner, not profiteering at the expense of an insolvent estate. Therein lies the paradox. The general public, perhaps as a result of misreporting by the press, simply fails to understand how a living can be made from an insolvent estate. There are of course anomalies to the general trend which have caused much disquiet - see: Re Cabletel Installations Lts (in liquidation) [2005] BPIR 28. Let us hope a disinterested, fair minded member of the press core is in attendance to provide a fair analysis of the discussions.

As noted above the event is invite only. Those wishing to attend who have not received an invite should contact Ms Natascha Engel's office, copying in R3's Ms Orla Hurst (OHurst@r3.org.uk).

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