The top ranking insolvency practices of 2017

2017 is done, the numbers have come in and names of note appear among those firms that snared the lion’s share of external administrations (exad) in the year just gone.

According to a table of top performers assembled by lawyer Bruce Pasetti’s Stratos Legal, the firm that scooped the largest number of voluntary administrations (VAs) in NSW last year was Domenic Calabretta’s Mackay Goodwin, which notched up 35. Close behind was Jirsch Sutherland with 30 VAs.

Looking at the top five performers in NSW, Gavin Moss’s Chifley Advisory, Cor Cordis and David Iannuzzi’s Veritas Advisory tied for third place with each accepting 29 VAs.

Readers will be aware that both Calabretta and Iannuzzi have had some issues in recent times.

Back in 2016 Calabretta got himself into a deal of bother after accepting an appointment as VA of ASX-listed Condor Blanco Mines. Ultimately the court determined that the appointment was invalid because the directors could not have validly formed the view that the company was insolvent or about to become so.

After those directors were ousted Calabretta was ordered to pay half the costs of the application mounted by the new board seeking to have his appointment declared invalid.

Sources indicate he coughed up around $60k to cover the order but that might not be sufficient to placate the new Condor board. See: Invalid Administrator May Be Chased Over “Trespass”

Veritas principal Iannuzzi meanwhile featured several times in SiN in the latter half of 2017. That coverage followed the initiation against Iannuzzi of proceedings launched by the Deputy commissioner of Taxation (DCoT) in the Federal Court in September.

The DCoT is seeking an inquiry into Iannuzzi’s handling of multiple VAs and Creditors Voluntary Liquidations (CVLs) referred to him by Banq Accountants and has asked the court to ban Iannuzzi from holding a liquidator’s registration for 10 years. In December Iannuzzi filed a lengthy defence in which he denied the DCoT’s allegations. See: Liquidator Facing 10 Year Ban

A hearing as to whether an inquiry is warranted is set down for April but the tax office’s action does not seem to have had any negative effect on Veritas and its embattled principal.

The Stratos Legal rankings also reveal that Calabretta and Iannuzzi were top performers in the CVL stakes in 2017. Calabretta can probably thank David Hill, with whom he co-owns Australian Debt Solvers for some of that work flow.

As in VAs, Mackay Goodwin’s scored the most CVLs in NSW with 154, a full 30 appointments ahead of second place getter Worrells. Veritas was third in CVLs with 99, ahead of Cor Cordis and Jirsch Sutherland with 76 and 75 respectively.

Interstate Worrells and RSM were overall the most consistent performers with the former dominating every category of exad in Queensland. PPB Advisory meanwhile showed strongly in official liquidations, topping the stats in NSW and sharing first place with Rodgers Reidy in Victoria. See below for the full 2017 rankings.

Further reading:

Tax Boss V Liquidator – Where’s ASIC?

About the Author

Peter Gosnell
Insolvency News Online illuminates the practice of insolvency Australia-wide, highlighting the triumphs and travails of the nation’s registered practitioners and the accounting and legal professionals who work with them. INO is produced by Peter Gosnell, former business editor and senior business reporter at The Daily Telegraph newspaper. During a decade-long career, your correspondent reported on such notable corporate collapses as HIH, One.Tel, Westpoint and Fincorp as well as some of the nation's highest profile bankruptcies and the investigations and prosecutions arising from Australia's most notorious instances of white-collar crime.

12 Comments on "The top ranking insolvency practices of 2017"

  1. Clearly a quantitative and not qualitative measure. It would be interesting to map those matters of the high volume winning firms against returns to creditors, wouldn’t it?

  2. Les Williams - Subcontractors Alliance | 31 January 2018 at 11:54 am | Reply

    It is very informative when one compares the outcomes from the 29 Queensland construction company insolvencies (since 2014) that have director appointed IP’s against that of the 3 insolvencies that had the incumbent (director appointed) IP removed and a replacement IP installed by subcontractors. ASIC has blamed under and substandard reporting for their inaction in prosecuting construction company directors for any breaches of the law. Maybe ASIC should release statistics advising the public of how many instances of substandard reporting hindering prosecutions that were received from the top 3 IP’s. Nobody associated with the 32 Queensland construction industry insolvencies have been charged with anything despite most if not all involving unlawful behavior.

  3. Excellent piece Peter.
    It sets it out nicely on just who has the best network of pre insolvency advisors and who are the greediest law firms feeding off creditors money.

    Are there any statistics available on how many of Worrells 46 Queensland Liquidations actually produced a return for creditors and what that return was?
    Perhaps Worrells would like to answer that and they can start with Bluestone Constructions, oh and CKP Constructions. The creditors keep asking me what is the likelihood of a return. All I can say to them is look at the liquidators record and contact them.

    I would really appreciate an answer on that as I believe it would be zero or very near to it as is the case in most liquidations.
    If zero is the answer, why then do they get so many jobs and who shoehorns them into those jobs?

  4. At the risk of appearing presumptive I would say no surprises there, especially when one considers the ongoing shenanigans with current pre insolvency and Plutus investigations? In respect to Mr Williams comments I would offer that having ASIC oversee the Insolvency Profession is akin to having a group of mates umpire your upcommig game.

  5. Worrells Dividends Paid link from their website

  6. Thanks for the Dividend Link Nick. It seems to indicate that Worrells paid out approximately $22.2 million to creditors in the 12 months to February 2, 2018.

    • Correct. I think Worrells are the only firm that make this sort of information public and they have done so for a long time. For the record and disclosure purposes, I am not a Worrells employee, however I was an employee from 2006 – 2009.

  7. “Edited……. ” if they did 45 liquidations in the period that is a miserable average return of 500k per liquidation. How many millions do those 45 liquidations represent in total?

    Who knows because they don’t publish that so take the case of Bluestone Constructions, it was 7 million. They have got nothing of note back there and certainly nothing for unsecured creditors, CKP Constructions the same.

    Those returns are nothing more than window dressing. If you want to show us how much you returned, show us how much you didn’t so the picture is complete.

  8. Congratulations Worrells

    A firm which insolvency firms should be striving to become

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