AFSA reports strong regulatory outcomes despite uncertain year

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The Australian Financial Security Authority’s (AFSA) Personal Insolvency Compliance Report 2019-20 published today highlights the personal insolvency regulator’s achievements in an unprecedented year.

The report provides compliance, regulation and enforcement statistics for 2019-20 and details activities completed in each of the key focus areas for the year – debt agreement reform, trustee independence, untrustworthy advisors, remuneration, and culture.

AFSA’s Chief Executive and Inspector-General in Bankruptcy, Hamish McCormick, praised the agency’s ability to respond in a challenging environment.

‘As with many organisations, AFSA had to adapt quickly – both to the Australian Government’s temporary changes to bankruptcy laws, and to a changing working environment more broadly,’ Mr McCormick said.

‘Our team worked hard to vary its approach during the COVID-19 pandemic. From a business-as-usual perspective we undertook more remote inspections and virtual examinations, allowing important regulatory work to continue despite the circumstances.’

‘We were also able to continue work on a range of projects designed to support our strategic focus areas and maintain confidence in the personal insolvency system.’

Despite the challenges of 2019-20, AFSA inspected more than 200 administrations, reviewed almost 300 personal insolvency proposals, and finalised over 350 complaints. More than 800 pre-referral enquiries and over 700 offence referrals were received – with 552 accepted for investigation.

Of the inspections completed, 141 related to administrations conducted by Registered Trustees or Registered Debt Agreement Administrators. The remaining inspected administrations were conducted by the Official Trustee.

While more than 350 complaints were finalised, less than 5 per cent (16) were found to be justified. The most common of these related to conflicts of interest, delays in administration or a lack of communication.

This eighth edition of the report incorporates information and statistics from the Official Receiver for the first time, reflecting the critical role it plays in maintaining compliance within the personal insolvency system. In 2019-20, the Official Receiver issued more than 477 notices, which resulted  in excess of $50 million being paid into bankrupt estates.

The full report is available to download now at