ASFA reports progress on promoting diversity in the insolvency profession

In February 2021, in consultation with ARITA, AFSA resolved to a transfer of new estates to registered trustees under s156A where it was clear a registered trustee may consent to administer the estate.

AFSA said it was doing this to increase the number of matters distributed to the private sector and to female trustees in particular.

The changes were implemented as a ‘Beta launch’ for six months and has been reviewed in AFSA’s progress report ‘S156A Beta Review March 2022’.

The report states that AFSA’s target was to direct a minimum of 20 per cent of bankrupt estates to female trustees.

This is significant as only around 10 per cent of Australia’s registered insolvency practitioners are women.

As stated on the AFSA website:

AFSA is committed to taking steps towards enhancing diversity in the insolvency profession. On that basis, and with a view to targeting gender diversity, we will direct a greater share of estates to female trustees under these new arrangements.’

It also states that the 20 per cent target will be reviewed regularly to determine whether to increase the rate – and that:

‘This approach is in line with arrangements already in place to direct Commonwealth legal work to female counsel.’ 

Trial results

The trial was a success with the 20 per cent target reached shortly after the reporting period.

Gender breakdown Total number (out of 107 eligible applications):

  • Offers made to female RTs 18 (17%)
  • Offers made to male RTs 89 (83%)

AFSA thanked the female trustees who were early adopter of the policy and says that they are evaluating their ‘processes with a view to improving the flow of commercial work to women working in the private sector’

This is a positive initiative by AFSA to promote diversity in the insolvency profession and we look forward to reporting on progress as the policy is further implemented.

AFSA is seeking further feedback on trial and can be contacted at [email protected] .

The full progress report, ‘S156A Beta Review March 2022’, can be found at www.afsa.gov.au .