When people ask me who I work for, I explain that as your Licensed Insolvency Trustee I’m like the referee in a hockey game; I’m not working for one side or the other.
There are many who disagree with this view of the role of a trustee.
Some people will say that since one of my jobs as a Licensed Insolvency Trustee (formerly Bankruptcy Trustee), is to collect money and assets from the bankrupt and give that money to the creditors, I am working for the creditors. On that basis, yes, my efforts result in money going to the people you owe money to, so I can see that point of view.
On the other side are the thousands of people I have helped during my career. They arrive in my office with a lot of debt, and at the end of their consumer proposal or bankruptcy they are debt-free. They want help, and I help them eliminate their debts. Those people will tell you that I’m obviously working for them: they hired me to help them, and I did.
Bankruptcy is a legal process, so when I serve as the Licensed Insolvency Trustee estate I am technically appointed by the court. If there are issues, I am required to go to court and explain the situation, and to propose solutions. The bankruptcy judge looks to me for solutions. While I don’t work for the court, my role is similar to someone who does work for the court system: I am responsible for finding solutions acceptable to the court.
- creditors think I work for them, because I send them money;
- debtors think I work for them, because they choose to use whatever trustee they want, and they hired me to deal with their debts; and
- I am legally appointed by the court.
My job as a Licensed Insolvency Trustee is to create a “win-win” situation for everyone involved in the process. Nobody wants to go bankrupt, and no creditor wants to lose money, but since in some cases a bankruptcy is the only solution, I act as the referee. I make sure that the process is fair to all parties. Since starting Hoyes Michalos in 1999 I believe we have met that objective: all parties are satisfied that we worked together to achieve the best solution.