The Creditor Portal – Handling complex cases and visions for the future

Turnkey Exchange

Join Mark Simpson for the third episode of the Turnkey Exchange Podcast where his guests will be discussing their experiences with the Creditor Portal and their suggestions to improve it.

In the third episode of the Turnkey Exchange, Mark Simpson is joined by Darren White, Greg Clough and Stephen Hunt for the final time as we conclude our first mini-series by discussing the Creditor Portal.

As one of the Creditor Portal’s main users, Greg shares his experience of using it in some particularly complex cases while Stephen shares his ideas for future developments to improve stakeholder engagement.

For anyone unfamiliar with Turnkey’s Creditor Portal, it is a secure hub which enables IP’s to publish case information to the Portal which can then be accessed by stakeholders of a case, including creditors, employees, lenders and government departments. Stakeholders can also use the Portal to submit evidence of their claims and vote on decisions online.

Missed the first two episodes of the Turnkey Exchange? Catch up now over on the Turnkey Exchange Hub.

Kicking off this week’s episode, Greg admits that he doesn’t think his team would have been able to operate without the Portal because of how quickly they have grown, going from just 6 people to 160 in 6 years. Greg’s team handled the famous ‘Toys R Us’ case and even though they still held physical meetings, they used the Portal to take votes and receive proxies. There were some people who still opted to vote on paper and it took the team at A&M a few weeks to file them, with Greg claiming that if all votes had been cast on paper, they would have really struggled.

Although a strong advocate of the Creditor Portal today, this wasn’t always the case for Greg. He admitted that initially he was against virtual meetings, however after working on several complex cases, it’s safe to say he has been converted.

Darren - Podcast

I was absolutely against virtual meetings, I didn’t think they’d be comfortable, I didn’t think they could work, I didn’t think trying to let people talk to each other separately and all of It seemed to be ill thought out by the people who wrote the rules….it is fantastically effective and I wouldn’t really go back to physical meetings now.

Greg Clough, Head of IT for Insolvency and Restructuring, Alvarez & Marsal

During the pandemic, A&M were appointed to a complex case with 36 entities involved in the United Arab Emirates which was subject to a large international fraud. This was an extremely complex case made more challenging because of the geography and pandemic but by using the Creditor Portal, A&M were able to hold 36 meetings concurrently. There were some people who had to vote in up to 14 meetings and so A&M worked with Turnkey to make this process much easier whilst also complying with the legal requirements.

On the day of the meeting, there were over 200 people involved and although they kept the voting open for 3 hours, all the votes had been cast within 10 minutes. Once voting had closed, they were then able to announce the results within 10 minutes, which was extremely efficient in comparison to physical meetings.

Given the complexity of the case in UAE, Darren was on hand to provide Greg with support, but he shared that he wasn’t really required, and that the Portal did as expected.

Looking to the future of the Portal, Darren poses the question “what else could it be used for?” and “How can we get better engagement of stakeholders in insolvency cases?”

In response to this, Stephen shares his view that the customer experience is key and that the Portal is still at an early stage in its journey to becoming customer focused. He wants to see it do more than manage the communication between the IP and the Creditor and see it do much more.

“The Portal is a fantastic idea, it can control the medium between the IP and the Creditor, you could end up controlling the cash, certainly the communication, the decision-making process, it’s a hugely powerful tool, it could be the sort of PayPal of the insolvency market, it could control everything.”

Stephen Hunt, Partner, Griffins

Stephen - podcast

Stephen goes on to explain that in addition to the IP, he believes there are two types of users, those who are using the Portal to vote regularly and those using it for the first time. He believes that it needs to be easy enough to use for both types of users. For the large users, he suggests a single log on with a view of all the cases they need to make a decision on, and for the first-time users, he suggests focusing on ease of use by implementing technology such as facial recognition to allow them to easily cast their vote. Taking this feedback on board, Darren agreed that the Portal needed to consider the needs of different users and confirmed that improving usability for them was on the roadmap.

Although Greg also shared this frustration with ease of use, he also shared that by using the Portal, A&M would now be making the move to wholly virtual or even hybrid meetings.

Darren - Podcast

I think now we’ll move to either wholly virtual or perhaps hybrid meeting that does give the chance for people who are genuinely interested to engage which is a step forward already.

Greg Clough, Head of IT for Insolvency and Restructuring, Alvarez & Marsal

Stephen rounds off the session by recounting the story of a case he was approached about which involved 30,000 Creditors and some embarrassing medical aids – you’ll have to listen to the podcast to catch the full story!

And that concludes our round up of the key issues covered in the final episode of the Turnkey Exchange’s first mini-series. If you haven’t already, you can listen to the full recording on the Turnkey Exchange Hub or on Spotify, Apple Podcasts and Amazon Music.

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