I formed Armitage & Co as a specialist Insolvency Practice in 1982 having previously qualified as a Chartered Certified Accountant (FCCA)* and I and my accomplished team operated out of offices in Park Square, Leeds and Greville Street, London.
I am a founder member of the Insolvency Practitioners Association (FIPA, Member number 22) and I am one of a few privileged holders of the distinguished Meritorious Service Award from the Chartered Institute of Credit Management (FCICM) which I joined in 1971
I have held a variety of positions in my professional bodies including Local Secretary, Local Chairman, Member of Council (ACCA) and I was a member of the Insolvency Review Committee for the drafting of the Insolvency Act and Insolvency Rules 1986.
Through my many and varied insolvency appointments I identified a void in the market for sub-prime finance and in 1995 formed Facility Finance PLC to provide leasing, hire purchase and sale and lease-back finance to sole traders and limited companies unable to obtain main stream asset finance, often due to a recent insolvency process.
This was exciting and rewarding work for several years until some of the main-stream lenders recognised these opportunities and were able to operate at lower rates of interest. I decided not to compete with these institutions and successfully realised my lending book before bad debts became widespread in the sector. Some of the financial institutions were not so lucky!
Turnaround gradually became the preferred "recovery" process for companies in financial difficulty so along with my insolvency appointments I offered turnaround advice which became very demanding on my time by reason of my insolvency knowledge and financing skills.
To be credible in the turnaround market I knew I could no longer take formal insolvency appointments otherwise I could have been perceived as seeking an insolvency appointment by the back door, therefore I ceased taking appointments (when I still held over 200 such appointments) and concentrated on turnaround advice.
A consequence of this was my numbers of insolvency appointments and support staff reduced over a period of several years until I no longer needed large office premises due to the personal nature of my medium to long term case work (some being 2 years plus) spread over a wide geographical area.
I found this progression into insolvency led turnaround more constructive than pure insolvency but I retained my insolvency licence until 2015 as a sign of my technical and practical experience with a commitment to continuing professional development (CPD).
My strapline became “your business is safe with me because I no longer take formal insolvency appointments”
Following the financial crash of 2008, the property market became severely distressed and again due to my specialist insolvency knowledge I was appointed as a Law of Property Act (LPA) Receiver (not a formal insolvency process) in many multi-million £ property portfolios involving management, realisation and adding-value including the development of a disused airfield into a major operational shopping centre with a supermarket, a variety of retail stores and a petrol filling station.
I recently completed a long term insolvency related major financial investigation involving some £200m of funds and assisted with detailed litigation support. I have also assited with forensic accounting assignments and general litigation support.
(* On 31/12/15 I surrendered my insolvency licence, which was also my practising certificate, as I no longer held any formal insolvency appointments and by mutual agreement resigned from ACCA)