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Posted: Oct 22 2017, 01:06 PM
Group: Featured Blogers
Member No.: 17
Joined: 17-January 12
Rep: 142 pts
Why ASIC is failing our small businesses
Saturday, 21 October 2017 11:30AM
Out-of-pocket small firms are entitled to ask if the watchdog has their backs.Picture: Getty Images/BananaStock RF
Australia’s under-resourced corporate regulator has emerged from the US lawsuit against Rio Tinto as an irrelevancy when it comes to exposing and prosecuting wrongdoing at the big end of town.
But out-of-pocket small businesses are also entitled to ask whether the Australian Securities and Investments Commission has their backs.
The most vulnerable victims of a company collapse are the trade creditors. In many cases, they’re small businesses that can ill-afford the loss. Sometimes that unrecoverable debt is enough to also force them under.
On occasions, the stricken company has traded while insolvent, racking up bills even though it didn’t have the money to pay its debts as they fell due.
Yet for all the hundreds of millions of dollars lost every year because of insolvent trading, there seems to be little justice available for the victims.
Insolvent trading can be a tricky area. A business may not be able to pay its debts from cash flow but still be technically solvent because it retains the support of its bank. Until the lender pulls the pin, the company continues to incur credit even though it is unable to pay its suppliers.
The Corporations Act has some statutory defences for directors involved in insolvent trading. But it also details civil and criminal penalties for breaches, including up to five years jail for directors who act dishonestly by allowing a company to incur debts while insolvent.
But those penalties are seemingly employed sparingly by ASIC. The regulator’s 2015-16 annual report — its next update is imminent — showed receivers, administrators and liquidators of failed companies filed 8258 cases of alleged misconduct for the period under review, up 20 per cent on the year earlier.
ASIC determined that 89 per cent of them required no further action. It sought supplementary information on 679 cases, eventually deciding to take no action on 543 of those because of insufficient evidence.
So, just 129 of those more than 8000 initial cases of alleged misconduct were referred for compliance, investigation or surveillance. Any wonder that dodgy operators think they can get away with bad behaviour?
Once again our bureaucracy fails to look after the little man.
"Show respect to all people and grovel to none. When you arise in the morning, give thanks for the food and for the joy of living. If you see no reason for giving thanks, the fault lies only in yourself." - Tecumseh (March 1768 – October 5, 1813) Shawnee Chief
Posted: Oct 22 2017, 04:48 PM
Member No.: 3
Joined: 21-July 11
Rep: 65 pts
I wonder how under resourced they really are, or is it just an excuse?
If they really are under resourced, it is a failure by God knows how many successive governments. It would go back decades. Probably always been the way.
Everybody is Willing:
Some are willing to work, the rest are willing to let them!
The older I get, the better I was.