One more person has been appointed as a restructuring practitioner to conduct administrations under Part 5.3B of the Corporations Act bringing the total to three since this law first commenced in January 2021. See One small business restructuring practitioner – Murrays Legal
Mr Ben Sewell is a Sydney lawyer and accountant whose practice focuses on insolvency and commercial litigation. His qualifications include a Master of Laws in Corporate & Commercial Law and a Master of Business Administration and he holds practising certificates in both law and accounting. Sewell & Kettle Lawyers – About us – People – Our Team (sklaw.au)
Nevertheless, despite the legislative intention to allow a broader range of applicant into the Part 5.3B field, relevant conditions were imposed on Mr Sewell’s registration – to initially take only joint appointments, and to complete further study.
The standard condition that he as a registered liquidator may act only in the capacity of a restructuring practitioner or for a restructuring plan is qualified.
The first condition imposed is that he may only act on a joint, or joint and several basis, with another registered liquidator. That person must themselves meet each of three requirements – that she or he must not have been the subject of any adverse conduct findings; must have conducted a minimum of three Part 5.3B appointments; and their registration must not be subject to any relevant restriction.
As a second condition, Mr Sewell must undertake the UNSW course ACCT5930 Financial Accounting as soon as practical. ACCT5930 Course Outlines | Financial Accounting | UNSW Business School
He may apply to ASIC to remove the first condition once he has completed at least 5 Part 5.3Bs and he has successfully completed the UNSW course.
ASIC’s Report REP 756 Review of small business restructuring process (asic.gov.au) reports that, as at January 2023, only one person had been appointed:
“while there were six other applicants, the committees convened by ASIC for the purpose of considering their applications decided they should not be registered”.
There has been one more since.
That is not a healthy proportion and may indicate some problem with the process. We need to know why the six were rejected.
In the case of Mr Sewell, as to the first condition imposed, it is not unusual for a certain number of initial appointments to be jointly conducted in both personal and corporate insolvency registration decisions generally.
The second condition is unusual, but it is probably open to a committee to try to fill in some gaps in an applicant’s experience and qualifications by way of requiring some further study. Examples might be to require an accountant to study a dispute resolution, property or equity law subject.