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IVAs in Q3 - what can we expect?

28 October 2011

In exactly one week, we'll see the insolvency figures for July-September 2011, showing us how many people entered an IVA (Individual Voluntary Arrangement) or other form of insolvency in the third quarter of the year.

No-one can predict the exact numbers, of course, but looking back over recent figures can provide an indication of what to expect.

So what kind of trends have we seen recently?

Source: The Insolvency Service

Over 10,000 people* have entered an IVA in every one of the last nine quarters (ever since the second quarter of 2009). On average, we've seen 12,388 new IVAs per quarter in this time.

In just the last three quarters, something very unusual has happened twice. New IVAs actually outnumbered new bankruptcy cases in the second quarter of this year and in the final quarter of last year. Bankruptcies used to be far more common than IVAs, but the gap has been closing:

• In 2001, bankruptcies outnumbered IVAs by almost four to one (23,477 to 6,298)
• In 2005, it was more like two to one (47,291 to 20,293)
• In 2010, bankruptcies outnumbered IVAs by less than 20% (59,173 to 50,693).
• In 2010, we saw around 4.5 times as many bankruptcies as there were back in 2001 - but around eight times as many IVAs.

So what's changed in that time? For a start, people these days are more aware of their options: bankruptcy is no longer seen as the 'default' option for people who need to enter insolvency.

And in 2009, a new form of insolvency was introduced: the Debt Relief Order (DRO). This is an insolvency solution that has helped many people who simply couldn't afford to enter bankruptcy. Since the DRO was introduced, the number of bankruptcies has steadily declined, while the number of DROs has risen in just about every quarter, reaching 7,257 between April and June this year.

The number of new IVAs per quarter, meanwhile, has remained pretty steady since mid-2009, never falling below 10,800 or rising above 13,500.

* All figures for England and Wales

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Editorial Team