Stuart Ariff on parole—the ripple effect continues
In 2012 we wrote about the fact that an insolvency practitioner in Sydney, a Stuart Ariff, had been found guilty of 13 counts of defrauding a company where he was the liquidator and 6 counts of falsifying its official accounts.
It has now come to pass that Mr Ariff was released on parole in March this year after serving approximately three and a half years in jail of his six year sentence.
In 2009 the NSW Supreme Court banned Ariff from the insolvency profession for life and ordered him to pay $4.9 million in compensation to creditors of companies he administrated. In that same year he was declared bankrupt.
As we have noted previously, no profession is ever pleased when one of its members proves to be dishonest, and this was certainly the position in this case.
While we commend the actions of the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) and the result it was able to obtain for creditors and for the regulation of the profession, it should be remembered that this verdict was against an individual and not the profession itself.
While we acknowledge the important roles ASIC and the Australian Financial Security Authority (AFSA) play in regulating the profession, care needs to be taken as to how far that regulation should go so as to balance regulation against commercial needs.
While there is the occasional dishonest practitioner, in many cases no matter how much regulation there is—they will, if they feel compelled, still break the law.
The problem with regulation is that while it is good in its intention, it does add additional costs to all administrations, which reduces the overall return to creditors.
We agree we need a vigilant ASIC and AFSA, however, care needs to be taken when introducing regulation that targets the few at the cost of the many—being creditors.