Phoenix companies get their name from the mythical bird that rises from the ashes; it is a business that restarts after all or part of the assets of a business have been brought out of an insolvency process such as a liquidation or administration.

The role of the Insolvency Service with these firms has been highlighted in the press in recent times, in the aftermath of several high-profile collapses in the corporate world (like Carillion). There is pressure to change the current legislation so directors can be held responsible for their actions after the company has been sold.

One criticism of phoenix companies is that directors have often been accused of dissolving businesses to avoid having to pay for employees and their pensions. Under the new proposed government plans, however, they could face fines or even be disqualified from going on to run a new business should it be proved they have behaved improperly. They will also be required to outline how the firm can afford to pay dividends alongside financial commitments.

The legislation will seek to stop companies paying dividends to shareholders when they are liabilities outstanding and it aims to address the situation where suppliers are left unpaid while share holders are still receiving dividends.   The government has asked the Investment Association to monitor dividend payments as part of the review.

The legislation is set to be explained in further detail in the autumn. It is being put forward as part of the government’s response to the corporate governance and insolvency consultation that was launched this past March.

As with any new measures in the field, the licensed insolvency practitioners at Walsh Taylor will naturally be monitoring the situation as matters progress.

For details on our business support services, please call us on 03300 244 660.

Mary Taylor

Mary began working in insolvency for a national accountancy practice in Glasgow thirty years ago and worked in most divisions of the insolvency department.

She then moved to a smaller firm so she could advance her knowledge on a more hands on basis. She moved back to Leeds in 1987 and commenced working with a small firm of accountants and subsequently made partner.

She left in 1999 to set up her own practice, McCann Taylor.
McCann Taylor became involved with the consumer market both in England and Scotland.

Mary sold McCann Taylor in March 2007 and formed Walsh Taylor to concentrate on helping businesses experiencing financial difficulties.

Meg Heath

Meg has a background in supporting SMEs, including the raising of finance and advising on organisational change. She is a non-executive director of companies in the private and third sector, including Walsh Taylor.

Previously she was Deputy Fund Director of one of the largest CDFIs in the UK, and has experience of the social enterprise, charity and private sectors. Her experience of assisting companies to survive and thrive has been gained across a broad range of sectors and in companies of all sizes.

In addition to her work at Walsh Taylor she works for other private companies, including non-executive and trustee positions.

Emma Mifsud
Insolvency Practitioner

After graduating from Leeds University in 2005 with a BA Hons degree in Criminology, Emma worked for a regional law firm in both the property department and insolvency and banking department. Whilst doing so Emma gained a Graduate Diploma in Law at BPP University.

Emma then joined a national accountancy firm in 2009 gaining experience in personal insolvency before moving to a Leeds based firm. At this firm Emma specialised in bankruptcies, IVA’s and negotiating informal agreements with creditors. In 2013 Emma gained her CPI qualification.

Since joining the firm in December 2013, Emma has taken on a portfolio of personal and corporate insolvency cases to extend her knowledge and expertise in all areas of insolvency.

In December 2017 Emma become a licensed appointment taker under the Insolvency Practitioners Association, she is JIEB qualified.

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