Liquidators of collapsed online derivative trader Halifax NZ are calling on investors who put money into the business to have their say.
With around A$200 million available to distribute, KPMG liquidator Morgan Kelly’s early estimate is that 2,100 New Zealand investors will get back 85-to-95 cents in the dollar from trust funds and can then join unsecured creditors in claims for the remaining money.
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“The portfolio changes all the time and it has gone back up in value and the investor claims against that portfolio have moved too so it could be higher,” he said, indicating that it would not be lower than that range.
Halifax NZ was placed in liquidation in March, with initial estimates suggesting a A$20 million shortfall. Most New Zealanders using the platform of the Australian-headquartered company would have used its Interactive Brokers website.
Kelly estimated more than 150 investors have attended meetings held in Auckland this week or watched an online webcast of them.
“They are angry, they are confused and they are frustrated,” said Kelly, who wants investors to come forward with their own views about how to divide up the money.
KPMG’s suggested proposal sets out four different classes of investor, depending on their circumstances. The liquidator says he cannot return Halifax funds without a judge giving the green light.
“Whatever decision the court makes someone is going to be unhappy and that’s why we are asking investors to give us their feedback on what options they have.”
Kelly says while the liquidators have a plan, it is not for the court to rubber-stamp, and he hopes for debate over what is to happen.
“In a way, it’s like we are putting a rugby ball into a scrum,” he said. “We need representative respondents so there is a lawyer representing them and we can test the assumptions of those people who are going to be unhappy.”
Investors have until Dec. 6 to respond to the liquidator’s questionnaire and indicate whether they want separate legal representation. The case will be unique as it will require Australian and New Zealand courts to jointly hear evidence and decide what to do with the funds.
Halifax had just four employees when it went into administration in November 2018.
In March, Halifax NZ managing director Andrew Gibbs said his lifestyle was “chalk and cheese” compared with that of his Australian counterpart Jeffrey Worboys, after administrators reported Worboys was living a luxury life with a Bentley and pre-paid rent on his home, financed with company funds.
Kelly’s second report as liquidator shows $455,000 was paid to KPMG for his role as administrator and about $230,000 was paid in legal fees and disbursements during the administration.
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