How to interpret ASIC's corporate insolvency statistics
This is Information Sheet 80 (INFO 80). ASIC publishes reports and statistics on a variety of corporate insolvency-related topics. This information sheet explains the types of corporate insolvency statistics that we publish and how to interpret those statistics.
Overview of our corporate insolvency statistics
We publish three types of statistics (see below), each comprising at least one ‘series’ of data. The statistics are available on our website in Excel format.
Insolvency statistics (updated weekly)
- Series 1: The first time a company enters external administration (including schemes of arrangement) or has a controller appointed
- Series 2: All appointments over a company including the first, subsequent and transitional appointments.
External administrators' and receivers' reports
- Series 3.1: External administrators’ and receivers’ reports for Australia
- Series 3.2: External administrators’ and receivers’ reports for selected industries
- Series 3.3: External administrators’ and receivers’ reports time series.
Registered liquidator demographics (updated quarterly and monthly)
- Series 4: Registered liquidator demographics
- Series 4A: Registered liquidator lists.
Insolvency statistics (Series 1 and Series 2)
We release the following statistics weekly (two weeks in arrears) to report on the level of company insolvency in Australia:
- Series 1: The first time a company enters external administration or has a controller appointed
- Series 2: All appointments over a company including the first, subsequent and transitional appointments
- raw data for Series 1 and Series 2 (published in the same Excel workbook as Series 1 and Series 2).
Series 1 data shows the number of companies entering into external administration or controller appointments for the first time.
We analyse and present the data in tables and charts according to the initial type of appointment, industry and state or territory.
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.
Series 2 data shows the total number of external administration and controller appointments recorded, including the first, subsequent and transitional appointments.
We analyse and present the data in tables and charts, categorised by type of appointment, industry and state or territory.
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). See examples below.
- 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 court liquidator. Note that simplified liquidations are not a separate appointment but are disclosed separately as they follow a simplified process.
- 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 voluntary administrator, but only Series 2 (all external administration and controller appointment statistics) will count the subsequent appointment of the deed of company arrangement.
The raw data for Series 1 and Series 2 (see final tab on Excel workbook) provides the following details of all external administration and controller appointments:
- ACN and organisation name
- the person appointed (lodging party only, so will not list joint appointees), or company appointed and their ACN (possible for controllers or managing controllers only)
- appointment type
- start date of the appointment and relevant financial year
- industry by the Australian and New Zealand Standard Industrial Classification (ANZSIC) code (by division, subdivision and group)
- state (or territory) of incorporation
- principal place of business (state or territory, area and postcode)
- an indicator for whether an appointment was included in Series 1 and/or Series 2 data.
Series 1 and 2 statistics exclude members’ voluntary windings up. This is because these administrations involve the winding up of solvent companies rather than insolvent companies.
We prefer Series 1 statistics to be used when explaining trends in corporate business failures – they are a more accurate measure of the number of companies subject to a formal appointment because a company might appear more than once in Series 2 statistics (e.g. if it were under more than one form of external administration).
View and download Series 1 and Series 2 statistics
Sources of Series 1 and Series 2 data
The main source of these data series is the notification of appointment (e.g. Form 505 Notification of appointment or cessation of an external administrator) lodged with ASIC by external administrators and controllers.
The data is collated based on the date of appointment, not the form lodgement date.
External administrators and controllers might request changes to forms after lodging them with ASIC. Our statistics do not reflect such changes unless the change was made while the statistics were provisional (see below) or an error has been corrected.
We remove known errors and duplicates and therefore current statistics will not always reconcile with prior overlapping periods.
Region information in Series 1 and Series 2 is drawn from:
- state of incorporation – the state or territory in which the company was originally incorporated. For foreign companies, we use the registered office state or territory, and for managed investment funds, we use the responsible entity state or territory. We provide the state of incorporation in the dataset to allow users to match these statistics by region for appointments both before and after 1 July 2022.
- principal place of business – the place where the directors advised the company principally carried on business at the time of the appointment, including:
- state or territory
- area(s) (see note), and
The tables and charts in Series 1 and Series 2 use principal place of business for determining state or territory commencing from 1 July 2021.
Note: 'Principal place of business' aligns with the 2016 Australian Statistical Geography Standard (ASGS) statistical area level 1. Most postcodes are aggregated into statistical areas (areas). Some postcodes are part of more than one area and, where this is true, all areas are provided, with ‘OR’ separating the possible areas and listed in order of which area is largest. Where the principal place of business is overseas or is not recorded, we use state of incorporation, and leave area and postcode blank.
Industry information provided in the statistics aligns with the 2006 Australian and New Zealand Standard Industrial Classification (ANZSIC). The Series 1 and Series 2 data provides the following ANZSIC code levels:
- industry division
- industry subdivision
- industry group.
The information is sourced from Form 505 lodged by the external administrator or controller, which contains industry classification at the ANZSIC industry-group level.
Note 1: Where subdivision and group is displayed as blank, it may be due to the lodgement of a Form 505 (up to 29 April 2021) that only contained division-level ANZSIC codes.
Note 2: Where industry is disclosed as ‘Unknown’, it is due to the failure to lodge a Form 505. The appointment has been created by the lodgement of another form type (i.e. Form 504 Notification that a person has been appointed controller/entered into possession etc).
Conditions/limitations of Series 1 and Series 2 data
Recency of data
Please note that we release Series 1 and 2 insolvency statistics two weeks in arrears. This is because:
- the statutory period for lodging notifications of appointment differs for appointment types:
- within 14 days after appointment for court liquidations, creditors voluntary windings up 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
- 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 lodgement may be late
- we may not have processed paper forms received.
Appointments with start dates that are less than one month old are considered provisional but are released to provide timely information. We update the dataset for new appointments as registered liquidators may lodge appointment documents up to one month after the start date. The provisional statistics in tables are shaded blue to indicate they are provisional, and the shading will be removed once statistics are final.
External administrators’ and receivers' reports statistics (Series 3)
Series 3 statistics
Series 3 statistics are based on information contained in reports lodged by external administrators and receivers as soon as practicable (and, in the case of a liquidator, within six months), 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, the company may be unable to pay its unsecured creditors more than 50 cents in the dollar.
Source of Series 3 data
In the period up to and including 27 March 2020, the data was collected from Form EX01 in the format of Schedule B to Regulatory Guide 16 External administrators: Reporting and lodging (RG 16) (Schedule B report) by financial year.
In the period after 27 March 2020, the data was collected from the Initial Statutory Report (ISR) made available in ASIC’s regulatory portal.
You can download the following Series 3 statistics from our website as Excel workbooks:
- Series 3.1: External administrators’ and receivers’ reports for Australia—Selected data from the reports (including causes of failure, available assets, liabilities, employee entitlements, creditors, remuneration and possible misconduct) (categorised by industry and region) for each financial year commencing from 1 July 2009
- Series 3.2: External administrators’ and receivers’ reports for selected industries—Selected data showing the five industries with the highest number of external administrators’ reports lodged (by region for each financial year commencing from 1 July 2009)
- Series 3.3: External administrators’ and receivers’ reports time series—Comparison of the totals for selected data (including causes of failure, available assets, liabilities, employee entitlements, creditors, remuneration and possible misconduct) as a time series by financial year (commencing from 1 July 2004).
Note: From 1 July 2020, Series 3.1 and 3.2 contain selected data on Insolvent Trading.
Additional information and explanation for the 2003–04 to 2018–19 financial years is available in ASIC’s published statistical reports about the external administrators’ and receivers’ initial reports (see below for a list of published reports).
View and download Series 3 statistics
Published reports (2003–04 to 2018–19 financial years)
We previously released statistical reports compiled from the estimates and opinions contained in initial statutory reports (Form EX01) lodged with ASIC by receivers, administrators and liquidators under sections 422, 438D and 533 of the Corporations Act 2001.
The following published reports are available from the ASIC website:
- REP 645 Insolvency statistics: External administrators’ reports (July 2018 to June 2019)
- REP 596 Insolvency statistics: External administrators’ reports (July 2017 to June 2018)
- REP 558 Insolvency statistics: External administrators’ reports (July 2016 to June 2017)
- REP 507 Insolvency statistics: External administrators’ reports (July 2015 to June 2016)
- REP 456 Insolvency statistics: External administrators’ reports (July 2014 to June 2015)
- REP 412 Insolvency statistics: External administrators’ reports (July 2013 to June 2014)
- REP 372 Insolvency statistics: External administrators’ reports (July 2012 to June 2013)
- REP 297 Insolvency statistics: External administrators’ reports (July 2011 to June 2012)
- REP 263 Insolvency statistics: External administrators’ reports (July 2010 to June 2011)
- REP 225 Insolvency statistics: External administrators’ reports (July 2009 to June 2010)
- REP 132 External Administrators: Schedule B Statistics 1 July 2004 to 30 June 2007
Interpreting Series 3 statistics
Initial report (for both the ISR and EX01)
To avoid double-counting, statistics in this series relate to ‘initial’ external administrator and receiver reports electronically lodged unless otherwise stated. An initial report means the first electronically lodged report after a company entered external administration or receivership.
Region information (from the EX01 for the period up to 27 March 2020) is obtained from the most recent registered office address on our corporate register. 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.
Region information (from the ISR for the period from 28 March 2020) is obtained from the ‘principal place of business’ recorded on our corporate register at the time the company entered into external administration.
Companies with international registered office addresses may not be included in region statistics.
Industry information (from the EX01 for the period up to 27 March 2020)
Industry information aligns with the 2006 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 division is broken down into six subcategories.
Industry information (from the ISR for the period from 28 March 2020)
Industry information aligns with the 2006 ANZSIC divisions, plus a further category to specifically identify those companies that operate as ‘Labour Hire’. The previous breakdown of the financial and insurance services industry into sub-categories was discontinued.
Conditions/limitations of the Series 3 data
Please consider the following when interpreting the statistics in the historical reports and Excel workbooks:
- Published reports are only available to 30 June 2019.
- Excel workbooks are available up to 30 June of the most recent financial year (updated by 30 September each year).
- The statistics will not directly correlate with other insolvency statistics (Series 1 and Series 2) due to the lag in a report being lodged after the date of appointment and not all appointments requiring the lodgement of a report.
- Some reports are lodged for statistical purposes only where there are no offences to report and the company is expected to pay more than 50 cents in the dollar to unsecured creditors.
- Financial information reflects the estimates and opinions of the external administrator at a point in time, and revised information from further inquiries and investigations provided in subsequent or updated reports is not reflected in these statistics.
- External administrators when completing the report predominantly answer questions by selecting from a predetermined set of options and numerical ranges.
- A small number of reports that were internally inconsistent regarding the reporting of employee entitlement reports were eliminated from employee entitlement tables in the published reports. No elimination was required for the new report structure post 28 March 2020.
We previously included details of all conditions and limitations in Section B of the published reports.
Registered liquidator demographics (Series 4 and Series 4A)
Registered liquidator demographics (Series 4)
Series 4 data shows the total number of:
- registered liquidators by region, gender, age, years of registration and firm size
- new registered liquidators by region
- ceased registered liquidators by region.
You can download the statistics from our website in Excel workbook format as a time series from the September 1999 quarter to the most recent quarter.
The Excel workbook is updated quarterly and includes both quarterly and annual (financial year) data.
View and download Series 4 statistics
Sources of Series 4 data
The sources of data for this series are shown in the table below.
Number of registered liquidators
ASIC’s professional register of registered liquidators
Number of liquidators by region
ASIC’s professional register of registered liquidators
Number of ceased registered liquidators
Form RL08 Request to cancel or suspend registration as a liquidator (where ASIC approves an application by a person and suspends a person’s registration as a liquidator)
Or another form is processed where a court or disciplinary committee cancels or suspends a person’s registration as a liquidator
Region information is based on the principal place of practice address of registered liquidators on ASIC’s professional register of 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 Series 4 data about registered liquidators:
- Statistics are prepared based on ASIC’s professional register of registered liquidators at the end of each quarter. We rely on registered liquidators complying with their 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 a change.
- Registered liquidators who change their principal place of practice between regions are not reported on separately.
Registered liquidator lists (Series 4A)
We release a monthly list of current registered liquidators with their current professional register address by region.
We also identify if the liquidator is suspended voluntarily or otherwise or 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.
We update these lists monthly to reflect changes that occur to the professional register of registered liquidators.
You should check ASIC’s professional register of registered liquidators on 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 (the use, in court proceedings, of information from ASIC’s national database) does not apply to this list.
View and download Series 4A lists
Sources of Series 4A data
The source of data for this series is ASIC’s professional register of registered liquidators.
Region information is based on the principal place of practice address of registered liquidators on ASIC’s professional register.
Conditions and limitations of Series 4A data
Please consider when interpreting registered liquidator lists, that they are prepared based on ASIC’s professional register at the end of each month. We rely on registered liquidators to comply with their 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 professional register of registered liquidators on ASIC Connect before acting on the information in these lists.
Where can I get more information?
- Insolvency statistics
- ASIC Infoline 1300 300 630
- Email email@example.com
Please note that this information sheet is a summary giving you basic information about a particular topic. It does not cover the whole of the relevant law regarding that topic, and it is not a substitute for professional advice
You should also note that because this information sheet avoids legal language wherever possible, it might include some generalisations about the application of the law. Some provisions of the law referred to have exceptions or important qualifications. In most cases, your particular circumstances must be taken into account when determining how the law applies to you.
Information sheets provide concise guidance on a specific process or compliance issue or an overview of detailed guidance.
This information sheet was updated in January 2023.