What is Bankruptcy?

Personal insolvency, including bankruptcy is something that nobody wants to face. In this video Gavin Bates, one of our directors , explains a little more about what insolvency means, other options to potentially avoid bankruptcy and what could happen if you do need to take the bankruptcy option. Many people come to PBC with questions such as ‘will I lose my house if I take bankruptcy’ and ‘what about my car and other basic needs’ these are difficult questions and the answer will vary depending on your circumstances but we will work with you to make life improve as fast as possible. For many people, the relief of seeing a solution to their issues is the first sign that they are re-stabilising their life and turning the corner towards becoming solvent again. While the road may still be difficult (and we may not always say what you want to hear) talking and taking some advice could be the first step on your journey.

When do I need an Insolvency Practitioner?

Do have a dog but try to bark yourself? They (dogs) are pretty good at it and are certainly better than me so I tend to let them do what they are better at!

So, why is there an apparent reluctance to consult with an insolvency practitioner (“IP”) until the very last minute, if at all? I will say now I have a huge amount of respect for those who come to see me.  After all I am a stranger to them and they are being asked to reveal all of their issues on a point of trust I may steer them in the right direction.

Some of the subjects we have been approached to assist on include:

  • A customer has gone insolvent and the creditor is unaware of their rights or need guidance on the meaning of documents received.
  • A business is being handled by an administrator (or liquidator) and you are interested in the acquisition.
  • The IP is telling you that the goods you supplied are going to be sold for the benefit of creditors as a whole but what are your rights?
  • An IP is threatening me with all sorts of monetary claims.
  • My credit card and other domestic debts are out of control.
  • Our company is in financial difficulty.


The insolvency business is a highly specialised area with less than 1,100 appointment-taking IPs in the UK. The governing legislation provides some immense powers such as lifting the corporate veil and pursuing company officers personally for losses resulting from their conduct, the rights of landlords or suppliers can be controlled, or even prevented.  Contacting an IP at an early stage may make the necessary route you need to take smoother, it may even mean you have more than one option.  Leaving it until things are getting to a critical level often leads to a very costly and damaging outcome.

For those who need convincing, in a case I am looking at a gentleman tried to handle a bankruptcy petition that had been presented against him in person. Because he did not appreciate the court procedures he ended up being made bankrupt.  His asset value (home and land) is over double that of his principal debts but he is now facing the prospect of losing his home in order to clear the bankruptcy and the costs inherent with bankruptcy.  Had he taken timely advice this could have been avoided and the anticipated cost a fraction of what they are now going to be.

So, the message is clear. IPs are not monsters and are there to bark for you when the highly specialised subject of insolvency comes looming.

If you require any advice or assistance on any insolvency-related matter then please contact Gary Pettit or Gavin Bates at PBC Business Recovery & Insolvency on (01604) 212150.

What is the difference between Corporate and Personal Insolvency?

When you realise you are potentially in a position where you or your company is insolvent you will need to take action as soon as possible. It is sadly not uncommon for corporate and personal insolvency to be bedfellows, but they are different so you will need to make sure you are approaching it from the right perspective. One of the very early discussions we often need to have with our clients is the difference between their personal and corporate financial responsibilities. Kym Carvell explains how to answer the question ‘what is personal insolvency’ and the difference between that and corporate insolvency in this video. She also discusses some of the confusion surrounding the liability status of sole traders and the common reasons why some companies can become insolvent.

Personal Insolvency Rates – Women Overtake Men


Every quarter the Insolvency Service produce statistics which confirm how many businesses fail, broken down by insolvency type:, liquidations (whether they are compulsory or voluntary) administration or company voluntary arrangements (CVAs).

At the same time similar statistics are released for individuals, divided into bankruptcies, debt relief orders or individual voluntary arrangements (IVAs). There are very few details about the number of debt management plans.

When these are released, the details will always make that day’s news and as is normal with the media they focus on the worst points.

In general terms, corporate insolvency appointments have been failing from their recent highs reached during the financial crash in 2007/08 (although failures were much higher in the early 1990’s). Personal insolvency appointments have also been falling, although in the last year there has seen a steady rise. Historically men have always had higher rates of insolvency than women but since 2014, women have overtaken men.

Once a year the Insolvency Service produce more detailed personal insolvency statistics. The main headlines are:

  • The total insolvency rate increased for the first time since 2009, and increased in all regions of England and Wales between 2015 and 2016.
  • The North East continued to have the highest insolvency rates, while London had the lowest.
  • Nine out of ten local authorities with the lowest insolvency rates were in London or the South East, whilst seven out of the ten areas with the highest rates were located in coastal areas.
  • Insolvency rates increased for all age groups except 55 and over, with those aged between 18-44 showed the biggest rises.


When I review these figures I am always interested in the details. For example Corby has been in the top 10 of the worst local authority areas in terms of personal insolvency rates.  As mentioned above the majority are seaside towns which have their own issues due to the seasonal economies in which they operate.  Being based in Northampton we are aware that Corby still has elements of poor families struggling to make ends meet in low paid jobs.  In our experience these will often be cases in which credits cards and loans have been built up, possibly in a period when there has been a loss of income or ill health or just simple overspending.  Commonly once the debt has been built up they find it almost impossible to repay the debt because of the low income and so a downward spiral begins.

So what can the individual do?

The first thing required is to be honest with yourself and the situation. Sit down and summarise who you owe money to and how much.  Next produce a budget detailing your income and necessary spending.  Hopefully this should leave a surplus and you can then plan how to reduce your debt using this surplus.

You may find you need additional help and PBC have always offered help to individuals and will outline all the options open to them from refinancing, a debt management plan, IVA’s and bankruptcy, alone with many others. Our advice is simple: take action as soon as possible rather than leaving it too late.

Initial meeting are free of charge and confidential. We hope to understand your position, answer your questions and lay out the options available to you in order for you to consider which is the best way forward for you.

Paying by card – know your rights!

Research by the UK Cards Association showed that, in 2016, 77% of national retail sales were made by card. It was also announced in the last few days by the British Retail Consortium that debit card payments overtook cash for the first time, no doubt increased by the use of contactless payment.

Most payments by credit card (including some charge cards) are protected by law: consumers have a legal claim against the card issuer where the goods or services cost between £100 and £30,000 and are not delivered.

In addition, for debit and credit cards (including pre-paid cards), the card schemes provide a system of “chargeback”. Chargeback schemes are voluntary schemes with the terms and conditions set by the card issuer and accordingly the rules vary from issuer to issuer.  However most schemes allow the card issuer to ask the merchant acquirer to reverse a payment made by card with no minimum or maximum limits.

It is unfortunately inevitable that some payments made for services will not be honoured when a retailer enters into insolvency. New guidance issued to insolvency practitioners states the appointed insolvency practitioner must issue a notice on the retailer’s website informing customers of whether their services or goods will be delivered, as well as informing them of the above rights.

The UK Cards Association has also issued a guide to card holder’s rights, which can be found here:


PBC announces successful completion of two IVAs

PBC Business Recovery & Insolvency Ltd are pleased to announce the recent successful completion of two individual voluntary arrangements (IVA).keys

The first of these was the IVA of a solicitor who was confronted with multi-million pound debts as a result of a firm of solicitors (of whom he was a partner some 2 years before) entered into partnership administration. PBC’s solution was the best outcome for both the creditors and the debtor, who was able to retain his ability to practice as a solicitor.

The second IVA saw creditors receive payment in full plus statutory interest. The terms of the IVA enabled the debtor to pay affordable contributions over a five year period rather than attempt to meet the demands of various credit card companies.  In addition, the IVA also enabled the debtor to retain his family home.

At PBC Business Recovery and Insolvency we can advise you whether an IVA is appropriate. If appropriate, we will firstly assist you with the preparation of the proposal and then act as nominee and convene the meeting of creditors.  Should the proposal be approved, we will then act as supervisor.

We can also act on behalf of creditors who have received IVA proposals prepared by other insolvency practitioners. If necessary, we can advise on whether the proposal should be accepted or modifications proposed and if necessary arrange attendance at any meetings of creditors.

If you have personal debt issues, PBC Business Recovery & Insolvency offers a free one hour consultation to discuss your situation and the possible options available.  Call Gary Pettit or Gavin Bates on 01604 212150 completely confidentially.