The value of transparency – so you know what we know

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At the ARITA National Conference in July, I had the opportunity to talk about two key issues that we’re seeing across the personal insolvency system:

  • The balance between appropriate remuneration for expertise and the perception of value for money
  • The culture and diversity of registered practitioners.

I discussed the drivers behind these issues, and reminded practitioners of the public good we deliver by playing our roles in a balanced and even-handed personal insolvency system.

In a system where there are so many competing interests, working with the regulated community and sharing information is vital.

Our commitment to transparency predates my recent speech. For many years we have shared our policies and procedures and sought feedback on our effectiveness as the regulator.

Why do we value transparency?

At AFSA, we take a risk-based approach to regulation, aimed at ensuring we direct our time and effort onto the things that pose the greatest threat to confidence in the system. Transparency around what we see as current or emerging threats to the system is an important way of educating and influencing behaviour. It also provides an opportunity to consult and hear feedback about proposed solutions. Hearing different perspectives helps us develop a well-rounded and independent view of the best pathway forward.

Each year we publish our compliance program, which sets out our areas of focus for the year ahead. In it we acknowledge that all stakeholders play a part in maintaining best practice standards. We believe it is important that you know how we play our part.

One element of our no-surprises approach to regulation is Inspector-General Practice Statement 1. This document provides guidance on the personal insolvency system and sets out AFSA’s expectations of the registered practitioner community.

We also publish a range of other Inspector-General Practice Statements that explain what we do, and why. The statements cover important regulatory functions, including how we:

  • Go about an inspection of an insolvency practitioner (IGPS 11)
  • Conduct disciplinary processes (IGPS 8 and 9), and
  • Review trustee remuneration and third party costs (IGPS 16).

The way we approach our regulatory tasks has evolved over time. We regularly review the statements, and our processes and procedures based on the evolving nature of community expectations, economic and other environmental factors. Feedback from all of our stakeholders is an important part of this process – if you have any feedback please let us know by emailing info [at] afsa.gov.au.

As a demonstration of the importance of engaging with stakeholders to improve the system overall, we are committed to continual and meaningful collaboration with registered practitioners. Wherever possible, we want to ensure that you know what we know. By working together we can continue to deliver equitable financial outcomes for consumers, business and the community.

My speech at the ARITA National Conference is published in full on the website; the Inspector-General Practice Statements are available at afsa.gov.au/igps.

Gavin McCosker

Deputy Chief Executive, Chief Operating Officer
and Registrar of Personal Property Securities