The Australian Securities and Investments Commission has obtained orders in the Supreme Court of New South Wales to wind up an unregistered managed investment scheme operated by Secured Bond Ltd.
In proceedings on 28 May 2012, the Supreme Court also made final orders appointing Barry Taylor of HLB Mann Judd as liquidator of the scheme, known as Master Fund.
ASIC believes the Master Fund operated from October 2004 until December 2008 when ASIC obtained orders restraining the operation of the Master Fund (refer AD08-10 ASIC acts to protect investors’ funds and AD08-40 NSW Supreme Court orders repatriation of funds). ASIC understands that approximately 40 investors who invested approximately AUD3.6 million were involved in the Master Fund. Investors in the Master Fund schemes live predominantly in and around Sydney.
Taylor will determine the return of money to the investors in the scheme. The Court has ordered that Taylor hold a meeting of Master Fund investors by 23 July 2012.
During its investigation into unregistered offshore fund operators targeting Australian investors and self managed superannuation funds, in 2007 and 2008 ASIC secured the return to Australia of more than AUD20 million located in overseas trading accounts which ASIC says belonged to investors in Master Fund and 13 other schemes not registered with ASIC. ASIC had that money returned to Australia for the benefit of investors, including almost USD1 million for investors in Master Fund.
ASIC is taking civil penalty action against the operators of Master Fund and 13 other schemes, including David Hobbs (a New Zealand citizen and resident), David Collard and Min Hua Li. The hearing of ASIC’s civil penalty proceedings commences on 4 July 2012.
Neither Master Fund nor any of the other schemes were registered with ASIC and their operators did not hold an Australian Financial Services Licence as required by law.
ASIC has been assisted by the Commodities Futures Trading Commission in the United States of America, the Financial Markets Authority in New Zealand and the Securities and Futures Commission of Hong Kong.