A Brisbane-based insolvency practitioner has been formally admonished by the Companies Auditors and Liquidators Board, following an investigation by the Australian Securities and Investments Commission.
Jonathan Paul McLeod is the principal of insolvency firm McLeod & Partners, a chartered accounting firm that specialises in corporate restructuring and insolvency.
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ASIC investigated McLeod over his appointment to 17 external administrations between 2008 and 2012 and made 24 allegations against McLeod, 13 of which were established by the CALDB.
The CALDB, an independent statutory body, found on numerous occasions, McLeod failed to lodge reports with ASIC that detailed suspected offences as soon as practicable after he became aware of the possible offences.
McLeod was also found to have failed to provide a remuneration report to creditors; to properly declare his independence to creditors on numerous occasions; to properly consider whether he was disqualified from consenting to act as a liquidator; and open a liquidator’s general bank account within seven days of his appointment.
Seven other allegations made by ASIC were not upheld by the CALDB, while ASIC withdrew a further four allegations.
An admonishment by the CALDB is a form of reprimand and is one of three options the CALDB has when assessing the performance of a registered auditor or liquidator.
The board also has the power to cancel or suspend an individual’s registration or to require them to enter into an undertaking.
In this case, the CALDB said in a statement it made a decision to admonish McLeod after taking into account the fact that during the time when the conduct occurred, McLeod had been diagnosed with and received treatment for a serious illness.
The board also found McLeod did not engage in any “deliberate or dishonest conduct”, had co-operated throughout the proceedings and provided evidence to show that he has implemented processes and procedures “to address the deficiencies identified”.
The board said its ruling should act as a “reproof” to McLeod, “while also serving the public interest as a reminder to the insolvency profession generally” that registered liquidators must uphold their duties under the Corporations Act properly at all times.
SmartCompany contacted McLeod & Partners but did not receive a response prior to publication.