Insolvency – DTI launches register

The DTI has begun its sweeping review of the insolvency industry by launching a new individual insolvency register this week and revealing details of its future inquiries into the workings of the profession.

The register is designed to improve access and information to bankruptcy data, but accountants remained unsure whether it would help remove the stigma of insolvency. Two major DTI reviews on the subject are due to be published later this year.

Incoming Society of Practitioners of Insolvency president and Ernst & Young partner Alan Bloom said: ‘If the register improves transparency, it is a good thing, but we need to make a distinction between those who try and fail and those who have no intention of succeeding. I am not sure how this makes that distinction.’

Trade secretary Stephen Byers announced his intention to introduce a package of measures to promote enterprise and competition after the Budget, including bankruptcy and insolvency law reviews.

A DTI spokesman said: ‘The first review will be from an internal DTI working group and is due out at the end of April. It will consider the rules governing bankruptcy and whether they prevent entrepreneurship.’ The second report, a joint DTI/Treasury review, will examine the culture of corporate and business rescue, and is set for July.

The principle areas of focus include the relative rights of secured and unsecured creditors and the consideration of directors’ duties in relation to financial difficulties.

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