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Leslie set to be first Scots woman to lead UK's IPA

Insolvency expert Maureen Leslie is set to become the first Scottish woman leader of the UK-wide Insolvency Practitioners Association (IPA).

Ms Leslie is founder ­director of Glasgow-based MLM Solutions, which employs 36, turns over almost £2.5 million, and is about to open an office in London.

She will become the next deputy vice-president of the IPA, on a path to becoming president in 2016 of the organisation, which is both a membership body and a regulator for insolvency practitioners.

Ms Leslie has been at the forefront of the IPA's engagement with the development of insolvency policy in the UK generally and in particular in Scotland.

She believes there are questions over what regulatory structure might be appropriate were Scotland to vote for independence.

She said: "I personally have a very firm view that it would not make sense for Scotland to have a distinct corporate insolvency regime, because most businesses operate cross-border."

She said the Scottish Government had indicated that under independence it would need to take over the functions currently ­exercised by the Insolvency Service, but there was little detail and still "a lot of debate to be had".

There had been plenty of consultation, Ms Leslie said, over the numerous changes to Scottish insolvency law over the past few years.

She said Scotland had been "slightly behind" England, in tightening its Protected Trust Deed regime at the end of November to ensure fairer treatment of creditors.

On the protests this month from some consumer groups and debt charities about changes to the bankruptcy regime that will extend from three to four years the repayment liability of bankrupts, Ms Leslie said the £10,000 limit on assets seemed a reasonable safeguard.

Ms Leslie has been a member of the IPA since qualifying as a practitioner in 1997, she became a fellow in 2008, and for the past five years has served as a director on its governing board.

In her new role she will support the work of the ­president and vice-president over the next two years.

She said: "It's important that those with first-hand knowledge of insolvency practice play an active role in working within the ­professional bodies that shape policy.

"In particular, it has been good to see the IPA engage pro-actively and ­constructively in a number of important developments in Scottish insolvency.

"I do feel there is room in the marketplace for a ­business like ours to work with owner-managed ­businesses, on restructuring and if necessary company voluntary arrangements."

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