Complaint over statutory manager

More than 230 investors - with $60 million in claims on a former Allan Hubbard company - have lodged a formal complaint with the Minister of Commerce and Attorney-general over the actions of statutory managers, Grant Thornton.

At issue is $60 million in assets being disputed by Mr Hubbard's widow Jean, which should have gone to court last week, but the hearing was rescheduled to May 20 next year as Grant Thornton had unearthed a large number of documents.

Following the rescheduling, the Investor Liaison Group yesterday released a statement, saying it had formally complained to Minister of Commerce, Craig Foss, and the Attorney-general Lyn Provost about the work done by statutory manager Grant Thornton, which was appointed in June 2010.

The liaison group claims "ongoing delays" in the return of funds to Hubbard Management Fund and Aorangi Securities investors, alleging "the excessive statutory management costs are no longer acceptable"; at present above $12 million.

"The complaint has been initiated after the latest blunder by the statutory managers in discovering previously forgotten boxes of documents that are pertinent to a judicial hearing to decide distribution of Aorangi's assets," the statement said.

Noel Macpherson of South Canterbury was an investor in both Aorangi Securities and Hubbard Managed Funds, and is now one of six investors representing interests of more than 230 former investors; the Investor Liaison Group.

Mr Macpherson released the statement yesterday, then when contacted said if Grant Thornton did not manage to secure access to the $60 million, then potentially there could be more litigation against Mrs Hubbard, Mr Hubbard's estate and maybe other company directors.

Because of the regulatory action, the investors reserved their right to seek recourse and compensation, arising from emotional and financial suffering, inflicted because of the "unwarranted actions of the public authorities" and "believe the Government is responsible for paying the costs", the statement said.

Grant Thornton have said Mrs Hubbard's claim was that $60 million of the $96 million of Aorangi assets were never transferred to Aorangi's ownership and are therefore her's personally and for her late husband's estate, The New Zealand Herald has reported.

So far, investors have received $14.5 million, or 15c in the dollar, but if the $60 million Aorangi assets were released to them it would be close to full payment, Grant Thornton estimated in June.

The statement yesterday said the further seven-month delay had "a serious detrimental impact upon investors who have been struggling emotionally and financially since their funds were frozen on June 20, 2010", noting at least 22 had died since then.


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