Insolvency Statistics Q3 2015

…welcome back pop pickers! Yes I’m still mired in the 80’s but it’s my blog so I’ll cry if I want to. You surely all remember Tom Cruise in Top Gun, and its naff but catchy theme tune, but who now remembers that it was the band Berlin who played the song?

But I digress; it’s time to review the Insolvency Service’s latest statistics for the period July to September 2015. Yup, you guessed, they don’t take my breath away, there’s no radical shift this time round. If Q2 showed a continuing downward trend in the number of corporate and individual insolvencies then it’s no surprise that Q3 follows suit.

The “headline” if you could call it that, is that the liquidation rate in 12 months ending 30 September 2015 was 0.46% of active companies - the lowest level since comparable records began in 1984! The full release is available from the Insolvency Service Website and is pretty dry stuff but we’ve gone through it... so you don’t have to! The key facts are set out below, so once digested feel free to dazzle your husbands, wives, teenagers or bank manager with your in depth knowledge of the latest insolvency stats.


  1. Q3 2015 – 3,539 companies entered into formal insolvency; 4.4% less than previous Q and 10.2% than a year ago.
  2. Even less compulsory liquidations this quarter only 612 (20.4% decrease on Q2 and 29.2% lower than Q3).
  3. CVL’s have been decreasing since Q2 2013 – only 2,451 in Q3 – 4.3% lower than Q3 2014.
  4. Although there was an increase in the number of CVA’s by 32.1% (111) compared with Q2, administrations fell by 2.4% and there were only 363; overall the numbers of both have fallen compared to the same period a year ago.
  5. The liquidation rate in 12 months ending Q3 2015 was 0.46% of active companies – the lowest “since records began” in Q4 1984.


  1. Individual insolvencies increased for first time since Q2 2014, there were 19,683 cases in Q3, a slight (2.8%) increase on Q3 but 18.5% less than corresponding quarter in 2014.
  2. Spike driven by 9.3% quarterly increase in IVA’s but at 197 this was still 17.9% lower than Q3 2014.
  3. 3,857 Bankruptcies – lowest level since Q4 1990. Year on year Bankruptcies have fallen 21.4% but the fall will have been exacerbated by the introduction of debt relief orders (DROs).
  4. Even so DROs are falling; 5,629 in Q3 which was a 3.5% decrease on Q2 but a massive 17.3 reduction compared to same period in 2014.
  5. Overall rate of personal insolvency decreased; in 12 months ending Q3 2015. 1 in 550 adults (0.18% of adult population became insolvent).

The stats have been summarised in the info-gram shown below.

So what conclusion can we draw?

Nothing very different from what I said last time. Low interest rates and creditor forbearance means troubled businesses have had time to sort their problems out without the use of a formal process. There has not been the wave of post-recession insolvencies we usually expect. Failure in the corporate world will be as a result of a failed product/investment, bad planning, or an exceptional event such as litigation, impacting upon the business rather than general economy wide pressures.

This, of course, will all change should interest rates rise.

The underlying, if benign, economic recovery is making life easier for people hence the downward spiral in personal insolvencies. The expected spike in bankruptcies (before the debt threshold increased from £750 to £5,000 on 1 October) never materialised although the new rules make it easier for people to enter DROs so they may increase next time. Watch this space.

Lee Pryor

You can download the following info-gram as a PDF here ››

Insolvency Statistics Q3 2015 Infographic

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