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Future Proof : IFT study of younger turnaround professionals suggests they are more collaborative and solution focused

New report from The Institute for Turnaround and t-Three/Kiddy & Partners highlights key differences between younger turnaround professionals and a broader cohort of professionals 

The skills of turnaround professionals in providing immediate viability and confidence to businesses and stakeholders in those businesses, and in the transformation and adaptation of companies to new or unexpected challenges are an asset to UK plc. The recent economic backdrop has highlighted the value of turnaround in a difficult economic climate, with our latest annual Societal Impact Report highlighting that IFT accredited members saved in excess of 55,000 jobs and £2.6bn in shareholder value in the year 2022-23. When we factor in the work of our partners the number of jobs saved rises to just shy of 150,000.

Turnaround is therefore an important business discipline – a profession of professions, which will continue to be crucial for the success of UK plc. In the longer term, drivers of economic and social change – technology, trade, the geopolitical context- mean that turnaround professionals will need to support businesses to adapt and transform to the evolving landscape.

The Institute for Turnaround and t-Three/Kiddy & Partners have undertaken what we believe is the first survey looking at the characteristics and traits of younger turnaround professionals. According to the research, younger turnaround professionals demonstrate some significant differences when compared to a general population of working people.

The report, Future Proof: The Traits and Attributes of Young Turnaround Professionals, surveyed turnaround professionals from fields such as banking, law and accountancy. They completed Facet5, a globally recognized Five Factor trait personality questionnaire accredited by the British Psychological Society and designed specifically for the workplace.

The responses from participants indicated three key areas where turnaround professionals’ traits and behaviours can be distinguished from those of general employees:

  • Turnaround professionals are more likely to demonstrate behaviour which seeks to resolve differences of view and disagreement in a calm, non-argumentative way to achieve a consensual position.
  • They also show a higher tendency to share their processes and approach, favouring working collaboratively towards a successful outcome, taking into account others’ input and feedback along the way.
  • Finally, those in the participant group show a greater tendency overall towards working to high standards and hence will display a strong sense of duty, responsibility and conscientiousness.

The research highlights the distinctive traits displayed by younger turnaround professionals and also indicates some possible areas of professional development such as stakeholder management skills and strategies for dealing with confrontation. It provides a useful starting point for further research about this important profession and what skills and competencies will be required to ensure future delivery of successful turnarounds.

You can read the full report here.

The IFT’s first Quarterly Update: increasing demand for turnaround services in the face of inflationary and costs pressures

As official figures show that the UK economy entered a technical recession in the last quarter of 2023, today we publish The IFT’s first quarterly update, covering activity in the turnaround sector as well as distress and insolvency statistics for Quarter 4 2023.

This update supplements our annual Societal Impact report which surveys our independent members and corporate partner firms. Last year’s report estimated that accredited turnaround professionals saved an estimated 55,000 jobs in 2022-23, helping UK companies to add £2.6 billion in shareholder value.

The vast majority of surveyed firms specialising in turnaround saw an increase in activity in the last quarter, with construction, real estate and financial services the busiest sectors seeking turnaround expertise.

Inflationary pressures and the costs of servicing debt were the top two reasons turnaround professionals saw underlying business distress, highlighting the difficult economic context for companies seeking support.

With thanks to FRP Advisory and our partners who contributed to this update. These updates will be released on a quarterly basis to provide a snapshot of trends in the turnaround sector and business distress.

IFT Quarterly Update Q4 2023 FINAL

Institute for Turnaround welcomes publication of HMRC’s approach to Restructuring Plans

On 1 November 2023, HMRC published some new guidance outlining the approach they will take to restructuring proposals provided by companies, such as restructuring plans under Part 26A of the Companies Act 2006. 

The guidance is short and without frills but does offer some key points for companies to ensure they consider when looking to restructure debts given HMRC’s status as a key creditor. The guidance also reflects some of the key lessons that have developed from Part 26A case law to date where HMRC engagement has been crucial to the success or failure of plans.

Firstly, HMRC is clear that they will only support restructuring proposals where they believe there is a “realistic chance of succeeding” (emphasis added).  They outline that companies must be prepared to explain why they consider the plan to be realistic and in particular that HMRC will critically examine projections of future income and expenditure, comparing it to previous history and assurance. All tax returns must be filed and HMRC need to be satisfied that the company will be able to pay future debts to them as they are due.

The guidance therefore makes clear that companies and their advisers need to be mindful of previous dealings and filings with HMRC and be prepared to explain any previous issues with taxes, as well as to defend future assumptions and calculations. Robust figures and independent evidence are crucial.

Another consideration of HMRC highlighted is the approach taken to payments of other creditors ahead of HMRC and whether this is justified, as well as looking at whether the company has “dealt fairly with payments to creditors during the period” and if part of a group, has “reasonably apportioned debt or risk within the group”.

Ultimately, the key point to take from this guidance, as indeed from the case law it reflects, is that HMRC support for restructuring is possible, but early and open engagement with HMRC is essential.

What does the Autumn Statement offer struggling businesses?

What does the Autumn Statement offer struggling businesses?

As a major policy moment before the next UK general election, this Autumn Statement has been hotly anticipated. There was much speculation about possible tax cuts to provide relief to businesses who have been struggling with the impacts of inflation, supply chain and labour issues.

Hunt predicted that the 110 growth measures he included in the statement would increase business investment by £20 billion per year in a decade and he emphasised that the statement was an “Autumn Statement for Growth”. This was against  figures from the Office for Budget Responsibility where projected growth is now expected to be slower than expected, and inflation is estimated not to fall to its 2% target level until the first half of 2025. Whilst the economy defied predictions with an estimated growth of 0.6% in 2023, the OBR’s estimate of the medium-term potential growth rate of the economy has been revised down to 1.6% from their previous estimate of 1.8%.

The Chancellor’s measures for businesses included the following:

Business Tax Measures 

  • “Full expensing” for businesses to be made permanent.
  • 75% business rates discount for hospitality, retail and leisure extended for another year to 2024/2025.
  • A freeze on all alcohol duty until 1 August 2024.
  • Creating a new simplified Research & Development (R&D) tax relief combining the existing R&D expenditure credit and SME schemes; reducing the rate that loss-making companies are taxed within the merge scheme from 25% to 19% and lowering the threshold for additional support for R&D-intensive lossmaking SMEs to 30%.
  • The small business rates multiplier will be frozen for a further year, though the standard business rates multiplier will rise by inflation.
  • Abolition of Class 2 National Insurance contributions for the self-employed altogether, and Class 4 National Insurance contributions reduced by 1% from 9% from April 2024.


Apprenticeships and Skills

  • An additional £50 million to boost numbers of apprenticeships in key growth sectors.


Business investment and other measures

  • Reforms to business planning applications for faster processing.
  • Foreign Direct Investment reforms, including a concierge service for the largest investors.
  • Mansion House pension reforms to unlock an extra £75 billion of investment for high growth forms by 2030.
  • Extension of the Enterprise Investment Scheme (EIS) and Venture Capital Trusts (VCT) schemes until 2035 to support start-up companies.
  • A new Growth Fund within the British Business Bank for investing in high growth companies.
  • An upcoming review of the Value for Money Framework by the Financial Conduct Authority
  • A consultation on the Pension Protection Fund acting as a consolidator for smaller private defined benefit pensions schemes.
  • Further capital market reforms to attract investment.


Sector specific measures

  • Improving electricity grid access for clean energy companies.
  • £500 million over the next two years to help develop Artificial Intelligence industries.
  • For the advanced manufacturing and green energy sectors he announced that the government will be publishing long-term plans and £4.5 billion of support over the five years to 2030 to attract investment into strategic manufacturing centres.


Late payments  

  • In terms of payments dates, the Procurement Act has 30-day payment terms throughout the subcontract supply chain for public sector contracts. From April 2024, any company bidding for large government contracts should demonstrate they pay their own invoices within an average of 55 days which will reduce progressively to 30 days.


Levelling up

  • Investment zones and freeports – extending financial incentives for investment zones, and tax reliefs for Freeports from 5 years to 10 years.
  • A £150 million investment opportunity fund, new investment zone in West Yorkshire, 3 further investment zones in the West Midlands, East Midlands and Greater Manchester, and a second investment zone in Wales.



The Chancellor stated that the 110 growth measures he included in the statement would increase business investment by up to £20 billion per year and described the extension to full expensing as “the largest business tax cut in modern British history” and the “biggest ever boost for business investment in modern times”.

A number of the measures will be welcome for struggling businesses, especially smaller businesses, such as the plans for tackling late payments where businesses are struggling with cashflow issues, as well as the freezing of the small business multiplier for an additional year. There were also sector specific measures such as the extension of the 75% business rates discount for hospitality, retail and leisure for another year, and the freezing of all alcohol duty until 1 August 2024. This will be good news for these sectors, where businesses are particularly struggling with increasing costs and the impact of the cost-of-living crisis on demand.

The full expensing change was broadly welcomed by businesses – though it will benefit more research-intensive industries rather than service sectors – and it was also noted that by the Federation of Small Businesses that some of the major concerns of SME businesses were addressed, such as late payments and small business rates. Other measures supporting investment have been welcomed by organisations such as the British Venture Capital Association.

However, larger retailers and other hospitality businesses will still have to face an increase in the standard business rates multiplier by the September 2023 CPI rate of 6.7%. The OBR analysis confirmed that though the tax cuts in the Autumn Statement reduce the UK tax burden by 0.7% of GDP, the tax burden continues to rise and will reach a post-war high of nearly 38% of GDP by 2028/29. Increases to the National Living Wage also represent additional costs for businesses. In addition, organisations like the Institute of Directors noted that there was a lack of comprehensive measures for tackling skills shortages that also impact business prospects.

Ultimately, whilst welcoming some of the measures, businesses will be looking at the reduced growth figures – with a rate of 0.7% now predicted for 2024 – as well as the lagging inflation and interest rates with trepidation and steeling themselves for continued challenging times.

Adapt Transform Succeed: The IFT announces 2023 Award Winners

The IFT Annual Awards, the most prestigious awards to celebrate business turnaround and the UK’s world class turnaround experts, recognises individuals and companies.

The winners are as follows:

Large Company Turnaround of the Year PwC for Travelex. This was a multi-year turnaround, with an emphasis on leadership. The team were persistent, adapted when required and shared their energy and motivation across the company. The case showed determination, resilience and commitment to deliver the turnaround plan, which was shared by employees, shareholders, the Barclays led lender group and PwC, leading the business back to profitability.

Mid-market Turnaround of the YearRcapital for Cluttons. he judges stated that this was a truly remarkable turnaround, transformation, and exit. Facing challenging trading conditions, Cluttons embarked on a journey to return to growth through successful financial restructuring, strategic repositioning, and technological innovation alongside a commitment to ESG principles. Cluttons is a heritage brand, and the turnaround enabled it to respond to the contemporary environment, echoing the IFT’s message: Adapt, Transform, Succeed.

SME Turnaround of the YearBarclays for Salvatori Group of Companies. The judges remarked upon the resilience showed by this historically successful business in overcoming the challenges associated with a premises move, overrunning costs and profitability issues. The submission showcased the rock-solid dependability of the business support team, which enabled the management team to guide their own return to profitability

Community Impact Turnaround of the YearBDO for HCT Group, a social enterprise and registered charity providing a range of vital community transport services. This turnaround presented a challenging case, with a lot at stake for the communities served. The judges remarked on the commitment of the leadership team, and differing skills displayed by those members of our turnaround community who were involved. The turnaround enabled the continued provision of essential services to vulnerable groups, and saved over 1,000 jobs.

DLA Piper picked up Legal Adviser of the Year. This firm has long been known for its breadth of expertise across sectors. The cases and programmes cited in their submission indicated a commitment to turnaround outcomes, and engagement across stakeholder groups. DLA Piper demonstrated that they are working at the leading edge of turnaround practice by championing Part 26a Restructuring Plans and securing notable sanctions.

Alvarez and Marsal has achieved remarkable growth and delivered exceptional solutions for clients, including as an early pioneer of Part 26a Restructuring Plans, to win in the category of Turnaround Adviser of the Year. Their submission demonstrated a spread of sector activity and great engagement with stakeholders.

Enact Fund has continued to cement its position as a leading transformational investor in the UK lower mid-market and wins Special Situations Private Equity Provider of the Year. Enact have established a strong operating model, enabling portfolio companies to drive success, with a clear commitment to sustainability and ESG practice. The team evidenced strong outcomes across portfolio companies, predicated on turnaround excellence – demonstrating the IFT brand: adapt, transform, succeed.

Blazehill Capital picked up the award for Special Situations Debt Provider of the Year. As a relatively new entrant, the marketplace has taken note and Blazehill are already recognised for their skill in both origination and managing problems. Their profile as a flexible lender, providing more choice for UK mid-market companies, is combined with a commitment to social causes.

Bringing together leading independent turnaround directors and the best lenders, investors, advisory and legal firms in turnaround, we are also delighted to celebrate individual successes.

The winner of Independent Turnaround Adviser of the Year for this year was Donald Muir. Donald is well known as a turnaround leader and his most recent large turnaround showcased his outstanding leadership skills, his ability to inspire others to excellent results and the trust he builds with stakeholders.

This is the first year The IFT had independent advisers and a boutique apply to win the independent adviser award, which prompted the judges’ decision to make two awards, with Taiga Associates taking home Independent Boutique Adviser of the Year. The judges recognised the technical excellence and EQ of all team members and their commitment to the turnaround cases they approach, no matter how big, small or challenging. Taiga support a range of companies across different sectors, and are able to provide a blend of skills to support privately owned smaller businesses, PE backed mid markets and Plcs.

Finally, our Rising Star Award went to Nashiba Shafiq of PwC, who has worked across a range of projects with a variety of stakeholders – and her personal impact came across very compellingly in her citations. Starting as a school leaver, she shows maturity beyond her years in her ability to lead, to influence change and to make a difference for future generations.

Andy Leeser, Chairman of The IFT said: “I am delighted to congratulate all our winners and showcase some of the projects our members and partners are involved in.

They work hard at restoring value to organisations in very difficult situations. Since 2020 businesses have faced a rollercoaster of disruption and the pressure is showing in the insolvency rate, which rose 27% in June 2023 compared with a year earlier, taking it to the highest level since the 2008-9 financial crisis.

The work of our members and corporate partners will remain pivotal.”

Milly Camley, CEO of The IFT said:

“I would like to congratulate all the winners in a year of highly competitive submissions demonstrating what an incredible job all our members have been doing over the last year.  The quality and impact of that work was reflected in the number of quality of submissions we received for the awards this year.

Those contributions are also reflected in the findings of our recent societal impact survey, which estimated that IFT accredited members saved in excess of 55,000 jobs and £2.6bn in shareholder value in the year 2022-23. When we factor in the work of our partners the number of jobs saved rises to just shy of 150,000.”

Delivering at Pace: A Benchmarked Analysis of the Traits, Skills and Drivers of Turnaround Leaders

We are pleased to publish our report with Korn Ferry, Delivering at Pace: A Benchmarked Analysis of the Traits, Skills and Drivers of Turnaround Leaders. Korn Ferry are global leaders in executive search and using their psychometric profiling toolkit we outlined the key dimensions of turnaround leadership skills and talent.

We believe this study represents the first close analysis of the competencies, traits and drivers associated with turnaround leaders – the Chief Restructuring Officers, Chairs, Chief Executives and Turnaround Directors who have developed a specialism working at the most challenging edge of leadership for distressed or underperforming businesses.

To view and download the report please CLICK HERE

For press information and media enquiries please contact:

Riyah Davies, Communications & Public Affairs Executive:

The IFT End of Year Review 2020

In a difficult year for us all, we have been busy in terms of recruiting new members, promoting turnaround excellence and developing our offer. We would like to thank all our Members and Corporate Partners for their generous contribution of time, resources and insight.

You can read more about what the IFT has achieved and been up to in 2020 in our Review of the Year, available to view and download HERE

Unlocking Value, Saving Jobs: The Contribution of Turnaround to Business and People

When businesses go bust, the economic fallout can be catastrophic. Individuals – and sometimes large parts of the community – lose their jobs. Vital services cease overnight. Enterprise value – a vital underpinning of a dynamic economy – is lost.

In this report, Unlocking Value, Saving Jobs: The Contribution of Turnaround to Business and People, we shine a light on the huge contribution IFT members make and the value they create for society and the economy.

IFT members preserve jobs and livelihoods, uphold local industries, protect economic value and strengthen public service organisations.  In this report, we estimate that in 2019 IFT members and corporate partners saved more than 200,000 jobs and protected £2 billion in enterprise value.

Our research, which predates the Covid-19 disruption, also shows that in 2019 over 130,000 companies in the UK were showing signs of distress. We expect the spread of Covid-19 to drive higher demand for turnaround services for the remainder of 2020 and beyond. That is why this report broadens understandings of turnaround as an essential business discipline that can help avoid unnecessary insolvencies, especially at a time when business recovery is even more important to the economy and to people.

To download the report please click here.

To download the IFT press release for this report please click here.

For press information and media enquiries please contact:

Francesca Rivett-Carnac ( / 07966 227 390)

Grace French ( / 07906 630 501)


You can also view and download our infographics for the report:

DNA of a Turnaround Director 

Key Turnaround Measures 

The Stages of a Turnaround 

Turnaround Timeline 

Handwashing and Beyond: Key Turnaround Advice for Businesses Under Stress

The impact of coronavirus is already exacerbating existing challenges for businesses in the UK. In the context of increased strain, we are sharing the key turnaround insights as you implement measures in your business to deal with coronavirus.

Knowledge and Planning

Understand your position and keep doing so, to aid your planning and management and to help your stakeholders have confidence, “a well-constructed forward looking report focusing on the key KPIs: sales, orders, cash, debts and profit will help with decision making and any difficult conversations. Management should be thinking about actions they can take to mitigate shortfalls and pinch points in the short-term cash flow”, says Ian Parker, Independent Turnaround Professional.

Once you have this forward-looking view, it is important to also ensure it is agile to deal with rapidly changing circumstances:

“It’s important to identify the planning assumption with the greatest uncertainty around them and then develop multiple scenarios for each.  This won’t give you a ‘crystal ball’ but it will greatly increase the resilience of your plans.”, adds Kelly Jones, IFT corporate partner Kingsgate.

Stakeholder confidence

Trust levels can naturally become affected at times of stress. Identify and manage stakeholder expectations – lenders, funders, shareholders, customers, suppliers and your workforce. Engage early and consistently to ensure confidence and trust.

In addition to providing the basis for contingency planning, trusted information and trusted relationships go hand in hand:

Open and honest discussions should be had as early as possible. It’s generally in lenders’ interests to be supportive, but they will need to have confidence in the management information and the management team.” says Philip Watkins, Restructuring Advisory Partner, FRP.

It is essential that the leadership grasps the issues and motivation from the top to the bottom of the business. From engagement in hygiene measures to steps you may need to take to temporarily remodel or scale back operations, your colleagues need to know how they can get involved and how they will be affected.

Cash Flow

The life blood of any business is cash. Take a long hard look at your regular and discretionary expenditure”, says Ian Parker. Running out of cash is often the trigger point for a crisis.  Fixing the finances is not a cure in itself, but it does provide the time and space to manage wider issues.

Cash collection remains crucial whilst recognising that customers and suppliers will likely be facing similar challenges. “It is even more essential in these testing times that robust cashflow forecasting is in place”, says Nina Warwick, Independent Turnaround Professional.

Supply Chain Disruption

A key part of your contingency planning will be managing your supply chains, including clarity on where essential materials and components come from: “Large multi-nationals supplying key components may have multiple facilities, but key components can cause serious disruption”; local suppliers are important too and have different issues “this group is usually under-capitalised and reliant on short term finance and overdrafts” however, the government’s recent measures to refund 14 days sick pay for SMEs with fewer than 250 employees will ease cash flow for some suppliers.

Adapting your Operating Model

Every business will be considering how to do things differently, but many businesses cannot use home working as an option. The need for reduced working may coincide with staff illness and isolation, and businesses should be making maximum use of government measures, such as refunding sick pay for businesses with fewer than 250 employees. Consider how to ‘right size’ your businesses to match reduced demand.

Ensuring a continuity of workforce is key.  Some companies are changing work patterns and others have implemented home working.  Independent member Philip Smith says “Don’t forget the management! Change how they work to ensure the brain of the business is not suddenly disabled.  You should even consider keeping some people away to act as substitutes if key management become unwell or are unable to work.”  

Long-term strategy

Where there are ongoing and underlying issues, for a turnaround to take place, a re-growth strategy needs to be put in place. That means finding a way to do things better, cheaper or differently than your competitors, and having a vision that can be turned into a long-term recovery plan.

Work out what sets you apart from your competitors:

What is different about how you do business?

What is different about how you value your clients and why they would work with you?

What is your Unique Selling Point?”, advises Nina Warwick.

Coronavirus will continue to test resilience for the immediate future but, with structured planning and a short – and medium – term view, it needn’t prove the end of the road for the UK’s stressed businesses” – Philip Watkins of FRP.

In summary, the key issues to consider are:

  1. Take stock of the situation and regularly evaluate.
  2. Maintain or increase the communications flow to key stakeholder.
  3. Closely manage your cash flow as it’s the lifeblood of the business.
  4. Ensure your supply chain is resilient and have a contingency plan.
  5. Adapt your operating model including how senior management work.
  6. Think about the long-term position and start to put a strategy in place.

The IFT is the key organisation in the UK for professionals advising stressed and distressed businesses on business recovery. We champion turnaround excellence.