How to interpret ASIC insolvency statistics

ASIC publishes reports and statistics on a variety of insolvency-related topics. This information sheet (INFO 80) covers the following types of statistics:

  • Insolvency statistics, released monthly and in some cases, weekly, to assist in determining the level of company insolvency in Australia, including:
    • Series 1: Companies entering external administration and controller appointments
    • Series 1A: Companies entering external administration and controller appointments by industry
    • Series 1B: Notification of companies entering external administration and controller appointments – weekly
    • Series 2: All external administration and controller appointments
    • Series 2A: Detail of all external administration and controller appointments including the name of the registered liquidator lodging the notification of appointment, and
    • Series 2B: Notification of all external administration and controller appointments – weekly.
  • External administrator report statistics, which ASIC compiles annually from the estimates and opinions contained in statutory reports lodged with us by external administrators and receivers, including:
    • Series 3.1: External administrators’ reports for Australia
    • Series 3.2: External administrators’ reports for selected industries, and
    • Series 3.3: External administrators’ reports time series.
  • Registered liquidator statistics, which ASIC compiles quarterly and monthly from the register of liquidators maintained by ASIC, including:
    • Series 4: Registered liquidator statistics (the total number of registered liquidators, their age, gender, years of registration and the number of registered liquidators in a firm), and
    • Series 4A: Registered liquidator lists (all current registered liquidators and any current non-industry-wide conditions on a liquidator's registration).

Insolvency-related reports

See the links in our insolvency statistics and recent reports on insolvency-related topics.

Insolvency statistics (Series 1 and Series 2)

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 and controller appointments
  • Series 1A: Companies entering external administration and controller appointments by industry
  • Series 2: All external administration and controller appointments, and
  • Series 2A: Detail of all external administration and controller appointments. 

ASIC releases weekly the following types of insolvency statistics to report on the level of company insolvency in Australia:

  • Series 1B: Notification of companies entering external administration and controller appointments – weekly, and
  • Series 2B: Notification of all external administration and controller appointments –

View and download monthly and weekly insolvency statistics.

Series 1, 1A, 1B, 2, 2A and 2B statistics exclude members' voluntary windings up. This is because these administrations involve the winding up of solvent companies rather than insolvent companies.

Series 1, 1A, 1B, 2, 2A and 2B

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 and 1A statistics 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).

As a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, ASIC began releasing weekly statistics of companies entering external administration and controller appointments for the first time (new Series 1B) in April 2020. In March 2021, we began releasing weekly statistics of all external administration and controller appointments (new Series 2B).

Both Series 1B and 2B provide weekly, rolling 12-month and financial year-to-date statistics compared to the previous financial year and base level (average of FY2017, FY2018 and FY2019 external administration and controller appointments).

The tables provide statistics by region, appointment type and industry: see Table 1 for specific details of the tables within each series.

Table 1: Overview of weekly statistics (Series 1B and 2B)

Tables

Statistics provided

Timing of publication

Table 1B.1, Table 2B.1

Notification of external administration and controller appointments by week compared to the same weeks in previous financial year only

One week in arrears

Table 1B.2, Table 2B.2

Notification of external administration and controller appointments by appointment type by week compared to the same weeks in previous 03financial year only

One week in arrears

Tables 1B.3–1B.4, Tables 2B.3–2B.4

Notification of external administration and controller appointments by appointment type by financial year to date and 12-month rolling average compared to the previous year and base level

Two weeks in arrears

Tables 1B.5–1B.6, Tables 2B.5–2B.6

Notification of external administration and controller appointments by region by financial year to date and 12-month rolling average compared to the previous year and base level

Two weeks in arrears

Tables 1B.7–1B.8, Tables 2B.7–2B.8

Notification of external administration and controller appointments by industry by financial year to date and 12-month rolling average compared to the previous year only

Two weeks in arrears

Source of Series 1, 1A, 1B and Series 2, 2A, 2B data

The source of these data series is the notification of appointment (e.g. Forms 505) lodged with ASIC by external administrators, controllers and scheme administrators. The data has been available in this format since December 2001 (but reconstructed from other information back to January 1999) and updated in July 2013 to include industry.

To improve the accuracy of published information, we release Series 1, 1A, 2 and 2A insolvency statistics one month in arrears (e.g. statistics published for the month relate to appointments made in the preceding month) because:

  • the statutory period for lodging notifications of appointment differs for appointment types:
    • within 14 days after appointment for court liquidations, creditors voluntary winding ups and controller appointments
    • within two business days after appointment for restructuring plan practitioners, and within two business days of adopting the process for simplified liquidations, and
    • within one business day after appointment for voluntary administrations and restructuring practitioners (e.g. notification of an appointment that occurs on the last day of the month may not be required to be lodged until the 14th day of the next month)
  • the lodgment may be late, which may be exacerbated by COVID‑19
  • ASIC may not have processed paper forms received by month end, and
  • the data is collated based on the date of appointment, not the form lodgment date.

Series 1B and 2B are published weekly with a combination of statistics being either one or two weeks in arears (refer Table above). These provisional statistics may change as registered liquidators lodge more appointment documents.

External administrators, controllers and scheme administrators might seek changes to forms after lodging them with ASIC. Our statistics do not reflect such changes unless the change was made during the timing above or an error has been made.

Region information is based on the state or territory in which the company was originally incorporated. For foreign companies, we use the registered address of the company.

Industry information aligns with the 2006 Australian and New Zealand Standard Industrial Classification (ANZSIC) divisions indicated by the external administrator or controller, included on Form 505 since July 2013 and updated in May 2021.

Companies entering external administration and controller appointments (Series 1 and 1B)

We record the number of companies entering into external administration, controller appointments or scheme of arrangement or compromise for the first time in these monthly/weekly statistics (Schemes of arrangement are not included in Series 1B). We analyse and present the data according to the initial type of appointment, region and industry for Series 1B.

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), later re-enters external administration.

Companies entering external administration and controller appointments 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 or controller appointment for the first time each month by industry – from July 2013.

All external administration and controller appointments (Series 2 and 2B)

Our Series 2 statistics report the total number of external administration and controller appointments recorded, categorised by type of appointment, region and industry for  Series 2B.

As a company can be under more than one form of external administration or controller appointment at any one time and can progress from one type to another, these statistics can include a company more than once. For this reason, the number of external administration and controller appointments (Series 2) will always be greater than the number of companies going into external administration for the first time (Series 1).

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 (all external administration and controller 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 (all external administration and controller appointment 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 before 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 before 1 May 2018.

Detail of all external administration and controller appointments (Series 2A)

These monthly statistics are the details of the external administration and controller appointments recorded in Series 2. The details include:

  • 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).

Note: ASIC publishes Series 2A statistics for insolvency appointments on or after 1 July 2017. See also note above about Series 2 series break from 1 May 2018 onwards.

Annual external administrator reports statistics (Series 3)

The following commentary on Series 3 relates to data collected and published before 27 March 2020.

ASIC discontinued Form EX01 on 27 March 2020 and replaced it with the initial statutory report (ISR). The reporting format of these statistics is currently under review. We plan to provide this information in a different format in FY2022.

We previously released 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 FY2009–10 to FY2018–19, 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 – ASIC provides selected tables for each of these financial years, by region and for all industries.
  • Series 3.2 External administrator reports for selected industries – ASIC provides selected tables showing the five industries with the highest number of external administrators' reports lodged (by region for the each of these financial years).
  • Series 3.3 External administrator reports time series – ASIC provides a comparison of the totals for selected tables as a time series by financial year (from 1 July 2004 to 30 June 2019).

Additional information and explanation is available from ASIC’s statistical reports about the external administrators’ and receivers’ reports.

View and download annual insolvency statistics.

Source of Series 3 data

Historical 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 historic Series 3 data

Please consider the following when interpreting the statistics in the historical external administrator and receiver reports (Schedule B 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, and
  • the Schedule B format was last amended on 1 July 2008 when RG 16 was reissued.

We include details of all conditions/limitations in Section B of external administrators’ reports. For further information on these statistics, see RG 16 and published reports.

Registered liquidator statistics (Series 4)

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.

View and download quarterly registered liquidator statistics.

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 of registered liquidators
  • new registered liquidators – Form 903B (Application for registration as a liquidator) where ASIC registers a person following a decision of a committee under Division 20 of Schedule 2 to the Corporations Act 2001 that the person should be registered as a liquidator, and
  • ceased registered liquidators – Form RL08 (Request to cancel or suspend registration as a liquidator) where ASIC approves the application and where a court or disciplinary committee cancels or suspends a person's registration as a liquidator.

Regional information is based on the principal place of practice address of registered liquidators on ASIC’s professional register or registered liquidators. 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 section 35-1 of the Insolvency Practice Rules (Corporations) 2016 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.

We also identify if there are any current conditions on a liquidator's registration (excluding industry-wide conditions) such as being restricted in the type of appointments that a person may be appointed to undertake.

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 or to view the specific conditions (if any) that may be imposed on a registered liquidator's registration. 

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.

View and download Registered liquidator lists

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 35-1 of the Insolvency Practice Rules (Corporations) 2016) 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 in October 2021. Information sheets provide concise guidance on a specific process or compliance issue or an overview of detailed guidance.

Last updated: 20/10/2014 12:00