The Small Business Restructuring Process (SBRP) was introduced in Australia in 2021 as a streamlined process for insolvent small businesses. The objective of the process is to allow small businesses to put a restructuring plan proposal to creditors without losing control of their business.
In Australia, the Australian Securities & Investments Commission (ASIC) is the government body in charge of regulating liquidators and other aspects of the insolvency process. Here we examine ASIC’s role in detail and compare it with the approach taken across the Tasman.
Seinfeld is famously referred to as a sitcom about ‘nothing’. Sometimes liquidations and voluntary administrations in Australia lose the plot and directors would be well served to conduct thorough due diligence before appointment and understand the dynamics at play.
When a business is in serious financial trouble, what is the best path ahead? This is, of course, a question for the directors of struggling businesses themselves, but it’s also a question for their lawyers, accountants and creditors.
As with any profession, it is crucial that there is some level of oversight of the actions of insolvency practitioners. This is the only way to ensure that they are living up to their professional and legal standards.
Corporate insolvency practitioners are important gatekeepers in the economy. In Australia, there is a paradox that the system is designed to try to stop the insolvency practitioner from giving meaningful pre-insolvency advice to insolvent businesses. This is a pity because insolvency practitioners are well placed to give pre-insolvency advice.
Simplified debt restructuring is a new process available as of 1 January 2021 to support financially distressed small businesses. In simplified debt restructuring, an independent professional known as a ‘small business restructuring practitioner’ is appointed to a distressed debtor company to assist with restructuring the company’s debt via development of a ‘restructuring plan’.
The Government is using its currently massive political capital to push through a revolution in SME insolvency law in Australia. Their aim is to make the insolvency process less draconian for small businesses and, in the long term, encourage a more entrepreneurial culture. The changes foreshadow streamlined and genuine debt forgiveness outside of voluntary administration.