ASIC releases report on registered liquidators

The corporate regulator has released its fifth annual report into the supervision of registered liquidators, revealing a "strong enforcement focus" on practitioners who flout the law.

Report 479 ASIC regulation of registered liquidators: January to December 2015 details the supervisory, enforcement, stakeholder liaison, policy and educative work ASIC undertook in its commitment to continue to improve regulation of the insolvency and restructuring sector.

According to the report:

• ASIC completed more than 50 reviews covering practitioner independence, competence and remuneration;
• Over 280 reviews were completed as part of the published notices and non-lodgement compliance project;
• Reports of alleged misconduct about registered liquidators dropped from 446 in 2013 to 384 in 2014 to 364 in 2015. The continuing, overall downward trend in reports of alleged misconduct about registered liquidators is encouraging;
• 72 per cent of reports of alleged misconduct against registered liquidators resulted in educative outcomes for those making the report.

ASIC also said it has maintained its enforcement focus with strong outcomes demonstrating ASIC's success in holding registered liquidators to account:

• commencing five formal investigations and two court inquiries;
• entering into four enforceable undertakings; and
• seven negotiated resolutions.

In addition, according to ASIC, strong cross government agency collaboration underpinned ongoing strategic and operational matters that aim to disrupt those who facilitate illegal phoenix activity.

ASIC Commissioner John Price said while ASIC's primary role is to supervise registered liquidators, and where necessary take action against them, the regulator also works closely with registered liquidators when companies fail.

"We continue to guide and educate the profession and improve our engagement with them to help bring about better outcomes for creditors.

"Our strong enforcement focus remains on those practitioners who flout the law, in tandem with programs aimed at supervising the majority who do the right thing, as we continue to build trust and confidence in the profession," he said.

To provide a more complete view of ASIC’s work in the insolvency market, the report, for the first time, details our work with registered liquidators when companies fail; particularly through ASIC’s administration of the Assetless Administration Fund, the Liquidator Assistance Program and enforcement action against directors and others based on registered liquidator reports to ASIC. During the year, ASIC:

• assessed over 700 AA fund applications and approved over 250 applications; and
• assisted liquidators obtain books and records or RATA’s in over 400 external administrations and prosecuted over 350 directors for failing to assist registered liquidators.

 

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