How to interpret ASIC insolvency statistics
ASIC publishes reports and statistics on a variety of insolvency-related topics. This information sheet (INFO 80) covers:
- Insolvency statistics, released monthly and assist in determining the level of company insolvency in Australia:
- Series 1: Companies entering external administration and receivership or being subject to a scheme of arrangement
- Series 1A: by industry
- Series 2: Insolvency appointments
- Series 2A: Detail of insolvency appointments including the name of the registered liquidator lodging appointment documents
- External administrator reports statistics, which ASIC compiles annually from the estimates and opinions contained in statutory reports lodged with us by external administrators and receivers:
- Series 3.1: External administrators’ reports for Australia
- Series 3.2: External administrators’ reports for selected industries
- Series 3.3: External administrators’ reports time series
- Registered liquidator statistics, which ASIC compiles monthly from the register of liquidators maintained by ASIC, and details the total number of registered liquidators, their age, gender, years of registration and the number of registered liquidators in a firm. ASIC also compiles the number of new and ceased registered liquidators each quarter and lists of all registered liquidators:
- Series 4: Registered liquidator statistics
- Series 4A: Registered liquidator lists
ASIC releases monthly, the following types of insolvency statistics to report on the level of company insolvency in Australia:
Series 1: Companies entering external administration
Series 1A: Companies entering external administration by industry
Series 2: Insolvency appointments
Series 2A: Detail of Insolvency appointments
Series 1, 1A, 2 and 2A
You can download Series 1 and 2 statistics from our website in spreadsheet format as a time series from January 1999 to current, with tables for each region and by appointment type, in month, quarter and financial year, to assist analysis. There are no reliable statistics available pre-January 1999 for publication in the current format. Series 1A statistics are an expansion of Series 1 and are available from July 2013 to current with tables by region and industry or appointment type and industry.
Series 2A is available from July 2017 to current, with tables for each financial year.
We prefer the use of Series 1, 1A when explaining trends in insolvency because they are a more accurate measure of corporate insolvency and comparison, avoiding the double-counting reflected in Series 2 statistics (explained below).
Source of Series 1, 1A and Series 2, 2A data
The source of these data series is appointment documents (e.g. Forms 505) lodged with ASIC by external administrators, receivers and scheme administrators. The data has been available in this format since December 2001 (but reconstructed from other information back to January 1999) and changed in July 2013 to include industry.
For better accuracy, we release statistics for the month preceding the current month (i.e. one month in arrears) because:
- ASIC or liquidators via the online portal may not have processed all forms by month end.
- We calculate the data on the date of appointment, not the received date of forms lodged.
- The lodgement period requirement for some appointment types is within 10 business days after appointment, whereas for others it is one day after appointment.
External administrators, receivers and scheme administrators might seek changes to forms after lodging them with ASIC. Our statistics do not reflect such changes unless an error has been made.
Region information is based on the state or territory of a company’s incorporation. For foreign companies, we use the registered address state of the company.
Industry information aligns with the 2006 Australian and New Zealand Standard Industrial Classification (ANZSIC) divisions, included on Form 505 since July 2013. ANZSIC divisions are classified into subdivisions, groups and classes. ASIC breaks down the 'Finance and insurance' industry category into sub-categories due to ASIC's focus in this area and does not align with ANZSIC subdivision, group or class titles.
Companies entering external administration (Series 1)
We record the number of companies entering into external administration, receivership or scheme of arrangement for the first time in these monthly statistics. We analyse and present the data according to the initial type of appointment and region.
We only include a company once in these statistics, regardless of whether it subsequently enters another form of external administration. The only exception occurs where a company, taken out of external administration (e.g. as the result of a court order), and later re-enters external administration.
Companies entering external administration by industry (Series 1A)
These statistics are an extension of Series 1 and provide data on the number of companies entering a form of external administration for the first time each month by industry – from July 2013.
Insolvency appointments (Series 2)
Our Series 2 statistics report the number of insolvency appointments recorded, categorised by type and region.
As a company can be under more than one form of insolvency appointment at any one time and can progress from one type to another, a company can be included in these statistics more than once. For this reason, the number of insolvency appointments will always be greater than the number of companies going into external administration, receivership or scheme of arrangement for the first time.
Here are two examples:
- A court may appoint a provisional liquidator to a company. Later, the provisional liquidator’s appointment may conclude when the court appoints a liquidator. These roles differ, and the law treats them as separate appointments. Both Series 1 and Series 2 statistics record the appointment of the provisional liquidator, but only Series 2 (insolvency appointment statistics) will count the subsequent appointment of the liquidator.
- When a company goes into voluntary administration and creditors resolve that the company enter into a deed of company arrangement. Both Series 1 and Series 2 statistics record the initial appointment of the administrator, but only Series 2 (insolvency appointments statistics) will count the subsequent appointment of the deed administrator.
Note: we amended the methodology for compiling statistics for Series 2 commencing 1 May 2018. Series 2 and 2A will not reconcile prior to 1 May 2018 due to the series break in Series 2 statistics, but will do so after 1 May 2018. We have not amended Series 2 statistics published prior to 1 May 2018.
Detail of insolvency appointments (Series 2A)
These monthly statistics are the detail of the insolvency appointments recorded in Series 2. The detail includes:
- ACN and organisation name,
- the person appointed (lodging party only, so will not list joint appointees), or company appointed (possible for controllers or managing controllers only),
- appointment date,
- industry type,
- state of incorporation,
- appointment type, and
- document number and form type (notifying ASIC of the appointment)
- Series 2A statistics are published for insolvency appointments on or after 1 July 2017
- See note about Series 2 series break from 1 May 2018 onwards.
Members' voluntary windings up excluded
Series 1, 1A, 2 and Series 2A statistics exclude members' voluntary windings up. This is because these administrations involve the winding up of solvent companies rather than insolvent companies.
We release statistical reports (Series 3) compiled from the estimates and opinions contained in statutory reports lodged with ASIC by liquidators, administrators (external administrators) and receivers in the format of Schedule B to Regulatory Guide 16 External administrators: Reporting and lodging (RG 16) (Schedule B report) by financial year.
As an adjunct to these reports, from financial year 2009–10, you can download additional external administrator and receivership report statistics from our website in the following spreadsheets:
- Series 3.1 External administrator reports for Australia – selected tables are provided for the current financial year, by region and for all industries.
- Series 3.2 External administrator reports for selected industries – selected tables show the five industries with the highest number of external administrators' reports lodged (by region for the current financial year).
- Series 3.3 External administrator reports time series – a comparison of the totals for selected tables is provided as a time series by financial year (from 1 July 2004 to current).
Additional information and explanation is available from ASIC’s statistical reports about the external administrators’ and receivers’ reports.
Source of Series 3 data
Series 3 statistics are based on external administrators and receiverships lodging Schedule B reports as soon as practicable (and, in the case of a liquidator, within six months) after forming an opinion, if it appears to the external administrator or receiver that a relevant person may have:
- committed an offence in relation to the company, been negligent, or otherwise engaged in misconduct, or
- in the case of a liquidation only, where the company may be unable to pay its unsecured creditors more than 50 cents in the dollar.
To avoid double-counting, most of statistics in this series relate to ‘initial’ external administrator and receiver reports electronically lodged. An initial report means the first electronically lodged report after a company entered external administration or receivership. More than one report may be lodged for each appointment.
Region information is obtained from the most recent registered address on our corporate database. When an external administrator or receiver from another region becomes the external administrator or receiver and changes the registered office address, the new address will be used. Companies with international registered addresses may not be included in region statistics.
Industry information aligns with the 2006 Australian and New Zealand Standard Industrial Classification (ANZSIC) divisions, updated in the external administrator report from 1 July 2008. Due to ASIC’s regulatory role in the financial and insurance services industry, this industry is broken down into six sub-categories.
Conditions/limitations of the Series 3 data
Please consider the following when interpreting the statistics in external administrator and receiver reports:
- the use of the Schedule B format by external administrators is voluntary, not statutory,
- the statistics will not directly correlate with other insolvency statistics (Series 1, 1A, and Series 2, 2A),
- some reports are lodged for statistical purposes only,
- financial information reflects the estimates and opinions of the external administrator at a point in time, and revised information from subsequent or updated reports is not reflected in these statistics,
- external administrators select from a predetermined set of options and ranges,
- limited testing eliminates a small number of internally inconsistent employee entitlement reports,
- the Schedule B format was last amended on 1 July 2008 when RG 16 was reissued.
We release quarterly statistics reporting the total number of registered liquidators including their age, gender, years of registration and number of registered liquidators in a firm together with the number of new and ceased registered liquidators (by region).
You can download the statistics from our website in spreadsheet format as a time series from the September 1999 quarter to current, with tables for the total number of liquidators registered in Australia by region, by quarter and by financial year, to assist analysis.
Sources of Series 4 data
The sources of data for this series are:
- total registered liquidators (including age, gender, years of registration and number of registered liquidators in a firm) – ASIC’s professional register for registered liquidators
- new registered liquidators – Form 903B (Application for registration as a liquidator) where ASIC approves the application
- ceased registered liquidators – Form RL08 (Request to cancel or suspend registration as a liquidator) where ASIC approves the application.
Regional information is based on the principal place of practice address of registered liquidators on ASIC’s professional register. This information is updated by Form 905A (Notification of change to details of a liquidator).
Conditions/limitations of the Series 4 data
Please consider the following when interpreting registration statistics:
- Statistics are prepared based on ASIC’s professional register at the end of each quarter. We rely on registered liquidators' obligations under the Insolvency Practice Rules (Corporations) 2016 section 35-1 to notify ASIC when they cease to practice, or change any part of their name, firm name or principal place of practice address. Registered liquidators have 10 business days to notify us of the change.
- Registered liquidators changing their principal place of practice between regions are not reported on separately.
Monthly registered liquidator lists (Series 4A)
We release a monthly list of current registered liquidators with their professional register address by region.
ASIC updates these lists monthly to reflect changes that occur to the Register of Liquidators. You should check ASIC’s Register of Liquidators via ASIC Connect before acting on the information in these lists.
These lists should not be taken as ASIC endorsing or recommending any particular registered liquidator.
Section 1274B of the Corporations Act 2001 [Use, in court proceedings, of information from ASIC’s national database] does not apply to this list.
Sources of Series 4A data
The source of data for this series is ASIC's professional register for registered liquidators.
Regional information is based on the principal place of practice address of registered liquidators on ASIC's professional register.
Conditions/limitations of the Series 4A data
Please keep in mind when interpreting registration statistics, that this data is prepared based on ASIC's professional register at the end of each month. We rely on registered liquidators' obligations (under section 1287(2) and (3) of the Corporations Act 2001) to notify ASIC when they cease to practice, or change any part of their name, firm name or principal place of practice address. Registered liquidators have 10 business days to notify us of the change.
Accordingly, you should check ASIC’s Register of Liquidators via ASIC Connect before acting on the information in these lists.
Where can I get more information?
This is Information Sheet 80 (INFO 80), reissued on 23 November 2020. Information sheets provide concise guidance on a specific process or compliance issue or an overview of detailed guidance.