Chapter 1: Introduction to concepts and dramatis personae
The aim of the study is to focus on how the well-established corporate governance debate can be applied to firms (and in particular small firms) experiencing financial distress. This aspect of the broader governance discourse is less well documented than the usual scenario applicable in the case of listed solvent concerns. Tens of thousands of firms of all sizes in the UK endure this debilitating economic condition each year and it is important that we understand the regulatory context in which they, their managers, their ‘gatekeepers’ and ultimately their undertakers have to subsist. The macro-economic climate prevailing in 2011 and 2012 has been especially testing and has consequently thrown up this issue into sharp relief. But we should not be over-alarmist because if we refer to Companies House Annual Companies Statistics for 2011–12, we find in Table A1 some 2 663100 companies registered in England and Wales. Table A4 from the same source tells us that the average life span of a limited company is 8.8 years.