Friday 25 May 2018

Personal insolvency is only for the pros

* Those of you who are unemployed, on low income, frightened, still paying or have cleared the mortgage, have a beat-up car, are low or middle working-class, non-professional and believe we are all still equal should read on.

If you thought that Jim Stafford, a Personal Insolvency Practitioner (PIP), was talking from an elitist point of view when he said professionals were cases that should be accorded a special place in society when it comes to insolvency and may need bigger houses than PAYE workers, this was no self-delusion. Apart from being on the chartered accountants' 'ethics' committee, he wrote the syllabus for the diploma for the insolvency course. He said all of this on RTE radio to Mary Wilson. Afterwards, he tried to distance himself from those comments.

"It was not my intention to offend," he said. The usual apology followed. The 'professional' government agency involved said: "The professional standing of a borrower is not expected to be a factor in this assessment." Of course it is, and it will be. Harry Slowey, a former director of the long-departed Bank of Scotland and now a PIP adviser said this: "The ability to generate work is all about perception, profile and confidence. If a partner in a top law firm is suddenly driving around in a Fiat Bambino, that will affect their work – it becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy."

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