Legal

Your business might be on this ASIC database, and you don’t even know it

Patrick Stafford /

Keeping up with changing regulation is a terrible game. A game businesses often lose.

Last year, the corporate regulator introduced something called the Personal Properties Securities Register (PPSR). Most businesses don’t have a clue what it means, or how it works – but it’s essential to most of them.

And now, ASIC has introduced a database related to the PPSR that you should really pay attention to – it could save you a lot of time and money.

The PPSR is designed for companies that have any sort of asset in another business. (For instance, if you supplied pallets of metal or other equipment.) The register is designed so that if that company goes bankrupt, businesses can get their stuff back.

The PPSR replaced a group of state-based registers. So now, ASIC has released a database of all the assets that haven’t been carried over to the new register.

That means if your company is on this list, you need to register it again. And as experts have explained before, it’s critical for you to do this – otherwise if the company supplied with your product goes insolvent, you may lose the right to claim the assets.

Dissolve liquidator Cliff Sanderson says the introduction of the PPSR has been problematic, as many businesses still don’t realise it exists.

“What it was supposed to do was help unsecured creditors who wanted to register for retention of titles,” he says. “But the big problem is you register once, and leave it there forever.”

The collapse of a guitar store last year brought the practicalities of the register into focus. The company sold rare guitars hand-crafted by individuals, but none of them had registered their assets under the new register – essentially leaving their ownership in question.

While the owners had their guitars returned, the incident revealed how many businesses still don’t know about the register at all.

Sanderson says the transition has been less than ideal – and there are still problems with the current register.

“As a user of the ASIC Charges Register in the past, it was very easy to go and see who had a charge over a company, and you could do that very quickly and easily.

“But with the new PPSR, there is quite a lot of stuff listed, and quite a lot that isn’t. It’s a crowded register … and that extra information isn’t necessarily useful.”

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Patrick Stafford

Patrick Stafford is a freelance journalist and a former deputy editor of SmartCompany.

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