Brian Silvia

Principal

For over 45 years I have experienced a vast range of challenges in personal and corporate insolvency work, mainly spanning property and construction. These unique experiences have developed skills well beyond those of an advisor and I am proud to be relied upon to offer these to my clients on every engagement.

Brian is a registered and official liquidator and a registered trustee in bankruptcy with over 45 years experience in insolvency. A founding principal of BRI Ferrier, Brian has worked throughout Australia, New Zealand, South East Asia, Europe and the Cayman Islands.

Brian’s vision and passion is highly regarded in the industry due to his drive to uncover and successfully manage all details and processes involving construction, contractual obligations, accounting, sales and valuation methods in a timely manner. Consequently, Brian is regularly engaged as an expert witness. He is also considered the ‘industry speaker’ on managing distressed or insolvent property construction projects and has made over 20 industry presentations.

Brian has developed the rare ability to coordinate and effectively manage all issues confronting an imposing list of stakeholders including councils, state governments, the EPA, unions, financiers, subcontractors, developers, owners and clubs and associations.

Brian’s thoroughness and attention to detail ensures all insolvencies under Brian’s direction are managed efficiently. This, and the scale of responsibility he has successfully managed, make him one of the only insolvency practitioners in Australia regularly appointed to a variety of unique and complicated insolvencies.

Career highlights

  • In 1981, at the age of 31, Brian was chosen as one of nine ‘A list’ liquidators by an expert panel of five assessors appointed by the Attorney General. As such, Brian is regularly appointed by the Court as the Official and Provisional Liquidator on the most challenging and complex of matters.
  • In the 1980’s, Brian was appointed Liquidator of a number of insurance companies. On analysis, Brian detected a methodology of industry fraud evident in the majority of insurance broker company failures in the 1980’s, involving methods of misappropriation of reinsurance premiums due to reinsurers. Brian’s discovery was brought to the attention of the Insurance Commissioner and consequently enabled Brian to achieve recoveries for creditors which otherwise would not have been available.
  • Throughout his career, Brian has been very active in the Australian Restructuring Insolvency and Turnaround Association (formerly the IPA). Brian was one of three architects of the ‘OpenCover’ agreement – the 30 day automatic cover for insolvency appointments between the insurance broker and the insolvency firm currently enjoyed by practitioners today.

Experience

  • Appointed voluntary administrator of Austcorp, a property development and investment group. Austcorp, with debts of $650 million, owed its principal secured creditor $200 million. Brian developed and implemented a series of reconstructions which has subsequently returned the secured creditor 90% of monies owed.
  • Engaged as an expert witness in the dispute between Hornibrook and Gordian Runoff (an insurance company) with regard to the responsibility for $60 million of defects in the third runway at Sydney Airport. Acting on behalf of Gordian, Brian undertook forensic research and as a result of his report, $140 million of the $150 million claim was withdrawn from proceedings.
  • Appointed administrator of Diamond Press, the third largest commercial printer in Australia. With offices in both Sydney and Melbourne, the business was not structurally viable. As such Brian sold each operation, managing in both instances to realise top prices. As a result, the secured creditor was repaid a sum in excess of expectations.
  • Brian was part of a team of investigative accountants appointed by one of the big four retail banks, to monitor the performance of Concrete Constructions, the second largest construction company in Australia. Over a period of 18 months, Brian’s investigations resulted in a change of ownership and the recovery of the bank’s $300 million exposure.
  • Appointed receiver to Best & Less, a chain of retail clothing stores. At the time of appointment, the business was losing $2 million a month. Brian continued to trade the business for eight months while searching for a suitable buyer. Despite opposition from the tax office, Brian managed to sell the business and recover all monies owing to the secured creditor.
  • Appointed provisional and official liquidator to Hartogen Oil and Gas Group, an oil and gas prospector (now Origin Energy). On appointment, Brian maintained their exploration and production program. He also sold key tenements and managed the sale of an associated company, Consolidated Petroleum Australia NL. Brian also initiated a major preference claim against the company’s major shareholders which recovered approximately $25 million for unsecured creditors.
  • Appointed joint administrator to Forest Enterprises Australia (FEA) Limited, a $1 billion vertically integrated forestry group which included 17 managed investment schemes and circa 50,000 hectares of plantation resource. This matter is ongoing, however it has been the only forestry scheme to achieve a positive outcome for growers regarding legal disputes with secured creditor bank interests.

Qualifications and memberships

  • Registered and official liquidator
  • Registered trustee in bankruptcy
  • Certified Practicing Accountant
  • Fellow, Charted Accountants Australia and New Zealand
  • Member, Australian Institute of Company Directors
  • Member, Australian Restructuring Insolvency and Turnaround Association
  • Diploma of Commerce – University of Technology Sydney
×