Video | Agriculture | Confidence | Economy | Energy | Employment | Finance | Media | Property | RBNZ | Science | SOEs | Tax | Technology | Telecoms | Tourism | Transport | Search


Worboys enjoys Bentley as administrators trawl Halifax mess

By Jenny Ruth

March 13 (BusinessDesk) - Halifax director Jeffrey Worboys is enjoying the use of a Bentley while the administrators of the failed derivatives trading group say the company was trading while insolvent since at least January 2017.

Morgan Kelly, Stewart McCallum and Phil Quinlan of Ferrier Hodgson, who were appointed as voluntary administrators of both the Australian and New Zealand arms of the Halifax group in November, say the only outcome available is for investors and creditors to vote to place Hailfax in liquidation.

They estimate the shortfall between what investors and other creditors are owed and available funds will be about A$19.7 million, but stress that may change.

That’s a narrowing of their estimate in January of a A$15-25 million shortfall.

The tale contained in their latest update to Australian investors and creditors says there was “extensive co-mingling of client monies” with incoming money from clients used to fund Halifax’s operating losses and other bills.

There was “no pattern” behind how funds were transferred and there appears to be “substantial contraventions of the Client Money Rules,” the report says.

A number of payments totalling almost A$4.8 million have been earmarked as “uncommercial transactions” that a liquidator would be “very likely” to investigate further.

These include the A$39,377 payout of the lease of a Bentley “which we understand is in the possession” of director Jeffrey Worboys, and payments totalling A$3.4 million made to Warboys and former director Matthew Barnett on Nov. 21, two days before the Australian arm went into voluntary administration.

Another A$100,000 was pre-paid in rent on a residential property occupied by Worboys with half of this - A$49,631 being rent and A$6,087 being a rental bond - counted as a company expense. The remainder was a loan to the director.

“The director has advised that this payment (was) made by Halifax on the basis that the premises was being used as a home office,” the administrators’ report says.

Another payment of A$40,200 was paid to Halifax America and “we understand that this payment was made in order to pay a fine imposed by the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority. We have not seen any evidence to demonstrate that there was any commercial benefit to the company in entering into this transaction,” the report says.

“Further, we understand that Halifax is a previous shareholder of Halifax Australia and that the director (Warboys) has a financial interest in this entity.”

One spot of good news for investors and creditors is that the equity value of open positions across Halifax’s three platforms has risen from A$211.2 million on Nov. 23 last year to A$227.7 million at Feb. 28 this year.

If a court determines that claims against Halifax should date from the administrators’ appointment, this “has the effect of reducing the overall deficiency to investors,” the report says.

Because there appear to be contraventions of both the Client Money Rules and the Australian Corporations Act 2001, the administrators say they are working closely with the Australian Securities and Investments Commission on these and other lines of investigation.

Halifax NZ’s managing director was Andrew Gibbs. The administrators intend to publish a report for New Zealand investors and creditors later today.

The administrators have called a meeting of creditors in Sydney for Wednesday, March 20 and in New Zealand on March 22.

© Scoop Media

Business Headlines | Sci-Tech Headlines


Reserve Bank: Further Easing In Monetary Policy Delivered

Tēnā koutou katoa, welcome all. The Monetary Policy Committee agreed to expand the Large Scale Asset Purchase (LSAP) programme up to $100 billion so as to further lower retail interest rates in order to achieve its remit. The eligible assets remain ... More>>

Retail: Post-Lockdown Retail Card Spending Picks Up

The rise in retail card spending was boosted by sales of furniture, hardware, and appliances, Stats NZ said today. “For a third consecutive month, card spending on the long-lasting goods (durables) remained at higher levels than last year, after ... More>>

Contact: Business Drops, New Generation On Hold

New Zealand’s second-largest energy company Contact Energy (‘Contact’) released its full year financial results for the 12 months to 30 June 2020 (‘FY20’) this morning. More>>

Mining: OceanaGold Announces Receipt Of WKP Mining Permit

MELBOURNE, Australia, Aug. 6, 2020 /CNW/ - OceanaGold Corporation (TSX: OGC) (ASX: OGC) (the 'Company') is pleased to announce it has received the mining permit for Wharekirauponga ('WKP') on the North Island of New Zealand. ... More>>


Economy: COVID-19 Lockdown Has Widespread Effects On Labour Market

In the June 2020 quarter, the seasonally adjusted unemployment rate fell to 4.0 percent, down from 4.2 percent last quarter, while underutilisation rose, Stats NZ said today. More>>


NZ Post: New Research By NZ Post Shows Online Shopping Grew 105% In Alert Level 3

New research by NZ Post into how the COVID-19 response has impacted the way Kiwis shop online, shows online shopping increased 105%* when the country moved into Alert Level 3, and may have changed the way Kiwis shop permanently. Online spend peaked ... More>>


Antarctica NZ: Ice-Olation

Antarctica New Zealand is gearing up for a much reduced season on the ice this year and a very different deployment to normal! Before they head to one of the remotest places on the planet, all personnel flying south with the New Zealand programme will ... More>>


QV Valuations: July House Price Index Illustrates Market Resilience

According to the July 2020 QV House Price Index (HPI) results out today , property values recorded a marginal increase, up 0.2% over the month. This is somewhat of a turnaround from June, after the national index edged 0.2% lower. More>>


Property: Queenstown Rents Experience Biggest Drop In Seven Years

Rental prices in the Queenstown-Lakes district saw the biggest annual percentage drop in seven years after falling 28 per cent on June last year, according to the latest Trade Me Rental Price Index. Trade Me Property spokesperson Aaron Clancy said ... More>>

Seismology: The Quiet Earth

As many daily activities came to a halt during lockdown, the Earth itself became quiet, probably quieter than it has been since humans developed the technology to listen in. Seismologists have analysed datasets from more than 300 international ... More>>

RNZ: James Shaw Says Kiwibank, Not Ministers Should Decide On Investors

Climate Change Minister James Shaw says Kiwibank's decision to stop doing business with companies dealing in fossil fuels is the right one. More>>


FMA: Kiwis Confident Financial Markets Will Recover From COVID-19, Plan To Increase Investments

Despite the majority (60%) of investors experiencing losses as a result of COVID-19, the outlook on investing remains positive, according to a Financial Markets Authority (FMA) survey. Most Kiwis (71%) were optimistic that the pandemic will pass eventually ... More>>

FIRST Union: Warehouse Using Covid For Cover As Extensive Restructure Makes Everyone Worse Off

(FIRST Union comments on The Warehouse consultation and proposed restructure) 'Unfortunately the Warehouse have done the disappointing thing and used Covid-19 to justify a bunch of operational business decisions that will leave hundreds of workers without jobs ... More>>