ASIC has disqualified Mr Nicholas Francis John Bolton of Melbourne from managing corporations for three years following his involvement in the failure of 13 companies. The disqualification commences on 17 November 2015 and ceases 16 November 2018.
The disqualification follows an ASIC investigation into Australian Style Investments Pty Ltd ACN 109 510 198 which found that Mr Bolton breached his duties as a director and that he failed to hold adequate records to explain the financial position of the company.
Mr Bolton was the director of:
- ACN 109 510 198 Pty Ltd (formerly known as Australian Style Investments Pty Ltd) ACN 109 510 198 (Australian Style Investments),
- Australian Style Pty Ltd ACN 099 892 814 (Australian Style),
- Australian Style Services Pty Ltd ACN 108 855 590 (Australian Style Services),
- ACN 108 855 652 Pty Ltd ACN 108 855 652,
- 56 Nerang Street Pty Ltd ACN 092 437 548,
- Retail Finance Group Pty Ltd ACN 110 903 083,
- Qikbiz Finance Pty Ltd ACN 093 290 227,
- Australian Money Exchange Pty Ltd ACN 090 388 257,
- Applied Finance Wizard Pty Ltd ACN 118 912 173,
- AMX No 1 Pty Ltd ACN 086 789 531, and
- AMX Marketing fund Pty Ltd ACN 090 254 425.
Each of these companies were placed into liquidation between 4 February 2010 and 19 May 2014.
Across the 13 companies, liquidators reported that the total deficiencies owed to creditors exceeded $25 million.
On 18 November 2015, Mr Bolton appealed to the Administrative Appeals Tribunal (AAT) for a stay against the disqualification and sought confidentiality orders against ASIC's decision to disqualify Mr Bolton. The AAT dismissed Mr Bolton's appeal regarding the stay and confidentiality orders on 17 December 2015. Mr Bolton's appeal against ASIC's disqualification is still before the AAT.
This matter received funding from ASIC under the Assetless Administration Fund to fund the Liquidator of Australian Style Investments Pty Ltd to prepare a supplementary report for the purposes of ASIC to consider a banning Mr Bolton pursuant to Section 206F of the Corporations Act 2001 (the Act).
The maximum period for which a director can be banned from managing corporations is for five years. Section s206F of the Act allows ASIC to disqualify persons from managing corporations if, within a seven year period, the person was an officer of two or more companies, and those companies were would up and a liquidator provides a report to ASIC that the company is unable to repay its debts.
Editor's note 1:
On 6 July 2023, the AAT dismissed Mr Bolton’s appeal against ASIC’s disqualification under s42A(5) of the AAT Act, being satisfied that he failed to comply with the AAT’s directions within a reasonable time. A copy of the AAT decision is here.