In our latest “Meet the Expert” feature, Richard Warwick, Partner in our Restructuring and Insolvency team, talks about the state of the market, discusses the best course of action for a business in distress and shares his talented past as a semi-professional footballer!
1. Tell us about your experience
I started my professional career back in 2005 when I joined, what was then, a bespoke insolvency firm, with whom I performed primarily insolvency work. Despite the specialism, I did qualify as a certified accountant with the ACCA before moving on to gain my insolvency qualification by sitting the JIEB exams.
Shortly before joining Milsted Langdon, I undertook an 18-month secondment to work in a restructuring and insolvency team in Brisbane, Australia. Whilst the law was very similar to ours, the size and nature of the appointments I came across was quite different, ultimately managing a Receivership team undertaking bank-led work throughout Queensland.
I then joined Milsted Langdon in February 2017 and have, during my time here, started taking insolvency appointments in my own name. Having passed my exams in 2009, this was something I had always intended on doing, but it is not until your name is on the documents, that the reality sets in!
Whilst I am involved with a variety of advisory projects, my day-to-day role sees me handling mainly formal insolvency matters for corporate entities, as well as dealing with issues in solvent and insolvent situations.
2. What is the state of the market in the South West at the moment?
Not unsurprisingly, the lasting effect of covid on businesses coupled with high interest rates and inflation, world politics and the cost-of-living crisis means that businesses across the country are having a difficult time. The cumulative effect of these issues has resulted in many businesses struggling with cash flow.
To bring this closer to home, a recent insolvency report suggested that the South West is currently the most unstable region in the UK.
3. If a business is experiencing distress, what should it do?
The key message that we try to instil in our clients and those that we speak to is that asking for help or seeking advice is not the same as failing. The earlier a business acknowledges that there is a current issue or that an issue could arise in the short term, the sooner it can take advice.
Engaging with professionals at the early onset of financial problems can often allow for a wider selection of options to be available to help businesses navigate their problems and avoid, or lessen the impact of, formal insolvency.
4. Outside of work, what are your hobbies?
In my younger years, I played a lot of football, representing my school, college and university teams as well as having a short spell playing for the reserve team at a semi-professional club. With three young children in tow now, I enjoy spending my free time with them and my wife, but will slip in the odd round of golf when a corporate golf day presents the opportunity!