ASIC’s investigation into Brite Advisors is ongoing. Please continue to check this page for updates.
Any person who is concerned that they have funds invested on the Brite Platform can contact ASIC at: Brite.Investigation@asic.gov.au.
The receivers can be contacted by email to: email@example.com.
Who/What is ASIC?
The Australian Securities & Investments Commission (ASIC) is Australia’s corporate, markets, and financial services regulator.
ASIC is an independent Australian Government body.
Our role includes protecting consumers who have funds invested in Australia’s financial system, maintaining and improving the performance of the financial system, and taking whatever action we can and which is necessary to protect consumers and to give effect to the law.
Who is Brite Advisors?
Brite Advisors Pty Ltd (Brite) is an Australian company (now in liquidation) which holds an Australian financial services licence (AFSL).
Brite and its related entities operate in multiple countries (including the UK, US, Hong Kong, and Australia) providing advisory, pension administration and asset management services.
Brite offers an investment platform (Brite Platform) to self-invested personal pension providers, qualifying recognised overseas pension schemes, and self-managed superannuation funds.
Why did ASIC take Brite Advisors to Court?
As an Australian company and as a holder of an AFSL , Brite is regulated by ASIC and is required to comply with the terms of its AFSL and financial services laws in Australia.
ASIC commenced a court action against Brite in October 2023 because ASIC was concerned that the financial position of Brite, and the value of client funds under its management, were unknown. (23-286MR).
Why does ASIC say that the financial position of Brite was unknown?
Brite is required to file with ASIC its financial statements and independent auditors report within 4 months of the end of each financial year. When ASIC commenced Court action against Brite in October 2023, Brite had not filed its financial statements and independent auditors report for financial year ended 30 June 2022, nor for financial year ended 30 June 2023.
Brite subsequently filed its financial statements and independent auditors report for year ended 30 June 2022, on 2 November 2023. However the independent auditors report filed with ASIC is subject to a expressed qualified opinion in relation to the funds under management.
What was the concern about funds under management by Brite?
When ASIC commenced its Court against Brite, the value of Brite’s funds under management had not been reported by any entity within the Brite Group and independently verified by an auditor since December 2019. Funds under management have been reported in Brite’s financial statements for year ended 30 June 2022 which were filed with ASIC on 2 November 2023. However the Independent Auditors report is subject to a qualified opinion that the value of the funds under management as stated in the 2022 financial statements could not be independently verified by the Independent Auditor.
Why didn’t ASIC just ask Brite to provide it with its financial statements?
. ASIC had, and continues to have, an ongoing investigation in relation to Brite. ASIC has compulsory information gathering powers which it relies on in the course of its investigations. Prior to commencing court action, ASIC had exercised its information gathering powers requiring information and documents to be provided to ASIC by Brite relating to, amongst other things, the financial position of Brite and funds under its management. The information and documents provided to ASIC by Brite did not satisfy ASIC’s concerns.
Why was it necessary to obtain asset preservation orders against Brite?
With the financial position of Brite and the value of pension funds under its management unknown, it was necessary to obtain asset preservation orders to protect the pension funds for the benefit of the beneficiaries of those funds. The concern was that if there was any deficiency in the pension funds held for beneficiaries then Court orders were needed to prevent that deficiency from increasing.
What do you mean deficiency in the pension funds?
If the value of money and investments held by Brite in its bank and trading accounts for the benefit of the beneficiaries of the pension funds was less than the amount of money actually owed to all of the beneficiaries of the pension funds, then this would be a deficiency in the pension funds under Brite’s management.
What would this mean for the beneficiaries of the pension funds if there was such a deficiency?
In simple terms it would mean that Brite would not have enough money to pay all of the beneficiaries all of the amounts owed to them.
Is there a deficiency in the pension funds?
This requires further investigation. The need for this further investigation was one of the reasons why the Court appointed Receivers to Brite on 13 December 2023 (23-340MR) following a three day hearing. During the course of that hearing, the Court heard evidence from the then Investigative Accountants (now Receivers) regarding a US $69 million (approximately AU $100 million) difference between the total amount of client funds which the Investigative Accountants had been able to identify in the bank and trading accounts of Brite compared to the total amount of client funds that the Investigative Accounts could see from the books and records of Brite as being reported to clients as being owed to them.
What is the value of total client funds under Brite’s management.
During the course of the three day hearing in the Federal Court in December 2023 evidence was given that the total value of client amounts under management reported by Brite to beneficiaries were USD $682 million (approximately AUD $1 billion).
Who are the Receivers who have been appointed to Brite?
Linda Smith and Robert Kirman, Partners at Australian firm McGrathNicol, have been appointed as receivers and managers to the property of Brite (Receivers).
Does this mean that Brite is going to be wound up?
On 22 January 2024, ASIC filed an application with the Federal Court of Australia seeking orders to wind up Brite and to appoint the current Receivers and Corporate Managers as liquidators to Brite. ASIC’s application to wind up Brite was heard on 6 February 2024. The Federal Court made orders winding up Brite and appointing the then receivers as liquidators to Brite. Reasons for the orders made are set out in the judgment of the court published on 9 February 2024. Download a copy of the judgment.
Can I access the court documents which have been filed by ASIC?
On 7 February 2024, the Federal Court made orders permitting the liquidators to publish on their website evidential material filed in the proceedings, with such redactions as permitted by the Court. Refer: McGrathNicol webpage for Creditors to Brite Advisors Pty Ltd.
The freezing orders have meant that I have not received my pension payments since October.
ASIC commenced Court action against Brite on 25 October 2023 and obtained interim asset preservation orders. Those Court orders did not prevent Brite from making payments to superannuation funds amounts held by Brite on behalf of those superannuation funds, provided that such payment was a regular pension withdrawal and ASIC had given its written consent to the payment.
On 9 November 2023, those Court orders were amended to permit Brite to make payments to superannuation funds or pension providers (removing the limitation that payments could only be made for “regular pension payments”) provided that ASIC had given its written consent. These Court orders also provided for the Investigative Accountants being empowered to assess any request made by Brite or a client of Brite for a pension payment to be made and making a recommendation to ASIC as to whether ASIC should consent to the payment. Under the Court orders, Brite made a number of requests for pension payments to be made, and ASIC responded to those requests. Under the Court orders, ASIC did not have any power to direct Brite to make any payment; its role was limited to confirming in writing whether it consented to the payment being made. Based on the information available to it, ASIC understands that there were a number of instances where ASIC had consented to a payment being made but Brite had not made the payment before 13 December 2023, when the Receivers were appointed.
Did ASIC refuse consent to some requests for pension withdrawals?
Under the Court orders prior to 13 December 2023, ASIC considered that it would not be appropriate to consent to a request to withdraw the entire balance which a beneficiary or Brite considered to be the balance of an individual beneficiary’s investment on the Brite platform because the accuracy of client balances had not been confirmed.
As noted above, the Investigative Accountants have identified in the books and records of Brite a difference between the amount that is reported to clients as being due to them and the funds which the Investigative Accountants have to date been able to identify in the bank and trading accounts of Brite. The Receivers are tasked with providing a further report to the Court and to ASIC within 42 days including in relation to, to the extent that they are able, the current net balance of each client’s investment.
I have been unable to logon to the Brite app to confirm my investment balance
At the Court hearing on 12 December 2023, a director of Brite gave evidence that:
- Brite’s access to its Customer Relationship Management (CRM) platform had been disconnected by the platform provider, because a payment had not been made to extend Brite’s contract with the provider; and
- While access to the CRM platform was disconnected, individuals who had funds invested on the Brite platform would not be able to logon and see the balances of their investments because the software platform used to report this had been switched off.
Will ASIC consent to my pension payment request now?
Since the appointment of Receivers on 13 December 2023, ASIC no longer has any role in providing consent for any pension payments. Instead, under the 13 December orders, the Receivers are empowered to assess any request for a pension withdrawal and if deemed appropriate by the Receivers processing the withdrawal.
How can I contact the Receivers?
The Receivers can be contacted by email to: firstname.lastname@example.org
How can I contact the ASIC investigation team?
The ASIC investigation team can be contacted by email to Brite.Investigation@asic.gov.au.
How can I receive further updates?
ASIC will publish further updates on this webpage. ASIC will also provide further updates by email to all persons who have requested this by email to the ASIC investigation team using the email address above.
Please note that ASIC is endeavouring to respond to questions received by email as soon as practicable, but that:
- We may not be able to answer all questions immediately; and
- We may be limited in the information that we can provide (taking in to account legal, regulatory, and privacy requirements).
6 February 2024
On 6 February 2024, the Federal Court ordered Brite Advisors Pty Ltd (Brite) to be wound up on just and equitable grounds following an application by ASIC.
The Court appointed Linda Smith and Robert Kirman of McGrath Nicol as liquidators to Brite and as receivers and managers over the property, assets and undertakings held by Brite on trust for others.
At the 6 February hearing, the Court was directed to key findings outlined in a report Ms Smith and Mr Kirman lodged with the Court on 24 January 2024. Those key findings included that Brite was likely insolvent from at least 27 October 2023.
Read the full ASIC Media Release 24-017MR Federal Court orders Brite Advisors wound up on just and equitable grounds.
13 December 2023
On 13 December 2023, following a three-day hearing, the Federal Court made orders appointing Linda Smith and Robert Kirman of McGrathNicol as corporate receivers and managers of Australian Financial Services licensee, Brite Advisors Pty Ltd (Brite).
The receivers are tasked with conducting further investigations into Brite and the approximately AUD$1 billion client pension funds under its management.
The receivers are to provide a report to the Court and to ASIC on their investigation within 42 days.
Read the full ASIC Media Release 23-340MR Federal Court appoints receivers to Brite Advisors
27 October 2023
ASIC obtained interim orders from the Federal Court freezing the funds and assets of Australian Financial Services licensee Brite Advisors Pty Ltd (Brite).
ASIC’s application for these orders was made because ASIC is concerned that:
- the current financial position of Brite is unknown, as Brite has failed to lodge with ASIC its financial statements and auditors report for the financial year ended 30 June 2022; and
- the value of Brite’s funds under management has not been reported by any entity within the Brite Group in an audited balance sheet since December 2019.
Read the full ASIC Media Release 23-286MR Federal Court freezes funds and assets of Brite Advisors.