2014 ? That was a year,that was!
On the road to success, the rule is - always to look ahead. May you reach your destination. May your journey be wonderful. Happy New Year, dear reader!
Looking back at 2014, there dont seem to be that many insolvency highlights. The slow-motion car crash that is Rangers second liquidation is still happening. The fans still have hope that a knight of some colour or other will save them, but if half of what is being said about the onerous contracts left behind by Mr. Whyte and Mr. Green is true, there can't be a going concern business there. Another phoenix needs to rise from those ashes.
The big tax case has still not been resolved so we have not heard the last of Mr. Black and Mrs. Crimson and all its colourful characters, but the Insolvency Service is not seeking a disqualfication order in respect of David Murray or others. Only Craig Whyte has been disqualified - for the maximum period of 15 years. He and Gary Withey of his solicitors Collyer Bristow, and administrators David Greig and Paul Clark of Duff and Phelps are spending the New Year on bail, of course, with allegations of fraud over the 2011 sale of Rangers hanging over them.
The good news football insolvency story must be Hearts, During the dark days of their administration they were actually making a profit! Ann Budge and the Foundation of Hearts supporters can look forward to 2015 and being back in the top flight again.
Away from football, the current insolvency disaster is City Link, which crashed and burned on Christmas Eve. But that had been in the planning for some time, with the assets having reportedly been sold on 9 December - weeks before. The RMT union is of course correct in saying it is an outrage that the event's timing was arranged for when the minimum nuber of parcels were on hand with scant regard to the lives of the 2,360 employees made redndant this afternoon. The other 300 or so kept on for a few days or weeks will at least get paid by Ernst & Younf. As well as the employees, of course thousands of small sub-contractors will have to piece their businesses back together.
As we write, the oil price has "tanked" to below $58, and US crude is less than $54 - down 45% on a year ago. Moore Stephens says that oil and gas insolvencies have already trebled. It is too early to know the full effect. With a favouring wind, the price will bounce back quickly. (However our accounts clients are certainly tightening their belts for the year ahead with cuts in their day rates already in place.)
Gone are the days when the bankruptcy of a law firm was simply unthinkable. Sadly, it is part of the business environment these days and scarely an eyebrow was raised when Tods Murray bit the dust, with Shepherd and Wedderburn picking up the pieces. Does the Law Society of Scotland think there is no misconduct by the firm's partners that merits its attention?
Duff and Phelps weren't the only insolvency practitioners under scrutiny. Vince Cable made sure that Comet liquidators Deloitte were referred to their regulators for an alleged breach of conflcit of interest guidelines during the 2013 collapse.
Phones4U,the Marussia Formula One team, Ferguson Shipbuilders, Unipart Automotive, Ortak, the Hamilton School in Aberdeen have all failed this year and will be missed. But of course Nick Griffin went bankrupt, was expelled from the BNP and flirted with UKIP - but alas was not gone soon enough.
Like a Comet, blazing 'cross the evening sky, gone too soon
Like a rainbow, fading In the twinkling of an eye, gone too soon
Shiny, sparkly and splendidly bright. Here one day, gone one night.
Like the loss of sunlight, on a cloudy afternoon, gone too soon (Michael Jackson)