The Association for Business Restructuring & Turnaround launches this week with the goal of setting standards and certifying pre-insolvency advisers.
Specialist body aims to codify ‘pre-insolvency void’
The Association for Business Restructuring & Turnaround launches this week with the goal of accrediting specialists in company turnaround and setting professional standards.
ABRT founder Eddie Griffith said the body would aim to address problems identified by the parliamentary insolvency inquiry and had sprung out of conversations between like-minded specialists.
“We came up with the idea that we could set up an association that isn't like anything else out there,” he said. “A new profession for pre-insolvency advisers or advisers likely to deal with distressed businesses.
“We will write a set of very easy-to-follow practice statements and bring credibility to this ‘pre-insolvency’ term.
“Our association will have a strict ethical code, strict guidelines. We will ensure that we provide cents in the dollar outcomes under various scenarios.”
The recent Parliamentary Joint Committee report into corporate insolvency identified issues with “untrustworthy pre-insolvency advice”, including a lack of transparency about who was operating in the space.
It recommended a comprehensive review of “the nature and extent of the harm posed by ‘untrustworthy pre-insolvency advisers’ and whether further regulation or enforcement measures are needed to address this issue”.
In the interim the government should “take prompt action to improve the regulation and active enforcement of pre-insolvency advisers”.
Mr Griffith said ABRT would “fill the void” identified by the review.
“Our overall objective is prevention over cure,” he said. “Our advisers must be fit and proper, experienced, certified, bound by a code of ethics and make use of our professional practice statements. Clients can verify their advisers online to ensure they are appropriate for the advice they need.”
“It will bring ethics and professional standards to the twilight zone where the derogatory term ‘pre-insolvency adviser’ is said to be causing damage to the economy.”
The body was a member of small business organistation COSBOA and supported the Cyber Wardens initiative, Mr Griffith said. It had also partnered informally with the Institute of Managers and Leaders.
ABRT would have a broad ambit, conduct its own research and address the small-to-medium enterprise market. In its focus on pre-insolvency it would differ from other bodies in this area, such as the Turnaround Management Association and the Australian Restructuring, Insolvency & Turnaround Association.
Mr Griffith said there was “enormous demand for operating in this space with certification” and the goal was to attract 500 members by the end of 2024.
The launch event is this Thursday, 14 September, at the Fullerton Hotel in Sydney CBD.