The PCR team spent the afternoon of Thursday 15 December 2016 on a treasure hunt quest, searching for clues, solving riddles and picking each others brains in a race to win goodies and prizes.

Split into three teams and pacing ourselves through cold and blustery conditions on the streets of London, we encountered Santa, some elves and even Ebenezer Scrooge himself along the way.

However, after a closely contested hunt, only one team could walk away with the prizes and claim bragging rights.

Well done team Reindeer!

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The construction industry faced a period of real uncertainty following the Brexit vote. This wasn’t helped by the fact that private sector investors were delaying investment decisions until the EU referendum results were in.

Now that the dust has settled, is the decision to leave the EU a blow to the industry or does the future look promising?

With the decision to leave the EU confirmed, it has been widely expected that investors will reappraise their industrial and commercial property development plans. However, the London commercial property market looks especially vulnerable as many financial institutions need to be located within the EU. In addition to this, the economic uncertainty is likely to slow down activity in the housing market as well as private house building activity over the coming months.

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The Insolvency Service has announced that new insolvency rules will come in to place from the 6th April 2017, replacing the existing insolvency rules of 1986. The new legislation would include replacing the 28 subsequent amendments to bring in a more efficient insolvency process overall and to both modernise and stabilise the legislation.

This will bring the legislation in line with modern business practices which would include the usage of present day terminology and gender neutral language. Ultimately, the legislation would therefore be presented in a clearer, concise and logical manner for all to interpret.

Plentiful advantages

There would certainly be numerous advantages for having a revised legislation as it would mean that Insolvency Practitioners will be able to use electronic communication methods as opposed to the outdated paper communication methods of times gone by when communicating with creditors.

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A person made bankrupt under the provisions of the Insolvency Act 1986 (“the Act”) has a legal duty to cooperate with the Official Receiver and Trustee in Bankruptcy and is under strict legal duties to disclose the extent of their assets and liabilities. The Acts sets out the penalties for non-compliance; Section 354 clearly states that concealment carries a penalty of fine or imprisonment (or both) and is a criminal offence.

The subject of this cautionary tale, a Mr Goni, was declared bankrupt and actively chose not to disclose to the Official Receiver the true extent of his assets. The Official Receiver sought criminal sanction and found favour with the Courts. Indeed, the Courts went a step further and decided that the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002 applied to the offence and that the Court were entitled to make a Confiscation Order. An Order was granted to the tune of c£2m, that being the value of the assets so concealed and therefore the value of the “benefit” of his criminal activities.

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Around this time in 2015, the International Monetary Fund’s Global Stability report questioned whether there was a sustainable recovery. The economic world being hooked on ultra-low borrowing costs.

Cheap money created to rescue the developed economies since 2008. Seems to have created inflated asset bubbles and due to low borrowing costs companies and countries have been encouraged to load up on debt. Emerging markets (India and Brazil) are in trouble.

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