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Investigations

Current as at 27 June 2017

 

Forestlands

7 August 2017

We have received queries about the sale price of the forests. The Overseas Investment Office has recently published the sale price received by Forestlands. This information is now available on the OIO website which references a sale price of $23,500,000.

Regarding the distribution of funds, as we have previously stated the responsibility for determining a process to allocate funds among the companies or investors remains with the Forestlands companies and their director. The FMA has been informed that the director has instructed third party experts, including Korda Mentha, with a view towards advising on distributions to shareholders of the Forestlands companies.

We cannot comment on other matters that are currently the subject of ongoing inquiries by the SFO or the FMA.
We will update investors when there is further information available.

30 June 2017

The FMA has previously notified that during its initial inquiries into Forestlands it identified $18 million which Forestlands said was to be paid to investors. We note that investors, who are shareholders in the Forestlands companies, had expressed concerns about Forestlands, how the assets were sold and how they would receive their share of the proceeds.

The FMA decided that the $18 million should be placed in trust to protect and preserve these funds and investors’ interests. It is not the FMA’s role to determine the process for allocating funds among companies or investors; that responsibility remains with the Forestlands companies and their director. The FMA remains concerned that the Forestlands companies do not have an appropriate method in place to distribute the proceeds from the sale of the Forestlands group’s forestry assets.

The absence of an appropriate distribution method prejudices the rights of all the Forestlands investors. We understand that the Forestlands companies have now instructed an independent professional services firm to assist with developing that method.  Any suggestion that the FMA is preventing the appropriate distribution of funds to investors in the Forestlands companies is inaccurate. As soon as an appropriate distribution method has been established, the FMA will decide whether to consent to the release of funds currently held on trust.

27 June 2017

The FMA has received a number of requests for further information about the Forestlands group of companies from shareholders in recent weeks. 

The FMA continues to seek to engage with the sole director of the Forestlands group and his legal representatives to ascertain what steps have been taken to put in place an appropriate process for determining and managing the distribution of the $18 million that is held on trust, accruing interest. The funds cannot be dispersed other than in accordance with a court order or with the approval of the FMA.

The FMA cannot determine or oversee how the funds should be distributed to individual investors - that remains the legal responsibility of the group of companies and their director. The funds will remain in trust pending the FMA’s inquiries in this regard.

1 May 2017

We have referred some matters to the Serious Fraud Office. We will continue to complete our inquiries in relation to financial markets issues.

During our inquiries we identified funds worth $18 million, and in agreement with Forestlands, these funds were placed in trust. This money remains in trust, earning interest.

This decision to place these funds in trust was taken to protect and preserve the identified funds and investors’ interests while the FMA’s inquiries continue.

We want to ensure that Forestlands has established a process for distribution that is proper and fair for all investors.

We understand that the Forestlands companies did not each own a set share in the pooled forestry assets.  Instead, each of the 18 different companies owned specific forests, each of which were at different ages and stages, and some of which had been partly harvested.

It is not the FMA’s role to determine the process for allocating funds among companies or investors. The responsibility for that remains with the companies and their director. To date, we have not received a satisfactory response from the director to our questions on these matters.

The Forestlands companies have also failed to file financial statements. Our investigation into these and other matters is ongoing.

22 March 2017

The FMA has received complaints from various investors in Forestlands. Forestlands has recently sold all its forestry assets.

We have identified $18 million which Forestlands say is to be paid to all its investors. That money has been placed in a trust account after our discussion with a Forestlands director. It will remain in trust pending further inquiry.

The FMA notes a statement that has been issued on the Forestlands website dated 15/03/2017.

We have concerns about the accuracy of this statement, which we have raised with Forestlands.

Following a query from an investor about this statement, the FMA wants to make clear that this was published without our knowledge. The FMA is currently investigating the events in question.

  


Arena Capital/Blackfort

27 July 2015

Arena Capital Limited was placed into liquidation in the Christchurch High Court on 24 July 2015.  Korda Mentha (the current receivers of Arena) have been appointed as liquidators.  The receivers’ update to the Companies Office can be found here and the amended update on the KordaMentha website noting the liquidation of Arena can be found here.

17 July 2015

The receivers and managers of Arena Capital Limited have provided a further update to investors which can be found on the KordaMentha website here.

11 June 2015

The Receivers and Managers of Arena Capital Limited (Arena) Grant Graham and Neale Jackson of KordaMentha, who were appointed by the Court on application by the FMA under s522 of the Financial Markets Conduct Act 2013 to preserve assets have provided an interim update to investors and the Court about the steps they have taken to date and the current status of their work.

Their preliminary findings include:

  • KordaMentha has been contacted by approximately 750 people who claim to have placed funds with Arena.
  • The collective deposits into Arena’s bank accounts from all sources amounted to $9 million.  Some monies were repaid to some clients before the FMA obtained asset preservation orders and before the company was placed in receivership, so the amount of capital contributions remaining owing to clients will be less than $9 million and is still being assessed.
  • There are no financial accounts for Arena.
  • There is no evidence of any actual trading being conducted by Arena in foreign exchange markets.
  • Arena continues to be in receivership

The investigation by the FMA and the Serious Fraud Office is ongoing. 

Investors in Arena are encouraged to register with KordaMentha and provide their contact details and evidence of their investment.  Investors can contact KordaMentha on (09) 307 7865 or BlackFortFX@kordamentha.com. This includes any investors that may have already contacted the FMA. A copy of the letter to investors is available on the KordaMentha website.

28 May 2015

We are undertaking an investigation into Arena Capital Limited (Arena), trading as BlackfortFX (Blackfort). On 15 May, we obtained asset preservation orders over the assets of Arena/Blackfort. On 27 May, the High Court in Christchurch granted the FMA’s application for Grant Graham and Neale Jackson of KordaMentha to be appointed as receivers and managers of Arena/Blackfort.  They will be responsible for managing the business and identifying assets.

Any investor in Arena/Blackfort is encouraged to register with KordaMentha and provide their contact details and evidence of their investment. Investors can contact KordaMentha on (09) 307 7865 or BlackFortFX@kordamentha.com.  This includes any investors that may have already contacted the FMA.

Read the FMA's media release

21 May 2015

FMA secures Asset Preservation Orders over Arena Capital Limited / Blackfort

The FMA confirms that it is undertaking an investigation into Arena Capital Limited (Arena), trading as BlackfortFX (Blackfort). The FMA has obtained asset preservation orders over the assets of Arena/Blackfort and associated persons, in light of concerns that investor funds may be at risk. 

Arena is registered on the FSPR and purports to offer FX services to clients.  The FMA is concerned that Arena may be operating in breach of financial markets legislation.  We cannot comment further at this stage to protect the integrity of the investigation.  The FMA is working with the SFO and we will provide further information as soon as we are able. 

Any investor with information about Arena/Blackfort is encouraged to go to the FMA’s website where investors can use the online complaint form to provide information, or call the FMA helpline: 0800 434 567.

 

PTT Limited, Steven Robertson and related parties

11 December 2015

The following companies were placed into liquidation at the Auckland High Court:

  • PTT Limited
  • Maxwell Foster Limited
  • Gibson McLeod Limited
  • Alba International Limited.

PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC), the receivers of the four companies, have been appointed as liquidators.  Information from the receivers regarding these companies is available here (http://www.pwc.co.nz/ptt/).  An amended update on PwC’s website noting the liquidations should be made shortly.

20 November 2015

FMA investigators are currently trying to make contact with investors in New Zealand and Australia who have invested with Mr Steven Robertson, through any of the following businesses:

  • PTT Limited
  • Maxwell Foster Limited
  • Harrington Group Limited
  • Gibson McLeod Limited
  • Russell & Brown Limited
  • Armstrong Group Limited
  • Morrison Ross Limited
  • Alba International Limited

The FMA has sent out questionnaires to known investors either by post or email in the last week. The purpose of the questionnaire is to help us to understand individual investor’s circumstances and experiences in dealing with these entities.

Investors who have not received a copy of the questionnaire should contact the FMA on 0800 434 567 or by email to questions@fma.govt.nz.

8 October 2015

PwC released its report to the High Court. A copy of this can be found here on PwC's website.

The FMA’s investigation is on-going. 
4 September 2015 A hearing was held to determine whether certain of the asset preservation orders granted on 13 August 2015 should be varied, modified or removed.  The Court approved certain variations, including increasing the weekly living allowance and authorising the release of certain personal and household assets and funds in payment of legal fees.
3 September 2015 PwC submitted their report to the High Court on a confidential basis.  
13 August 2015

The FMA confirms that it is undertaking an investigation into Steven Robertson, PTT Limited and related entities.

The FMA has obtained asset preservation orders over the assets of PTT Limited and associated persons, in light of concerns that investor funds may be at risk and that the companies may be operating in breach of financial markets legislation. 

The High Court also appointed John Fisk and David Bridgman of PricewaterhouseCoopers as Receivers and Receivers and Managers, on a limited basis, of the following entities and persons

  • PTT Limited
  • Maxwell Foster Limited
  • Gibson McLeod Limited
  • Alba International Limited
  • Steven Robertson Family Trust
  • Steven Robertson
  • Lisa Jane Robertson

Mr Fisk and Mr Bridgman have been granted powers to identify and preserve any funds and assets of PTT Limited (in receivership) and the names of clients. The receivers will provide a report updating the Court and the FMA on the steps they have taken and the current status of their work, by 3 September 2015. The receivers will contact any known clients.

The FMA encourages any client of PTT Limited to register with PwC and provide their contact details (phone, email and postal address) and evidence of any funds paid to PTT Limited.

Clients can contact PwC on the PTT Limited dedicated telephone message line +64 (09) 355 8023, via its dedicated page on the PwC website, facsimile +64 (09) 355 8013, or by mail PTT Limited (in receivership), c/- PwC, Private Bag 92162, Auckland.

The FMA also requests that any clients that have already contacted the FMA should also contact PwC.