The demise of Monarch Airlines came as something of a surprise to a lot of people, particularly to the 110,000 or so holidaymakers left stranded abroad and those now frantically trying to rebook a holiday or contact their credit card provider.

The failure did not however come as a surprise to the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) which had invoked contingency planning a year ago for what has since been dubbed the largest ever peacetime repatriation effort. Coincidentally, Monarch struggled to renew their Air Travel Organiser’s Licence (ATOL) last year. This reason alone was seen by experts as the first warning sign that all was not well.

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We are pleased to announce that Stratford Hamilton has joined us at partner level. Stratford joins the practice with 21 years’ experience in insolvency and was recently a partner in a practice based in Essex since 2010.

Over the past 7 years, Stratford has undertaken personal and corporate appointments mainly associated with fraud and investigation. He has also worked with creditor groups and government bodies in investigative cases pursuing claims which has resulted in the recovery of funds on behalf of creditors in insolvent estates.

Some of his most recent memorable cases included acting as liquidator of a company based in the UK involved in an overseas property investment fraud which resulted in creditors losing $62m in the United States. He was also a Trustee in a Bankruptcy of a high-profile sports related individual, resulting in a return to creditors where it was previously believed no dividend would be paid.

Stratford is a Licenced Insolvency Practitioner, member of the ICAEW and the Association of Business Recovery Professionals.

In his spare time, Stratford can be seen engaging in online gaming or on a golf course, a welcome break when you are a dad to 6 children.

Welcome to the team!

Three months ago, I wrote an article about the new General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) legislation and how it would have a major impact on the way companies collected personal data. The article highlighted some of the issues facing organisations and how it could potentially result in hefty fines being given if the new rules were not adhered to.

With GDPR coming in to force on 25 May 2018, businesses have a little over 8 months to fully familiarise themselves with the most important change in data privacy in the last 20 years. In fact, the legislation will be incorporated to all businesses within the European Union – and even though the UK will be leaving the EU, GDPR will still affect the UK, as it comes into force before 2019.

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New data recently released from the insolvency and restructuring trade body R3 has highlighted that there is an increase in the risk of businesses in the North East becoming insolvent within the next 12 months. As of the end of July, the report highlighted that 27.3 percent of companies in this region faced the risk of becoming insolvent, compared to 24.8 percent at the beginning of 2017.

The agriculture sector was particularly at risk with an increase of 2.7 percent compared to the risk of insolvency 7 months ago. The difficulties facing the agriculture sector were highlighted 5 months ago in an article by PCR, which suggested farmers were particularly worried about the UK leaving the European Union single market. It was deemed essential that for the farming industry to prosper, there had to be access into the European market free of tariffs and free of any non-tariff barriers. Although there are many other contributing factors to why this sector is facing increasing challenges, the latest figures go some way to supporting these initial fears experienced by farmers at the start of the year.

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The thought of becoming a company director is one which fills many individuals with excitement and self-fulfilment. The responsibility does indeed come with huge challenges and potential hurdles and setbacks along the way, but if navigated correctly, the rewards can be highly satisfactory for your business and for you as an individual.  However, running your own company or being a key decision maker could also be detrimental to your professional career, especially if you are not fully aware of your duties and/or neglect your duties.

The Message
The key message promoted by Insolvency Practitioners to business owners, company directors and decision makers cannot be more emphatic than the below statement.

Are you as a business owner or company director fully aware of your duties and responsibilities as a director?

Similarly, this question should be taken seriously by anyone thinking of becoming a director.

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