AN INSOLVENCY specialist is forecasting a rise in business failures across the south.

Robert Bajaj, consultant solicitor with Dorset law firm Ellis Jones, said that all the ingredients existed for “a perfect storm”.

Speaking at an insolvency seminar, Mr Bajaj highlighted a range of factors including:

  • A static commercial property market.

  • A decline in high street activity, with the retail sector under particular pressure.

  • Global uncertainty and the threat of trade war, primarily between America and China.

  • The strong possibility that Russian investment in London could be affected by the deteriorating UK-Russia relationship.

  • A downturn in the London property market for the first time since 2009.

Mr Bajaj said: “Insolvency practitioners are already reporting to us a high level of activity. Without question all the elements for a ‘perfect storm’ are falling into place. We should prepare ourselves for a potentially rocky road ahead.”

The retail sector has already seen Toys R Us, Maplin and East go out of business this year, while several stores have announced disappointing trading figures.

President Trump has imposed sanctions on Chinese products, while relations between the west and Russia have deteriorated since the poisoning of former spy Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia in Salisbury.

Delegates at the insolvency seminar, held at the Solent Conference Centre at Southampton Solent University, included representatives from some of the region’s biggest accountancy firms as well as insolvency practitioners in Dorset and Hampshire.

Speakers included William Fox Bregman, partner and head of banking and finance litigation at Ellis Jones; Carl Arreghini, an associate solicitor specialising in insolvency, and Seb Oram of 3PB Barristers.

Mr Bajaj said: “The seminar provided the perfect opportunity to update local insolvency practitioners on issues affecting them.

“We received some very flattering feedback from attendees. We’ll continue to develop and expand our relationships and provide support from our experienced team.”

Ellis Jones has formed a specialist insolvency team which is also able to call on the advice of experts in banking and litigation finance, business services and employment law.

The company has offices in Bournemouth, Canford Cliffs, Ringwood, Swanage and Wimborne as well as London.