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IP complaints drop by 16% over two years 16 May 2012

Complaints against insolvency practitioners (IPs) have dropped by 16% over the past two years, according to the Insolvency Service (IS).

Overall complaints for 2011 were 517, down from 531 in 2010 and 618 in 2009, the latest Annual Review of Insolvency Practitioner Regulation reported.

But the number of IPs sanctioned with consent agreements and fines jumped from four in 2010 to 19 last year.

Meanwhile, the number of licenses revoked last year stood at six – the same as in 2010.

In total, 80 IPs were hit with regulatory or disciplinary sanctions, including fines, warnings and reprimands – representing 4.6% of all practitioners.

The IS said the report shows that the current regulatory regime works “reasonably well”.

Inspector general and agency chief executive Stephen Speed said: “I believe that the regulatory regime works reasonably well and that the vast majority of IPs do a first-class job in what are usually very challenging circumstances.”

However, he highlighted the need to provide greater transparency, consistency and independence for complaints-handling processes.

Regulatory body the ICAEW received seven complaints about how it handled grievances – of which two have been upheld and two remain under investigation. ACCA received the other complaint.

Trade body R3 agreed further work is needed to improve the complaints-handling process.

President Lee Manning said: “The vast majority of our members would be happier with fewer regulators than the current seven bodies.

“Also we back the suggestion of guidance on common sanctions to ensure wrongdoing is punished in the same way by differing regulators.”

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