Individual Voluntary Arrangements
Q: What is an individual voluntary arrangement (IVA)?
A: IVA is a formal procedure under the Bankruptcy Ordinance to provide an alternative to bankruptcy. It involves application to the court for an interim order during which no bankruptcy or other legal proceedings may be taken or continued against the debtor. A debtor makes a repayment proposal to the court and creditors. If approved, it will legally bind all creditors.
Q: What are the advantages of IVA?
A: A debtor can avoid the stigma of bankruptcy. He/she will be free from the restrictions of bankruptcy and may be able to retain his/her job/profession, and to act as a director of a company.
For the creditors, as compared with bankruptcy, they may expect better repayment from the debtor as the debtor has more incentive to make repayment of his debts.
Q: Who can apply for IVA?
A: A debtor or an undischarged bankrupt may apply for IVA if he/she intends to make a proposal for repayment of his/her debts.
Q: Who can be a nominee?
A: The debtor should find a person to act as his/her nominee of the IVA. Any person who, in the opinion of the court, has suitable experience and qualifications can act as nominee. A nominee is usually an accountant or a solicitor. More information can be obtained at the website of the Hong Kong Institute of Certified Public Accountants at www.hkicpa.org.hk or the Law Society of Hong Kong at www.hklawsoc.org.hk.
Q: How much will IVA cost?
A: The debtor is required to deposit with the nominee an initial sum of $12,150 to cover the fees, expenses and remuneration to be incurred by the nominee in connection with the work done by him in respect of the IVA.
When applying to the court for an interim order, the debtor has to pay a court fee in accordance with the rates set out in Item 12 in Table A of the Bankruptcy (Fees and Percentages) Order.
Q: Are details of IVA made public?
A: Under rule 122W of the Bankruptcy Rules, the Official Receiver is required to maintain a register of IVA, which contains the details of the arrangement such as the name, Hong Kong Identity Card number and address of the debtor; the date on which the arrangement was approved by the creditors; the name and address of the nominee, etc. The register is searchable by members of the public.
Q: What will happen if the repayment proposal is rejected by the creditors?
A: Bankruptcy or other legal proceedings may be taken or continued. The debtor cannot apply for an interim order again in the next 12 months.
Q: What are the consequences of non-compliance with IVA?
A: The debtor is bound by the terms of the approved IVA. If the debtor fails to comply with the obligations under the IVA, the nominee, or any creditors may petition for his/her bankruptcy.
Q: What are the consequences if the debtor makes false representation?
A: The debtor commits an offence if he/she makes any false representation or commits any other fraud for the purpose of obtaining the approval of his/her creditors to an IVA proposal. A person guilty of such offence is liable to a fine at level 2 and to imprisonment for 6 months.
Q: Where can information on IVA be obtained?
A: The Official Receiver’s Office has published “Simple Guide on Individual Voluntary Arrangement” and “Individual Voluntary Arrangement – The Main Processing Stages” for distribution at 10/F., High Block, Queensway Government Offices, 66 Queensway, Hong Kong or through ORO website at www.oro.gov.hk