It is not often you work your way through the broadsheet headlines for a sniff of a story and find our glorious profession perched in the top column inches. It was a proud moment this morning to see one of our own, the Pre-Pack Pool, share the heady heights with a fly atop Mike Pence's head and Lord Frost's optimism about keeping the M20 open at the beginning of next year.
The big business story of the day was spotted by Blade, an intern who Aarati has sneaked into the NTI newsroom under the radar to spend a month at the cutting edge of journalism whilst his friends at Northumbria University are self-isolating in a caravan park just south of Durham. Blade announced when he first joined that he doesn't identify as a male and has fluid pan-sexuality which is determined only by the pull of the Moon's gravity. He (last time) has asked us not to refer to him (last time) as a 'he', but under the epithet 'shum'. Billy and Tracee think the next four weeks should be worth watching, as Neil will probably have some kind of seizure when he first visits the office and won't be able to help himself not shumming.
Billy reckons we should be be able to get a grant for Blade, but Tracee says that Grant will be a boy and we cannot be sure if the Moon will be in the right place for this to be gratefully received. We are quite certain this story will develop over the coming days.
Meanwhile, the headline grabbing 'Pre-Pack' has caused journos to scurry over the Internet to work out how to describe it and its work. The Times leap straight in with 'controversial pre-pack Administrations' on line one of their report about 'planned new legislation is designed to improve transparency after a series of high-profile pre-pack deals this year', and spend the rest of their piece listing the times when controversial Insolvency Practitioners 'shunned' the Pool like someone with hydrophobia, when saving such businesses as Monsoon Accessorize and Bensons for Beds. How could they?
The vast majority of the press chunders on about the tomfoolery of our profession and us eluding scrutiny of our dastardly deeds, but have no detail about the planned legislation that will require mandatory independent scrutiny of pre-pack sales to connected parties. To be fair, this is because there is no detail to be had. The Government's own press release, published this morning (Thursday 8 October) wades in with action-packed phrases such as, 'stricter independent scrutiny on pre-pack sales where connected parties - such as the insolvent company’s existing directors or shareholders - are involved', and 'the move will increase confidence in the insolvency regime, helping to protect jobs and support the economy'. They are right, of course, we Insolvency Practitioners must focus more on protecting jobs, saving businesses and rescuing the economy, rather than on all those other pointless things we spend our days doing.
With not even a peak behind the curtain or a scrap of something that Mark Kleinman of Sky News can grab and call 'AN EXCLUSIVE', UK.Gov's paper keeps it nice and generic, saying that these mysterious 'new laws' will improve confidence and transparency in pre-pack Administration sales, giving the general public and creditors reassurance that their interests are being protected alongside that of the distressed business.
Damn right they will, and they SHOULD.
Colin Haig, President of R3, who the NTI newsroom want to point out still very much identifies as a 'he', is particularly incisive and on-the-ball this glum Thursday morning, saying: "The insolvency and restructuring profession is very sensitive to the impact of pre-packs on creditors, and there is a careful balance to strike in these situations between transparency, protecting creditor value, and business rescue, which these proposals support." Go Colin.
The good news is that laws are coming, so if you insolvency professionals want to spend the next weeks, months (years?) lining your pockets, destroying companies and colluding with nasty directors you should get it all in quick. We are going to be SCRUTINISED soon.