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Translating statutory AML requirements into meaningful, effective application

Insolvency Support Services Director Eileen Maclean is looking forward to delivering the first IPA Learning online module of 2022 next month.

The “How do you translate the statutory AML requirements into meaningful, effective application?” session will take place on 22 February 2022 from 12:30 until 14:00.

We will cover how:

  • The legal requirements of the Anti Money Laundering Regulations can be put into practice in your business.
  • To develop practical policies and procedures that you can implement in your practice, allowing you to meet your legal obligations in a manner that enhances your business and is not unduly time consuming.
  • To address emerging AML risks in practice.

Do you want to benefit your insolvency practice by implementing efficient procedures to meet AML legal requirements? Book here

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Debt solutions and the impact on executries

Debt, and the Scottish statutory solutions that exist to deal with individual overindebtedness, has the perpetual attention of the Scottish Government and the wider Scottish Parliament.

In 2018 the Scottish Parliament’s Economy, Energy & Fair Work Committee refused to approve legislation replacing the common financial statement with the standard financial statement as the statutory common financial tool (CFT) in Scottish legislation. In response, in December 2018 Jamie Hepburn MSP, the Minister for Business, Fair Work and Skills, established the Scottish Statutory Debt Solutions Discussion Forum.

The Forum enables stakeholders, including insolvency practitioners (IPs), creditors and the advice sector, supported by officers from the Accountant in Bankruptcy (AiB), to discuss current issues around Scotland’s statutory solutions for personal insolvency and debt management.

PTD consultation

Following its consideration of the CFT and because of concerns arising therefrom, the committee turned its attention to protected trust deeds (PTDs) at the end of November 2019, conducting a short, PTD-focused inquiry in January 2020.

In May 2020, the committee published its recommendations and the Scottish Government responded in October 2020. A three-stage approach to review, improve and/or change was agreed, starting with introductory round table discussions, which will lead ultimately to a full review of the purpose and functionality of Scottish debt solutions.

Stage 2 saw the establishment of three working groups, tasked with the specific remit of considering PTDs, bankruptcy and diligence. The Society and the Insolvency Practitioners Association (IPA) are represented on group 2, considering certain of the committee’s areas of concern regarding PTDs. The discussions are wide ranging, reflecting divergent points of view.

PTD Protocol

In direct response to the committee’s report on PTDs, the AiB, working with the IPA as the foremost regulator of IPs providing PTDs, developed and introduced a new PTD Protocol, introducing operational changes to immediately address some of the committee’s recommendations.

Intended to promote good practice, improve transparency and enable trustees to manage debtor and creditor expectations in a PTD, trustees signing up to the Protocol agree that wherever practicable:

  • an interim dividend should be paid to creditors 12 months after commencement, and quarterly thereafter;
  • should a trustee decide to withhold the debtor’s discharge from the PTD, the trustee must first obtain the AiB’s agreement; and
  • IPs may only accept trust deed referrals from FCA-approved lead generator firms.

To date, eight firms have signed up, but with a reach of more than 80% in terms of the volume of providers.

Death of a debtor subject to a PTD

The committee took evidence on one specific case in which the debtor had died leaving behind a number of ramifications of an extant PTD for their beneficiaries. Group 2 was asked to consider whether PTD arrangements strike the appropriate balance between creditors and family members when a debtor’s death occurs during a PTD.

If a debtor dies during their bankruptcy or PTD, there is no change in the statutory requirement for the trustee to deal with assets of the estate. The trustee is still required to deal with creditor claims ahead of recognising any rights and entitlements of beneficiaries, per s 129 of the Bankruptcy (Scotland) Act 2016. The principle that creditors get paid ahead of beneficiaries or partners is well established – the law recognises that debt is a responsibility and that wherever possible, creditors should be repaid ahead of any individual benefitting in a personal capacity, as a beneficiary. The group agreed that the repayment of debt to creditors ahead of beneficiaries from a deceased’s estate is well established in different areas of the law and unanimously agreed that no changes are required to this principle.

What should executors do?

Group 2 recommended that the Scottish Government publication What to do after a death in Scotland be amended to explain the process where a debtor dies while subject to a PTD or bankruptcy. Ideally that wording should make it clear that an executor should check the Register of Insolvencies and the Debt Arrangement Scheme (DAS) register, for details of both the deceased and the beneficiaries, to establish whether any party is subject to insolvency or a debt payment programme before any money is paid out from the estate, to ensure that funds are not released to any party without reference to the trustee. The group has also recommended incorporating this process into legislation to ensure that such a check by executors is mandatory. It would be considered good practice therefore in any executry that this process should be adopted on a voluntary basis from now on. 

Authors: Anne Hastie, Law Society of Scotland Administrative Justice Commitee member, and Eileen Maclean, director of Insolvency Support Services and Insolvency Practitioners Association Standards, Ethics and Regulatory Liaison Commitee member.

This article was first published in The Law Society of Scotland’s Journal.

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Eileen Maclean to chair Mackay Hannah’s Scottish Business Navigation webinar

Our director Eileen Maclean is looking forward to chairing Mackay Hannah’s upcoming Scottish Business Navigation webinar in partnership with Morton Fraser: “Scottish businesses: meeting the first challenges of returning to normal”.

The webinar will be taking place on Monday, 1 November, 10am – 11am (and it is also possible to purchase the recording, if you are unable to attend at that time).

Morton Fraser’s Yvonne Brady, Head of Strategy, Restructuring & Insolvency, will be speaking on how we can help businesses abseil rather than jump over the edge back to normal. In addition, her colleague Alan Meek, Head of Restructuring and Insolvency & Corporate Partner, will be speaking on what the core issues are for businesses facing severe change and challenges.

For more information and to book, click here.

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ISS Training’s One Hour Series is back!

One Hour Series

Our ever popular One Hour Series is back, and we are delighted to announce our programme for the remainder of 2021 and the first half of 2022.

Meet your CPD requirements on a regular basis throughout the year. Join the debate on the day, or listen back to the recorded session at a time that suits you. Our One Hour Series is a cost effective and time efficient way to keep up to date with the statutory framework and current regulatory approach.


• Protecting Your Licence: IP Fees (E&W) – Friday 24 September
• Technical Short: Preferential creditors in insolvency – Friday 29 October
• Technical Short: UK SIPs Update – Friday 26 November


• Business Insolvency: Personal Insolvency Review – Friday 28 January
• Protecting Your Licence: IP Fees (Scotland) – Friday 25 February
• Protecting Your Licence: Advice to directors post-pandemic – Friday 25 March
• Technical Short: Connected Party Disposals – Friday 29 April
• Technical Short: Topical Technical Update – Friday 27 May
• Business Insolvency: Pensions in Insolvency – Friday 24 June


£50 + VAT
50% reduction for every third one hour session you book.

Book Your Place

Email: [email protected]
Phone: 0845 601 7570

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Eileen Maclean to speak at ICAS Insolvency & Restructuring Conference 2021

Insolvency Support Services’ director Eileen Maclean and Yvonne Joyce of the University of Glasgow are set to lead a session at the ICAS Insolvency & Restructuring Conference 2021.

They will discuss the findings from our joint research projects on current policy issues and challenges in corporate insolvency as well as the impact of COVID-19 regulations on insolvency and lockdown on working practices.

Find out more and register here.


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Eileen Maclean to speak at IPA Roadshow Scotland

IPA Roadshow

Insolvency Support Services Director Eileen Maclean will be speaking on economic damage, recovery and insolvency in Scotland at the IPA Roadshow Scotland next month.

The first in the IPA’s series of seven roadshows around the UK, the organisation’s first in-person events in nearly two years, the Scotland session will take place on 13 September 2021 from 13:00 until 16:30.

Other speakers will include Jemiel Benson, Citizen’s Advice Scotland; John Cook, Accountant in Bankruptcy; and David Holland, Chief Inspector, IPA.

Book IPA Roadshow Scotland

For more information and to book your place, click here.

Alison Curry appointed to Insolvency Rules Committee

Insolvency Rules Committee Alison Curry

Insolvency Support Services is delighted that our director Alison Curry has been appointed as accountant member of the Insolvency Rules Committee by the Lord Chancellor, in consultation with the Chancellor of the High Court (on behalf of the Lord Chief Justice).

The Insolvency Rules Committee (IRC) is an expert body that advises on proposed new and amendments to insolvency rules that underpin the wider insolvency legislative framework. Drawn from the legal and accountancy professions, IRC members have many years’ operational experience in insolvency matters. Alison will take up her position on the committee on 1 August 2021.

A licensed insolvency practitioner, and accomplished trainer and public speaker on insolvency issues, Alison has an enviable reputation as a provider of risk management and regulatory compliance consultancy services to insolvency professionals across the UK.

She is a member of R3’s National Council, a participant in the LexisNexis panel of insolvency experts and has extensive experience in drafting regulatory guidance, project management and delivery, and the implementation of organisational change.

Anti-Money Laundering 2021: An essential update for insolvency professionals

Anti-money laundering training












Everyone working in the insolvency profession must be made aware of the Anti-Money Laundering (AML) legislation and of situations which may present heightened risks of money laundering or terrorist financing activity.

Not only is it a legal requirement to receive appropriate training in these areas, your training should be refreshed annually in order to protect yourself and your firm from possible exploitation as a professional enabler.

Written specifically for insolvency professionals by a licensed practitioner with over 25 years’ experience, this training provides useful and practical information to assist you in countering the AML risks that insolvency practitioners face in their daily work.

CPD Learning Outcomes

In this vital annual update on the UK’s anti-money laundering regime, we focus on pitfalls around Customer Due Diligence for insolvency practitioners, the heightened AML risks we face as we emerge from the coronavirus pandemic and refresh your knowledge of the possible offences that can be unwittingly committed under the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002.

With billions of pounds having been expended in supporting UK businesses by HM Treasury, this training will examine what this may mean in terms of your Suspicious Activity Reporting obligations and keep you abreast of the latest guidance from AML Supervisors and the National Crime Agency.


Single Individual £75 + VAT

5 person package £200 + VAT

20 person package £700 + VAT

50 person package £1,500 + VAT
(For package bookings, please email [email protected] to book)

IPA Members can receive a 10% discount on booking, quoting the code: IPA10 at the time of booking.

For groups in excess of 50 persons, please contact [email protected] to discuss your requirements and for a quotation.

Our packages are flexible and last for 6 months from purchase. It is not necessary for all of the participants within a package to be enrolled on the course at the same time, so if you expect to recruit additional personnel over the coming months, this training can be made available to them at a later date.

Book Your Place

Book online

Email: [email protected] 

Call: 0845 601 7570

Benefits of ISS Online Learning

Flexible participation at a time convenient to both the participant and their employers

Your staff will receive up to 3 months to complete their training, though we can shorten this period at your request.

Accessible delivery
ISS Online Learning utilises the ISS Moodle School, a trusted and widely-used virtual learning environment which is accessible via desktop and mobile devices, 24/7.

Supporting materials for future reference
Our training is accompanied by pdf copies of the slide presentations and guidance materials that you can retain for future reference.

Knowledge checking to reinforce learning
The mandatory course knowledge check means that you can be assured that team members have properly assimilated their training, so you can feel confident that positive learning outcomes have been achieved.

Certification to evidence individual participation
Individual certification enables you to demonstrate the provision of appropriate training to your AML Supervisor, should you be called upon to do so.

Provision of metrics to employers
We can help you to keep track of your team’s progress by providing metrics on participation and completion activity at agreed intervals and send reminders to staff at agreed intervals.


Welcome back to Jenny Penman

Jenny Penman has recently re-joined the Insolvency Support Services team as Training and Compliance Manager. She will primarily be responsible for ensuring that our suite of document packs and checklists as well as training materials are all updated as and when legislation changes or when professional guidance and ethical practices dictate.

Jenny started her journey through the insolvency profession in the early 1990s and has worked at various professional firms since then, including two of the Big 4. Throughout the years she has gained extensive experience in both corporate and personal insolvency.

Her spare time is either spent in her sewing room, walking her dog or on the golf course.

Research Report: COVID-19’s Impact on the UK Insolvency and Restructuring Profession

Against the backdrop of COVID-19, and a requirement that everyone work from home if possible, the University of Glasgow and Insolvency Support Services conducted the second part of a two-part survey among a representative sample of the UK insolvency profession in April 2021.

Our second survey focused upon the challenges presented by lockdown to working practices, how firms have responded, the differential impacts of lockdown on different groups of people and what the future might look like for the insolvency profession and ways of working.

Read the full research report, with all the findings and our commentary.

The impact of COVID-19 and lockdown on working hours

Lockdown has had an impact on just over half (55%) of respondents’ working hours, with 39% working more hours and 16% working fewer hours than before lockdown (Figure 1), with a higher proportion of female respondents (48%) working longer hours compared with male respondents (33%).

Figure 1: Which of the following best describes your working hours since lockdown began in March 2020?

% respondents

For those aged between 18 and 44, an increase in working hours is the most popular response (57%), whereas for those aged 45+, it is for working hours to remain unchanged (47%).

For those working longer hours, the primary reason (indicated by 68% of these respondents) is the additional time taken to complete work remotely (Figure 2).  Other reasons cited for the increase are difficulties in separating work from personal life (52%); a substitution effect between travel time and work time (48%); an increase in administrative workload (48%); an increase in case load or new work (35%); and increased responsibilities (19%). Just over one quarter (26%) of respondents face an increased workload due to colleagues being furloughed.

Figure 2: Which of the following explain why you have been working more hours?

% respondents

Of those reporting working longer hours, significant differences are cited by female and male respondents. Specifically, 81% of female respondents are taking longer to complete work remotely, compared with 53% of male respondents; 63% of females are facing an increase in administrative work tasks compared with 33% of males; and 69% of females are struggling to separate work and home boundaries, compared with 33% of males.

Of those working fewer hours, the primary reason is a decrease in case load or new work (indicated by 59% of these respondents). Other reasons are a decrease in travel time (41%); increased efficiency due to remote working (29%) and a decrease in administrative tasks (12%). Only 12% of respondents working fewer hours appear to have substituted working hours for childcare, home-schooling or caring responsibilities.

The impact of COVID-19 and lockdown on working practices

Overall employers appear to have responded well. 87% of respondents agree or strongly agree their firm has provided the necessary support, and 77% of respondents are able to undertake their work to the same extent as pre-lockdown, with IT resources and capability supporting home-remote working. Indeed 71% of respondents agree or strongly agree that the pandemic has accelerated their firm’s adoption of digital technology.

A wide range of responses are offered regarding the most challenging aspect of home or remote working. A significant number comment that a key challenge is not having access to printers and scanners or hard copy case files. Reading large amounts of text on screen, reviewing of work and collating multiple documents present real challenges to insolvency professionals. Thus, despite greater use of electronic platforms generally, the insolvency profession still appears to place value on hard copy documentation.

Remote supervision and management of staff is a commonly cited challenge. This includes overseeing colleagues’ workload to ensure fair sharing, managing pastoral and disciplinary matters, supervising junior staff members and motivating staff. Perhaps linked to this response, a significant number of respondents also note difficulties in delivering online training and one junior respondent suggested that not sharing an office with more senior colleagues resulted in work taking longer for them to complete and potentially discouraged the asking of questions. Unsurprisingly, networking and building relations with new clients are cited as key challenges of remote working.

The effects of childcare, home-schooling and caring responsibilities

45% of respondents have additional childcare, home-schooling or caring responsibilities as a consequence of lockdown.  A higher proportion of females report additional responsibilities compared with males. In terms of age, a higher proportion (77%) of those aged between 35-44 report additional responsibilities than other age categories.

For those with additional caring responsibilities, the time consumed by these activities is significant (Figure 3). 81% of respondents are spending more than an hour each day, with 23% spending upwards of 4 hours per day. 65% of female respondents who report additional childcare, home-schooling or caring responsibilities are spending more than 2 hour per day, compared with only 28% of males.

Figure 3: On average how much time per day have additional childcare, home-schooling, and/or caring responsibilities taken up?

% respondents with additional childcare, home-schooling, and/or caring responsibilities

Coupled with our earlier findings on working hours and practices, the lockdown is clearly having a negative and differential impact on work-life balance for many professionals, and females in particular, whether that is in terms of longer working hours, significant time devoted to childcare and caring responsibilities or a combination of both. We cannot make inferences between our findings on working hours, practices and additional childcare or caring responsibilities and career progression. However, it is interesting to note that one quarter of respondents feel that the pandemic has had a negative impact on their career prospects. More female respondents (27%) report a negative impact than male respondents (18%).

Going back to the office

A significant majority (65%) of respondents say they are looking forward to returning to an office environment, and all these respondents are looking forward to face-to-face interactions with colleagues and clients (Figure 4). Virtual social interaction is no substitute for ‘real’.  Consolidating this view, 67% of these respondents are looking forward to ‘general banter’.

Figure 4: What are you looking forward to about returning to an office environment?

% respondents who are looking forward to returning to an office environment

However, the importance of face-to-face interaction is not purely social. Respondents underline the manner in which ‘solutions’ may be generated from such interaction and the “ability to bounce ideas around”. As one respondent comments: “communication is so much better when it is face to face. In a small office you can hear the problems as they develop rather than find out they have occurred a number of days, weeks or months later.”  Several respondents make reference to the ability to reach a quick resolution of an issue through instant or more timely interactions with colleagues in an office environment and the frustrations of not being able to do this in the current remote working environment.

73% of respondents looking forward to a return to the office indicate greater separation of work from personal life as an important factor. A higher proportion (81%) of female respondents selected this option, which ties in with our earlier findings on additional childcare and caring responsibilities. Analysis of our findings by age shows that those under 45 are more likely to select after-work socialising as a reason for returning to the office than their older colleagues.

Interestingly, 1 in 5 respondents (20%) is not looking forward to a return to the office, and 15% do not anticipate returning to the office.

Future working practices

Our survey found a high level of agreement that greater home or remote working (84%) and greater flexibility around working hours (73%) is likely in the future (Figure 5). Office re-design (53%) and a reduction in physical office capacity (48%) are likely, with the majority of respondents (70%) indicating it is unlikely there will be a return to pre-COVID working practices.

Figure 5: To what extent do you agree with the following statements about likely future working practices within your current organisation?

% respondents

In terms of which working practices professionals would like to see retained, the most popular is greater use of virtual meetings (79%), closely followed by increased opportunities to work from home or remotely (71%) and greater flexibility around working hours (68%). 64% of respondents would also like to see less travel time. A higher proportion of women would prefer greater flexibility around working hours to be retained (73% compared with 62% of men).

The market for professional services

Market provision of insolvency services is undergoing a period of structural change, with the separation of insolvency and restructuring service lines from audit, business advisory and tax, and recent merger and acquisition activity.

37% of respondents consider that reduced margins, and 49% that reduced recoveries, will be a significant or very significant threat to the profession in the future. 21% of respondents indicate that lack of finance is considered a significant or very significant threat to the profession, with one respondent commenting that, “there is likely to be a delay in the upturn expected in insolvencies until late 2021/ March 2022 which may be difficult to manage for boutique firms”.

Our survey findings reflect a view among practitioners that the market for professional services is competitive.  Ultimately the effects of consolidation and increasing firm size and capacity on competition in the market is an empirical issue, including the effect on insolvency practitioner fees and other direct costs of insolvency processes.  Perhaps that should be Survey 3!

Read the full research report, with all the findings and our commentary.
If you have any questions about this research, please contact us.

Our report on the findings of our first research survey on Current Policy Issues and Challenges in Insolvency and Restructuring is also available to download.