Halifax Investment Services Pty Ltd
Halifax Investment Services Pty Ltd (Halifax), was a financial services licensee headquartered in Sydney with a partially-owned subsidiary in Auckland, New Zealand.
On 23 November 2018, Morgan Kelly, Stewart McCallum and Phil Quinlan of Ferrier Hodgson (the Administrators) were appointed as joint and several voluntary administrators of Halifax.
On 20 March 2019, at the second creditors meeting, it was resolved to place Halifax into liquidation and the Administrators were appointed as Liquidators.
From 30 November 2020 until 9 December 2020, the Federal Court of Australia and the Hight Court of New Zealand held a joint hearing in relation to the distribution of client moneys held by Halifax. Their Honours have reserved judgment in the matter.
On 19 May 2021, the Federal Court of Australia and the Hight Court of New Zealand handed down their judgements regarding the valuation of investments and the return of shares and client moneys to investors.
Note: On 13 May 2019, Stewart McCallum retired as Liquidator. On 17 June 2019 Ferrier Hodgson merged with KPMG.
ASIC has been following the administration process closely and has met regularly with the Administrators since their appointment to receive updates on the progress of the Administrators’ investigation and their findings.
On 8 January 2019 ASIC suspended the Halifax licence until 10 January 2020 (See 19-005MR).
On 18 December 2019 ASIC extended the licence suspension until 8 January 2021 (See 20-003MR).
On 8 January 2021 ASIC cancelled the Halifax licence (see 21-004MR).
ASIC continues to receive regular updates from the Liquidators during the liquidation process.
ASIC will consider further the circumstances surrounding the voluntary administration and liquidation of Halifax, as well as the allegations of misconduct raised by the Administrators (including in their report to creditors under s439A of the Corporations Act), particularly those concerning compliance with laws on conduct and client money.
Under the law, including the Corporations Act, licensees must keep client money separate from their own. This is an important safeguard to protect the interests of retail investors.
ASIC takes matters concerning the protection of client money particularly seriously. ASIC notes that breaches of the client money provisions attract criminal penalties.
Help for investors
Investors seeking information should contact:
Link Market Services
Phone: 1300 910 051 or +61 1300 910 051 (if overseas)
The Liquidators also provide information on their website in relation to Halifax including links to relevant documents.
For information to assist you if your investment has been adversely affected, please visit Problems with your investments on ASIC’s MoneySmart website.
For any tax-related questions or concerns, please contact the Australian Taxation Office on 131 020.
Trouble with debt
The Trouble with debt page on our MoneySmart website also has information to assist you if you are experiencing problems with debt and cash flow.
What is voluntary administration and liquidation?
Voluntary administration is where the directors of a financially troubled company or a secured creditor with a charge over most of the company’s assets appoint an external administrator called a ‘voluntary administrator’.
The role of the voluntary administrator is to investigate the company’s business, property, affairs and financial circumstances, to report to creditors and to recommend to creditors whether the company should enter into a deed of company arrangement, go into liquidation or be returned to the directors.
Another responsibility of the voluntary administrator is to report to ASIC on possible offences by people involved with the company. If breaches are reported, ASIC will assess the reports to consider its own investigations and action, if any.
Liquidation is where:
- the creditors of a company vote for liquidation following a voluntary administration;
- an insolvent company’s shareholders resolve to liquidate the company and appoint a liquidator; or
- the court appoints a liquidator to wind up a company following an application, usually by a creditor.
It is possible for a company in liquidation to also be in receivership.
The purpose of liquidation of an insolvent company is to have an independent and suitably qualified person (the liquidator) take control of the company so that its affairs can be wound up in an orderly and fair way for the benefit of all creditors.
If a liquidator suspects that people involved with the company may have committed offences and the liquidator reports this to ASIC, the liquidator may also be able to apply to ASIC for funding to carry out further investigations into the allegations.