Administration vs. Receivership

What's the Difference?

Administration and receivership are both legal processes that are used to manage and resolve financial difficulties faced by a company. However, there are some key differences between the two. Administration is a process where an administrator is appointed to take control of a company and make decisions on its behalf, with the aim of rescuing the company as a going concern. On the other hand, receivership involves the appointment of a receiver who takes control of the company's assets and manages them in order to repay the company's debts to secured creditors. Unlike administration, receivership does not focus on rescuing the company, but rather on maximizing the recovery for creditors.


DefinitionAdministration refers to the process of managing and running the affairs of an organization or entity.Receivership refers to a legal process where a receiver is appointed to take control of and manage the assets and affairs of a company or individual in financial distress.
InitiationAdministration can be initiated voluntarily by the company's directors or through a court order.Receivership is typically initiated through a court order, often in response to a creditor's petition.
ObjectiveThe objective of administration is to rescue the company, restructure its debts, and continue its operations.The objective of receivership is to maximize the recovery of debts owed to secured creditors by selling the company's assets.
Decision-making powerDuring administration, the company's directors may retain some decision-making power, but it is often limited.In receivership, the receiver has significant decision-making power and control over the company's assets and operations.
DurationAdministration is typically a temporary measure, with a specific timeframe set for the process.Receivership can be temporary or permanent, depending on the circumstances and the objectives of the receiver.
Stakeholder involvementDuring administration, stakeholders such as creditors, employees, and shareholders may have a say in the restructuring process.In receivership, stakeholders have limited involvement, and the receiver primarily focuses on the interests of secured creditors.
Legal statusAdministration provides the company with legal protection from legal actions by creditors during the process.Receivership does not provide the same legal protection as administration, and legal actions by creditors can proceed.

Further Detail


When a company faces financial distress or insolvency, it may require external intervention to manage its affairs and protect the interests of its stakeholders. Two common mechanisms used in such situations are administration and receivership. While both administration and receivership aim to address financial difficulties, they differ in their objectives, processes, and outcomes. In this article, we will explore the attributes of administration and receivership, highlighting their key differences and similarities.


Administration is a legal process that allows a financially troubled company to be restructured and continue its operations under the supervision of an administrator. The primary objective of administration is to rescue the company as a going concern, preserving jobs and maximizing the value for creditors. It provides a breathing space for the company, protecting it from legal actions by creditors while a restructuring plan is developed.

During administration, an administrator is appointed, who takes control of the company's affairs and works towards achieving the best possible outcome for all stakeholders. The administrator assesses the company's financial position, explores options for restructuring, and develops a plan to repay creditors. This plan may involve negotiating with creditors, selling assets, or seeking new investment.

One of the key advantages of administration is that it allows the company to continue trading, which can help maintain customer and supplier relationships. It also provides an opportunity for the company to address underlying issues and implement necessary changes to improve its financial position. However, administration can be a complex and time-consuming process, requiring the involvement of various stakeholders and court approval for certain actions.


Receivership, on the other hand, is a process where a receiver is appointed to take control of a company's assets and manage them on behalf of the secured creditor(s). The primary objective of receivership is to recover the debt owed to the secured creditor(s) by selling the company's assets. Unlike administration, the focus of receivership is not on rescuing the company as a going concern, but rather on maximizing the recovery for the secured creditor(s).

When a company defaults on its secured debt, the secured creditor(s) may appoint a receiver to take control of the company's assets, including property, inventory, and accounts receivable. The receiver's role is to sell these assets and distribute the proceeds to the secured creditor(s) in accordance with their priority rights. In some cases, receivership may result in the complete liquidation of the company.

Receivership provides a more direct and expedited approach to resolving financial distress, as the receiver has the power to take immediate action to sell assets and recover the debt owed. However, this process may not be favorable for other stakeholders, such as unsecured creditors or employees, as their interests are not the primary focus of receivership.

Key Differences

While both administration and receivership are mechanisms used to address financial distress, there are several key differences between the two:

  • Objective: Administration aims to rescue the company as a going concern, while receivership focuses on recovering the debt owed to secured creditors.
  • Control: In administration, an administrator takes control of the company's affairs, whereas in receivership, a receiver takes control of the company's assets.
  • Process: Administration involves developing a restructuring plan and seeking approval from creditors and the court, while receivership focuses on selling assets to recover debt.
  • Outcomes: Administration aims to preserve jobs and maximize value for all stakeholders, while receivership primarily benefits secured creditors.


Despite their differences, administration and receivership also share some similarities:

  • External Intervention: Both administration and receivership involve external intervention to manage the affairs of a financially distressed company.
  • Legal Processes: Both administration and receivership are legal processes governed by specific legislation and regulations.
  • Protection from Legal Actions: Both administration and receivership provide a level of protection to the company from legal actions by creditors.
  • Professional Expertise: Both administration and receivership require the involvement of professionals, such as administrators and receivers, who possess the necessary expertise to manage the financial affairs of the company.


In conclusion, administration and receivership are two distinct mechanisms used to address financial distress and insolvency. While administration focuses on rescuing the company as a going concern and maximizing value for all stakeholders, receivership primarily aims to recover the debt owed to secured creditors. Both processes have their advantages and disadvantages, and the choice between administration and receivership depends on the specific circumstances of the company and the objectives of the stakeholders involved. It is essential for companies facing financial difficulties to seek professional advice to determine the most appropriate course of action and ensure the best possible outcome for all parties involved.

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