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R3 Member Spotlight: Matt Whitchurch

R3 Member Spotlight: Matt Whitchurch

26 October 2023

Matt is a Partner in FRP’s Financial Advisory team with experience working on advisory, restructuring, pensions advisory and transaction services assignments. Based in Bristol, he provides financial due diligence services and pre-lend reviews to a range of clients. In this Q&A, we ask Matt about the biggest challenges facing the profession today…

1. What made you decide to pursue a career in insolvency and restructuring?

I did a law degree at university which I found fascinating but ultimately it didn’t satisfy the inner mathematician in me! A career in insolvency and restructuring provides a unique blend of needing technical/legal knowledge alongside the ability to apply numerical analysis and scientific rigour to a project.

2. How did you get to where you are today and is there a piece of advice you wish you’d been given at the start of your career?

Lots of hard work and a huge variety of experience! Qualifications can be the key to opening doors – for me it was my ACCA qualification at the beginning of my career and then later doing the JIEB. I’ve also had the benefit of working on a wide range of jobs, for different people and for different offices. That exposure is invaluable – it not only gets your name ‘out there’ but it also gives you the benefit of learning from different approaches in style and personalities and it increases your value as a team member.

I’ll give a few pieces of advice: Firstly, work hard and be seen as a team player but you must be alert to opportunities and grasp them when they present themselves.  Secondly, you are ultimately responsible for your own career.  You may be fortunate enough to work for a supportive employer and in a great team, but ultimately it is your initiative and ability that will see you progress and succeed.  Thirdly, it’s never too soon to start building your own network, if you haven’t already got that underway then be sure to make a concerted effort to get to events with and without your colleagues and get to know those in the profession.

3. How has the profession changed since you’ve joined it?

It’s certainly got smaller.  I’ve seen a number of talented people leave the profession for various reasons, whether it’s through retirement, restructuring of teams or pursuing other opportunities.  The result is that people in the industry are more connected than ever and it’s a great community to be a part of where members support each other.

4. What do you consider to be your biggest achievement in the profession to date?

Passing the JIEB exams in 2020 (my studies coincided with the beginning of the Covid pandemic!) and obtaining my insolvency licence in 2022.

5. Since becoming an R3 member in 2020, which aspects of membership have you found most beneficial?

The regular technical updates and the opportunity to attend technical/networking events often free of charge or at a reduced rate (which in itself encourages attendance).

6. What do you consider as the biggest challenge for the insolvency and recovery profession in the future?

Getting the right talent coming through. It’s linked to the point above about the restructuring community getting smaller. A career in restructuring usually isn’t at the top of somebody’s list that hasn’t had direct experience of it before and as a result it can be challenging to attract people to join, especially those from minority or diverse backgrounds. It’s incumbent on all of us in the profession to change that image and promote the positive aspects to all!

7. What’s the one thing you wish people knew about the profession?

There is so much hard work that often is unrecognised or certainly isn’t in the public domain where restructuring professionals support businesses and stakeholders to find solutions.

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R3 members can provide advice on a range of business and personal finance issues. To find an R3 member who can help you, click below.