In what might be a sign of lean times, almost 10 per cent of Australia’s registered liquidator population has applied for a place on the reviewing liquidator panel proposed by ASIC last August.
Association of Independent Insolvency Practitioners (AIIP) president and Helm Advisory principal Stephen Hathway said today that the number of applicants was disclosed by ASIC during meetings this week as part of its bi-annual liaison with industry initiative.
“We can confirm about 65 applied and ASIC is going to weed them down to 12 or 15,” Hathway told Insolvency News Online.
With approximately 650 registered liquidators nationally the fact that up to 65 – or almost 10 per cent – were prepared to consider a role which might turn out to be among the most thankless tasks an insolvency practitioner could undertake is instructive. Are so many truly so hard up?
On August 28, 2018 Thea Eszenyi, senior executive leader of ASIC’s Insolvency Practitioners Stakeholder Team advised RLs that it was forming the reviewing liquidator panel pursuant to powers under section 90-23 of Schedule 2 of the Corporations Act 2001.
“ASIC expects the reviewing liquidator to inquire, investigate and report on suspected illegal phoenix activity,” Eszenyi said.
“This includes the conduct of the appointed external administrator where he/she appears to facilitate or has facilitated the activity through a lack of independence, or by not conducting adequate investigations and reporting both to creditors and ASIC.
“These services aim to promote market confidence in the corporate insolvency regime and support the Government’s reforms aimed at combatting illegal phoenix activity.”
ASIC said the extra cash to fund reviews would come via a beefed up Assetless Administration Fund, with grants to fund reviews ranging from $20,000 to $100,000.
Given how little many liquidators are often obliged to survive on while conducting wide-ranging investigations of directors and related parties, $20,000 seems pretty generous given the beneficiary will review only the conduct of the appointee.
Hathway said the AIIP was seeking to ensure the reviewing liquidators panel would not comprise practitioners solely from large firms so as to ensure the it appropriately represented the industry’s diversity.
He also revealed that the AIIP is about to present ASIC with the results from an AIIP working group formed to devise ways to streamline the onerous lodgement process liquidators are currently required to comply with.