Welcome to R3's Impact Statement for 2023, which demonstrates the vital role R3 plays in promoting, supporting and connecting members at every stage of your careers and across the full breadth of the insolvency and restructuring profession within the UK.
We do this through promoting and protecting the interests of the profession to all key stakeholder communities; offering clear insights in a complicated and fast-changing world; providing members with an extensive range of practical tools, support and training; and creating opportunities for members to connect with peers from across the profession and wider business community, through our conferences and events.
Members, now numbering over 3,200, are at the heart of everything we do. Our work with, and on behalf of members, is only possible because of the support and commitment of the 236 member volunteers on R3's regional and national committees. Thank you.
With increasing rates of insolvency, further consultations on regulation of the profession and a general election on the horizon, 2024 promises to be another busy year for our members and R3 as your association. We look forward to working together with all members and stakeholders during the coming year to shape a positive and forward looking future for the profession.
Promoting and protecting the profession
Throughout the year we have promoted and protected the profession and your work, highlighting the support restructuring and insolvency professionals provide to businesses, individuals and the economy across the UK every day.
R3's representation of members' views and interests in responding to consultations by government, regulators and others on key issues for the profession is critical in ensuring an effective legislative and regulatory framework for the restructuring and insolvency profession.
During 2023 we've gathered, collated and analysed member feedback to inform our responses to a broad and varied range of government consultations, including:
- Financial Conduct Authority - Debt packagers
- HMRC - Tougher consequences for promoters of tax avoidance
- SIP 3.3 'Trust Deeds' (Scotland)
- Digital assets and English insolvency law
- Crypto asset regulation
- UNCITRAL New model laws on cross-border insolvency
- Personal Insolvency Framework member survey
We also contributed to the EU Retained Law Bill as it made its way through Parliament (albeit many provisions have now largely been abandoned).
In September 2023 the Government finally published its long awaited and oft-delayed response to the Future of insolvency regulation consultation (which ran from December 2021 to March 2022). We used the delay to both reiterate and reinforce the views of our members to Government Ministers, MPs from the main parties and policy makers within the civil service. In what was one of the largest member-engagement exercises ever undertaken by R3, we gathered up as many member views as possible, giving our representations to government both weight and credibility.
We strongly believe that our member-informed lobbying helped to shape the final decision to abandon the proposal to create a single, and most likely government, regulator for the profession, instead retaining the existing Recognised Professional Body (RPB) system of regulation.
We also welcomed the introduction of firm regulation and changes to the bonding scheme, albeit subject to further details and consultation, which we had supported in our submissions on behalf of members as part of the consultation process.
With the publication of their response came the prospect of further Government consultations on matters such as bonding and a compensation scheme.
R3 will work closely with members on preparing evidenced and robust responses to these follow-on consultations, as and when they are released.
Leading the way on policy development
Our member-informed policy work is a powerful tool that is used to instigate engagement with government and to help us influence how policy develops.
As part of this, we have undertaken a series of expert roundtables during the course of this year, bringing together members from across the profession to discuss topics, including:
- Members' Voluntary Liquidations.
- Special Situations Mergers and Acquisition.
- The adoption of ESG goals across the profession.
Such discussions have helped accelerate the shaping of R3's policy position on these key issues.
For our programme of work on personal insolvency matters we conducted a member survey to inform development of clear and concise lines to take ahead of the Government's consultation on the review of the Personal Insolvency Framework, expected in 2024.
In other policy activity we have undertaken work looking at the impact of crypto currency and cyber assets on the profession.
Lobbying and government engagement
Throughout the year we have engaged with parliamentarians and officials from across all parts of the UK.
Activity has ranged from written correspondence with MPs to providing analysis on insolvency trends in their constituencies and regions, through to providing comprehensive briefings ahead of parliamentary debates. As an example of the latter, we were approached by the shadow insolvency minister to provide her with a detailed briefing on director duties and director disqualification ahead of a Westminster Hall debate. The shadow minster referenced R3 several times during the course of the debate.
As the Economic Crime and Corporate Transparency Bill passed through parliament, we engaged with MPs across both the House of Commons and the House of Lords. As the Bill passed through the Lords we were approached by a senior Conservative Peer to provide further information and briefings on specific aspects of the Bill relating to insolvency and restructuring. We also had R3 recommended amendments put forward in both the Commons and the Lords as the Bill progressed. Unfortunately, our amendments were not accepted, but we built a significant amount of political capital in the process.
"R3 has provided published evidence to guide the passage of Economic Crime and Corporate Transparency Act which was of high quality in its grasp of the issues and steps which could be taken to tackle and recover the proceeds of economic crime."
Member of the Business and Trade Committee, House of Commons
Beyond Westminster we were invited to provide R3 representation at an evidence session hosted by the Scottish Parliament's Economy and Fair Work Committee on the Bankruptcy and Due Diligence Bill. The committee wished to hear our expert opinion on proposed amendments to the Bill. R3's contribution was well received and will lead to further engagement with the Scottish Parliament.
Our annual President's Lunch was attended by around 30 parliamentarians from across all the main parties and senior figures from the profession. The event is always very well received and places R3 as the voice of the profession and enables greater engagement with parliamentarians and policy makers.
"The President's Lunch was excellent as ever. I had a good conversation with several MPs, particularly on bankruptcy, consumer debt and dual regulation."
The voice of insolvency and restructuring in the media
R3 has acted as the voice of the profession with around 2,000 mentions in regional, national and specialist media including being featured in: The Times; Financial Times; The Guardian; BBC News London and BBC South East Today and more.
Representing members with HMRC
R3 continued to engage with HMRC at every level to improve processes and systems for insolvency professionals when engaging with HMRC. This was evident in R3's letter to HMRC's Director General titled 'HMRC's management of insolvency from a tax perspective: impeding the insolvency process to the detriment of creditors'.
"A fantastic letter. A massive thank you from the whole restructuring team."
R3 Corporate member
"Just read the letter to HMRC and have to comment that I think it's superb!"
Influencing regulation - Economic Crime Anti-Money Laundering Levy Regulations 2022 - a key win
R3 achieved key amendments to the Economic Crime Anti-Money Laundering Levy Regulations 2022 as the regulations did not appear to consider as to whether this levy related to a pre appointment or post appointment period, so in effect would make the office holders personally liable for the levy. As a result of R3's representations on behalf of members, amendments were introduced to provide clarity to office holders.
Providing practical support and solutions
Technical updates and guidance
Practical advice and guidance have remained a key area of support for members this year.
We have issued 33 Technical Alerts covering a range of specific topics including important case law, HMRC updates, relevant legislation and AML.
Our monthly technical round-ups have given members direct and instant access to the latest developments and what this means for you all in one place.
New and updated guides and resources for members during 2023 include:
- An overview of digital assets - Highlighting key focus areas for any officeholder in relation to crypto assets.
- Updated creditor guides - A key resource for creditors who have a desire to learn about the insolvency process they are experiencing.
- Case summaries - Digestible summaries of legal judgments that highlight important considerations for R3 members.
- Podcast episodes on:
- Restructuring Plans - looking at the administration of Goodbox.
- Anti-money laundering.
Working together with stakeholders
R3 continue to work closely with a number of organisations on behalf of members to address issues and concerns, including:
- The Insolvency Service
- Financial Conduct Authority (FCA)
- Information Commissioner's Office (ICO)
- Nest on pensions.
"Through your help to get me to the right people at the Insolvency Service, a small miracle has occurred.... I would really like to say thank you on behalf of the person whose life has been turned around from absolute disaster to joy."
R3's Training Academy, has continued to expand its offering from certificated training on the essentials of insolvency and restructuring through to sharing best practice on emerging areas of work in a range of online, on-demand and face to face formats to meet the different needs of members at every stage of their career.
"The 'go-to' provider of training in the Insolvency and Restructuring world."
R3 Training Academy delegate
Training Academy programmes, designed and delivered by leading subject experts drawn from across R3's membership and beyond, have delivered training courses to over 375 delegates during 2023, with over 1,100 delegates also attending online and face to face training events.
Highlights of the programme have included:
- Introduction to insolvency e-learning series - increased delegate numbers from previous year.
- In conversation with webinar series: - Attended by over 560 delegates
- Energy supply company failures.
- Restructuring plans: a practical perspective.
- Property industry views on Restructuring Plans - what do landlord think about them and how do they think they could be improved?
- One-day forums
- Contentious Insolvency and Creditors Forum.
- Restructuring Conference with Insol Europe.
- Personal Insolvency Forum.
- Restructuring Forum.
- New professionals' forum - held live in London and Manchester and attended by over 100 delegates.
- Insolvency and Restructuring boot camps - 6-8 week online learning courses for more experienced and returning practitioners - increased numbers from previous years.
- NEW - Creditors' Voluntary Liquidation (CVL) refresher - online series introduced.
"Very good course. There is a good balance between the speakers explaining the topic and then allowing participants to discuss the topics in application to a case study. The notes/slides were excellent and a good way to supplement the notes taken in sessions."
"I enjoyed that it was interactive with breakout sessions and case studies. Very practical."
"The R3 Insolvency Bootcamp course is a brilliant introduction to the key concepts for both insolvency practitioners and restructuring and insolvency lawyers. The networking opportunities are fantastic and the case studies help you to see how your peers approach problems set."
"I really enjoyed the whole course and thought it was a great summary of all the main points that a junior needs to refresh their knowledge of."
Introduction to Insolvency Virtual Classroom Delegate.
Making connections – bringing the profession together
Over 6,000 delegates have attended R3 events and training during the past 12 months, as R3 demonstrated its central role in bringing the restructuring and insolvency profession together in every region of the UK.
R3's regional networks
Our regional committees support engagement with the local insolvency and restructuring profession across all of the nations and regions of the UK, through a dedicated programme of activities and provide representation of the membership ensuring regional views are heard throughout R3 and beyond.
With over 50 regional events held across the R3 regions during 2023, highlights include:
- Four regional forums - in Eastern, Northern, Southern and Scotland.
- Free to member regional meetings.
- Major social events from lunches, dinners and quizzes each attracting over 250 guests.
- New Professional led social and technical events.
- International Women's Day events.
- Activity based opportunities for networking including: golf, cycling, bowling and treasure hunts.
- Four regional forums - in Eastern, Northern, Southern and Scotland
What our members say:
"So good to catch up with clients and contacts and everyone seemed delighted to be there... excellent speakers."
Delegate at Southern and Thames Valley breakfast briefing.
Our National events programme included:
- Our first overseas conference in 5 years in Venice.
- The agenda setting Fraud Conference in collaboration with the Fraud Advisory Panel and Insol Europe.
- The Smaller Practice Group (SPG) Forum bringing together over 200 members from the smaller practice community.
- Introduction of member briefing webinars to update members on R3's work on your behalf, each attracting over 300 registrations.
- The R3 Business Lunch in October attended by, as one guest observed, over 500 of the "who's who" of the restructuring and insolvency profession.
A big thank you to all of our committees, key sponsor partners, national and regional event sponsors who make these events possible for our members.
What our members say:
"I attended the R3 Association of Business Recovery Professionals annual conference in Venice at the end of last week. Excellent speakers and great to catch up with those I know and those I didn't. Venice was a joy."
Annual Conference delegate on LinkedIn
Engagement with members and the profession through social media continues to grow and R3's Linkedin and X (formally Twitter) accounts now reach over 10,000 followers.
Recovery magazine and Recovery News
Our publications offer a platform for members to share experiences and expertise with colleagues on the big issues facing the profession.
"It is very informative."
"Comprehensive, wide ranging, and professional looking."
"Appeals to all types of insolvency and restructuring practitioners."
Looking forward to 2024
R3's role as the voice for the profession will be more important than ever during 2024, with further Government consultations expected on matters such as firm regulation, standard setting, bonding and a compensation scheme. R3 will work closely with members on preparing evidenced and robust responses to these consultations.
With a general election also expected in 2024, R3 will be making the case for the value of the profession to the wider economy to all political parties, as they set their policy agendas for a new parliament.
We will also be conducting a comprehensive piece of work with members to create a shared vision for the future of the profession focused on understanding the expectations and aspirations of members to give a picture of where the profession is now and opportunities for what it can become. This will guide us in shaping the design and delivery of our members services, so that we can be most effective in supporting and representing the views of the profession towards a positive future.
R3's technical guidance will continue to keep members briefed on the important technical and regulatory issues which impact on members and your firms.
R3's Training Academy will develop more courses and opportunities for gaining knowledge and expertise for members at every stage of your careers - from new professionals to experienced practitioners - in a range of formats that meet members' changing needs for training content - when and how you want to access this.
R3's member faculties and committees will focus and shape our work on key issues facing the profession including - restructuring, special situations M and A, solvent liquidations, fraud and much more.
R3's programme of regional and national events for 2024 will continue to create opportunities for members to meet to debate the key issues facing the profession and for networking with colleagues old and new, including: the Annual Conference focused on Global pathways: UK insolvency and restructuring in a post-Brexit world; New Professionals Forum; Fraud Conference; Contentious Insolvency and Creditors Forum; and the SPG Forum.
R3's support for members in the regions will continue to expand, and our regional committees are planning a comprehensive programme of activities across the country to enable members to engage in discussions on the technical issues that are important to you and provide opportunities to bring the profession together to make connections across the insolvency and restructuring community. To see events coming up in 2024, visit our website here.
We look forward to working together with all members and stakeholders during the coming year to shape a positive and forward looking future for the profession.