McDonald follows Wily out of bankruptcy game

McDonald departs bankruptcyWorkloads and new regulation will prompt multiple retirements from the insolvency game.
Barrister and ex-bankruptcy trustee Geoff McDonald

Ex-bankruptcy trustee but still a barrister: Geoff McDonald.

Barrister and former liquidator Geoff McDonald is leaving bankruptcy, advising creditors in letters obtained by SiN that he is retiring as a trustee.

“I propose to issue a notice to the bankrupt, in a standard form which I have used with many other bankrupts, noting the following,” McDonald said in a letter to creditors of a bankrupt whose estate McDonald has transferred to another trustee.

“I am retiring from the practice as a registered trustee in order to concentrate on my full time and growing practice as a Barrister and the wider business opportunities in 2017 under the brand Helping Clients,” McDonald said.

Ironically, some of the estates McDonald has transferred were appointments he took over from ex-trustee Andrew Wily after the ArmstrongWily principal relinquished his trustee’s registration early in 2015 following an investigation by the Australian Financial Security Authority (AFSA).

At the time Wily said he was handing in his ticket due to the excessive burden of unremunerated work placed on trustees by the bankruptcy regulator.

McDonald told SiN yesterday however that he had been “working two 40 an hour a week” jobs simultaneously and he wanted to focus on being a barrister. That was the reason he was giving up his bankruptcy ticket and he added the business known as Helping Client was no longer part of the plan.

“No, I’m focussing on being a barrister,” he said, adding that his wife, Belinda Crossland, who had been running Helping Clients, was now working as a business development manager at Gilbert + Tobin.

One of the files McDonald has transferred includes details of a notice of proposal of creditors resolution without a meeting under section 64ZBA of the Bankruptcy Act.

It advises creditors wishing to vote to complete the form and return it to McDonald by August 9, 2016. Curiously, the resolution voting form is on the letterhead of ArmstrongWily, distinguished by Wily’s “clarity out of complexity” motto.

Wily had 300 files to transfer to others trustees. While it’s not known how many went to McDonald, one has come across SiN’s desk which shows that less than 12 months ago, McDonald was seeking creditor approval for the payment of $44,773.50 in remuneration for the period from May 29, 2015 to July 11, 2016 and a maximum of $32,040.00 from July 12, 2016 to the finalisation of the bankruptcy.

The relinquishing of his bankruptcy ticket means that in terms of taking insolvency appointments McDonald is now licensed as a registered liquidator only, though he confirmed to SiN he doesn’t take appointments and might not maintain it once ASIC begins levying the new proposed annual fee.

See also:

Andrew Wily Relinquishes Bankruptcy Ticket

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.

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