Thomson deregistration: breach of independence

The registration of Ms Louise Thomson to act as a bankruptcy trustee has been cancelled, following an investigation and disciplinary committee hearing.

In 2019, AFSA staff, acting on behalf of the Inspector-General in Bankruptcy, Hamish McCormick, investigated instances of misconduct that called into question Ms Thomson’s independence, judgement and general suitability to remain registered as a trustee.

The Inspector-General referred the matter to a disciplinary committee on 28 November 2019, and on 30 July 2020, the committee concluded that Ms Thomson’s registration should be cancelled.

The committee accepted the Inspector-General’s concerns regarding Ms Thomson’s independence as a trustee in bankruptcy, and her dealings where it was evident that there had been a conflict of interest.

The committee found that Ms Thomson had a conflict of interest in accepting referrals of work, while acting as the referrer’s bankruptcy trustee.

While acting as the bankruptcy trustee, Ms Thomson socialised with the bankrupt and allowed him to vote in favour of her proposed remuneration. The committee also found that decisions concerning the bankrupt being permitted to travel overseas were discussed while socialising with him over lunch, and those decisions were not sufficiently documented nor properly based on objective criteria.

Ms Thomson allowed the bankrupt to travel without appropriately scrutinising the source of funding for international holidays, and did not conduct appropriate investigations into his assets or income.

Further details, including the committee’s report and the reason for its decision can be accessed on the AFSA website.