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15/04/2019

R3's Eastern Conference 2019

Set in the stunning surroundings of former stately home Madingley Hall, R3’s recent inaugural Eastern Conference brought together insolvency, restructuring and turnaround professionals from in and around the East of England and the Midlands, providing the opportunity for valuable discussion, debate and networking.
 
Delegates were treated to day packed full of interesting presentations on a variety of hot topics from expert national and regional speakers, capped off with a drinks reception in the evening.
 
Following an update from R3 President Stuart Frith and Vice President Duncan Swift on R3’s Strategic Review and work carried out by R3’s press, policy and public affairs team to promote the interests of the profession, attendees heard from HMRC’s Grant English about the ways in which the profession can work with HMRC to tackle fraud.
 
CVR Global and R3 Fraud Group’s Ian Defty then discussed the fight against fraud from the profession’s perspective, looking particularly at the practical issues for insolvency practitioners when bringing a fraud claim, and outlining the various pieces of legislation that can be used to this end. He also highlighted the high bar to proving a fraud has been carried out before the legislation can be used.
 
With a number of significant wrongful trading cases over recent years where the liquidators’ claims have failed, from Ralls Builders to the Guernsey case of Carlyle Capital, Adam Deacock of Radcliffe Chambers reviewed the lessons that practitioners should learn from these recent cases, and discussed when it may be advisable for a liquidator to bring wrongful trading proceedings, and what alternative claims there might be.
 
Tony Hannon from the Insolvency Service and Robert Hebenton from PwC then took delegates through some of the challenges of the Carillion case, which is the largest ever UK trading insolvency. Tony and Robert explained how the government and special manager worked closely to maintain over 100 critical contracts, while also working through a complex group structure which consisted of 375 companies and interests. As well as providing some interesting anecdotes (the case doubled the Insolvency Service’s document storage, for example) the speakers outlined some of their successes, including the fact that 84% of all staff have been transferred to new roles.
 
Next up was Tim Ridyard of Ashtons Legal, who spoke about the regulatory considerations when rescuing and recovering businesses, particularly in the transport sector. Tim highlighted the wide range of regulatory obligations, the number of regulators and enforcers, as well as the consequences for office holders of making mistakes in this context.
 
Another particularly topical presentation, given the struggles on the high street, was given by Simon Chaplin of Christie & Co, who looked at the issues facing these businesses, focusing particularly on those in the hospitality space. He pointed to April 2017 as a key turning point for businesses, thanks to an increase in business rates, the effect of the National Living Wage’s recent introduction and a rise in the National Minimum Wage, the continued rollout of pensions auto-enrolment and increased Brexit uncertainty – all key factors placing increased financial pressure on retailers and the hospitality sector.
 
The penultimate speaker, Faith Julian of 9 Stone Buildings, gave a legal update, running through some of the most recent and important legal cases for the profession, including Global Corporate v Hale, Burnden Holdings (UK) Ltd v Fielding and Lygoe v Hunt.
 
With the conference taking place the day before the originally planned date of the UK’s departure from the EU, Professor Trevor William’s presentation on the UK’s economic outlook post-Brexit couldn’t have been more topical. Trevor considered the challenges and opportunities that the UK will have to navigate in the coming years in order to make a success of Brexit, including improving productivity rates and dealing with an ageing population.
 
As ever, R3 would like to extend a big thank you to our speakers, the conference chairs Alistair Bacon and Mark Upton, and to our sponsors: Manolete Partners and IRS, our headline sponsors; and W&H Peacock, sponsor of the drinks reception.
 
Thank you too to all who attended the conference – we hope you enjoyed the event, and look forward to seeing many of you at R3’s Annual Conference in Northumberland (May 22-24).

Notes to editors:

  • R3 is the trade body for Insolvency Professionals and represents the UK’s Insolvency Practitioners.

  • R3 comments on a wide variety of personal and corporate insolvency issues. Contact the press office, or see www.r3.org.uk for further information.

  • R3 promotes best practice for professionals working with financially troubled individuals and businesses; all R3 members are regulated by recognised professional bodies
     
  • R3 stands for 'Rescue, Recovery, and Renewal' and is also known as the Association of Business Recovery Professionals.