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Become an ICAEW insolvency licence holder

This section provides information about applying for an ICAEW insolvency licence.

As a recognised professional body (RPB) we are able to offer the following types of insolvency licence:

  • Full licence – for insolvency appointments in relation to companies, individuals and partnerships.
  • Partial licence – for insolvency appointments in relation to companies or individuals only.

To become an ICAEW licensed insolvency practitioner and carry out insolvency work under the Insolvency Act 1986, you must:

  • pass the Joint Insolvency Examination Board's (JIEB) exams; For a full licence you need to pass all three JIEB papers, For a partial licence (for insolvency appointments in relation to companies), you need to pass the JIEB liquidations paper and the administrations, company voluntary arrangements and receiverships paper. For a partial licence (for insolvency appointments in relation to individuals), you need to pass the JIEB personal paper. You can also apply for a partial licence if you have passed all three JIEB papers.
  • meet the minimum experience requirements (600 hours of experience over three years);
  • apply to ICAEW for a licence;
  • be approved as a fit and proper person by the Insolvency Licensing Committee;
  • be granted an insolvency licence;
  • have professional indemnity insurance (PII);
  • comply with the Insolvency Licensing Regulations and Guidance Notes;
  • be monitored by us in accordance with minimum standards agreed with the Insolvency Service; and
  • pay the appropriate fee.

If you're not an ICAEW member, you can be licensed by ICAEW if you also become an affiliate of ICAEW. The application form below combines the licence application and the application for affiliate status and can be used by non-members.

Partial insolvency licensing – please read before applying

Partial insolvency licensing

The law

The Deregulation Act 2015 introduced new provisions into the Insolvency Act 1986 to enable recognised professional bodies (RPBs) to license corporate or personal insolvency specialists. This is described in the Deregulation Act as partial authorisation. Similar legislation was enacted in Northern Ireland by the Insolvency (Amendment) Act (Northern Ireland) 2016. 

The new section 390A of the Insolvency Act 1986 provides that an insolvency practitioner (IP) who is partially authorised is authorised to act only in relation to companies, or only in relation to individuals. It also provides for a person to be fully authorised to act as an IP and accept all kinds of appointment in relation to companies, individuals and partnerships. Anyone who is already authorised to act as an IP is fully authorised.

It’s important to note:

  • Someone who is partially authorised can’t accept an appointment in relation to a partnership. 
  • The law also prevents a partially authorised IP from accepting an appointment in relation to a current or former member of a partnership where the member has outstanding liabilities in relation to the partnership. That’s the same whether the member of the partnership is a company or an individual. 
  • There’s a process to follow (new section 390B) if someone who is partially authorised becomes aware they have been appointed in a case where the insolvent is a member of a partnership and has outstanding liabilities in relation to that partnership. The IP has the option of applying to the court for permission to continue with the appointment or applying for another fully authorised IP to take over the appointment. Continuing to act without the court’s permission is an offence.
  • Someone who has be granted a partial licence will need to make sure they have procedures in place to deal with situations where they have inadvertently been appointed in a case where the insolvent turns out to be a member of a partnership and has outstanding liabilities in relation to the partnership.

In Scotland

An IP who is partially authorised (for insolvency appointments in relation to individuals), can take appointments in relation to the sequestration of a Scottish partnership, but an individual who is partially authorised (for insolvency appointments in relation to companies), can’t.

Applying for a partial licence

You will need to apply for a partial licence in the same way as someone who applies for a full licence. There’s a form to complete and you will need to:

  • pass certain papers of the Joint Insolvency Examination Board's (JIEB) exams (full details below);
  • meet the minimum experience requirements (600 hours of experience over 3 years);
  • be approved as a fit and proper person by the Insolvency Licensing Committee;
  • have professional indemnity insurance (PII); 
  • have bonding arrangements in place (if an appointment taker);
  • comply with the Insolvency Licensing Regulations and Guidance Notes
  • be monitored by us in accordance with minimum standards agreed with the Insolvency Service; and
  • pay the appropriate fee – as the insolvency licensing fee is based on insolvency fee income, it’s the same fee for a full or partial licence.

 
The key difference between full and partial authorisation is in relation to the examinations someone will need to have passed to obtain a partial licence. 

The RPBs have agreed the following is required:

Partial authorisation - individuals  Pass the JIEB personal paper
Partial authorisation - companies

Pass the JIEB liquidation paper Pass the JIEB administrations, company voluntary arrangements and receiverships paper

We will recognise passes in both past and future JIEB exams as above when applications for a partial licence are being considered.

Someone applying for full authorisation will need to have passed all three JIEB papers. They are also able to apply for a partial licence if they prefer.

An IP who is partially authorised will be able to apply for full authorisation by achieving a pass in the remaining individual or company papers as appropriate.

Disclosure of partial authorisation

A partially authorised IP will be required to disclose their partially authorised status. The IP is entitled to refer to themselves as an insolvency practitioner. The format of disclosure is suggested as follows:

‘Mr A is licensed as an insolvency practitioner, only in relation to [individuals/companies – delete as appropriate], in the UK, by the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales.’

The licence we issue to an IP will state the extent of partial authorisation, e.g. (partial authorisation – only in relation to individuals/only in relation to companies).

Apply for an insolvency licence
Move from a non-appointment taking licence to an appointment-taking licence
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Did you know? 

You don’t have to be an ICAEW Chartered Accountant to qualify and be licensed as an insolvency practitioner (IP) with ICAEW. By choosing ICAEW as your single regulator, we can reduce the administrative burden and offer current and future IPs a wealth of benefits and support.