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From 29 July, Australian Financial Security Authority (AFSA) will change the way we distribute bankrupt estates to registered trustees (RTs) working in the private sector.
Our main priority as the Official Trustee will be to focus on matters that are in the public interest and build confidence in the personal insolvency system – even if the administration may not result in a financial return to creditors or cover our administration costs. Other estates will be offered to RTs to administer.
The timely allocation of matters is important to AFSA so registered trustees will be given only 24 hours to consent to be appointed to an administration under s156A of the Bankruptcy Act 1966 before the bankruptcy application is accepted by the Official Receiver. Some administrations may also be transferred by the Official Trustee under s181A after the administration has commenced.
To ensure the process is efficient and easy for all stakeholders, we will implement these changes as a Beta launch until 31 January 2022. During this period, we will seek feedback to refine and improve the new process.
Promoting gender diversity
As part of these changes, we have introduced a policy that at least 20 per cent of those bankrupt estates which meet the criteria for transfer to RTs be directed to female trustees. This requirement was introduced in response to ongoing concerns about the significant gender gap in the insolvency profession.
AFSA is committed to promoting gender diversity and creating opportunities that contribute to a diverse and inclusive workforce that better reflects the community we serve.
A phased approach may be taken as we will consider factors such as the current low number of female practitioners and their capacity to take on a large volume of new appointments.
For more information and answers to frequently asked questions about these changes, refer to Distribution of bankrupt estates between the Official Trustee and registered trustees.