SV rolled by rival after activist’s intervention

SV Partners

SV Partners’ Matthew Bookless.

It may not exert the intimidatory malevolence of an MUA picket just yet but Subbies United (Subbies) is making its presence felt, having engineered another coup against an incumbent liquidator deemed too close to their appointor.

Latest to feel the sting of the sub-contractors’ champion is SV Partners’ Matt Bookless, who was ousted as liquidator of Future Urban Residential Pty Ltd last week at a meeting convened under the new insolvency practice rules and schedule, which allow a creditor controlling at least 5 per cent of the claims to call a meeting to consider replacing the incumbent with another.

Bookless was replaced by Menzies Advisory’s Michael Caspaney, who has in effect made himself SU’s liquidator of choice.

According to an article on the SU website “the vote to change the liquidator was 15 for, none against with a dollar value of $463,504”.

The activist creditor made a point of emphasising that it had no beef with Bookless, adding that its decision to agitate for his removal was not a reflection on him or his ability.

“.. creditors simply don’t want liquidators appointed by the people who have made their money disappear into thin air”, Subbies said.

It also reported that Future Urban Residential’s director may have been receiving pre-insolvency advice for some time prior to the decision of its members to place it into voluntary liquidation and referred to a representative of insolvency advisors de Jonge Read attending the meeting via phone as an observer.

According to Bookless’s Declaration of Independence Relevant Relationships and Indemnities (DIRRI), De Jonge Read is a key referrer to SV Partners Queensland practice, referring 54 matters to SV Partners Queensland  between July 1, 2015 and June 30, 2017.

De Jonge Read appointments also represented 9.68 per cent of total insolvency appointments during the period and generated a little less than 13 per cent of professional fees earned.

Subbies it seems is linking directors it doesn’t like with their business advisors, and concluding that the first liquidator to get the referral can’t be relied upon.

This trend could present some interesting challenges and opportunities for the insolvency profession, particularly if the model can be applied to sectors other than construction.

Summary of the work referred to SVP by de Jonge Read for the period 1 July 2015 to
30 June 2017 (24 months)

Further reading:

Another Director’s Pick Flicked By Subbies

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.

5 Comments on "SV rolled by rival after activist’s intervention"

  1. This target is clearly the mid to large IP’s and not befor e time.

  2. Given the percentages in the DIRRI, it is reasonable to assume a perceived conflict of interest. Subbies United justified in their action here.

  3. So I’m presuming Michael Caspaney will chase all unfair preference payments to various subcontractors on this matter with the full vigour of the law?

    Pot. Kettle. Black = Subbies United.

  4. Rob SU - FU IP's | 13 April 2018 at 10:59 am | Reply

    Madcat- Subbies United members accept that subcontractors preference will be pursued to the “full vigour of the law”.

    What we don’t accept is the special relationship between the Ip and pre-insolvency advisors. In this instance- what makes SVP so special or different to other IP’s that warrants 54 referrals? It’s definitely not their performance, value or outcomes- especially on construction files.

    It’s worth noting, many of our members are Directors of small businesses that have been approached/ cold called by various pre-insolvency advisors stating their special relationship with IP’s and their ability to control outcomes.

    We know what they offer, we know the damage they cause. We will move against them.

    NB: Construction Directors now have the benefit of Safe-harbour and soon Ipso facto reforms. Any Director that follows the cheap advice to burn the ATO and Unsecured creditors (Subbies) and start again (Phoenix) is short-sighted and ultimately untenable.

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