Update from ASIC regarding Sterling Group investigation

Further to the appointment of Martin Jones and Wayne Rushton, of Ferrier Hodgson, as Voluntary Administrators of the Sterling Group of companies by the Board of Directors of the Holding company of the Sterling Group, ASIC wishes to provide the following update to investors:

  • ASIC has an ongoing investigation into matters including the promotion of investments in the Sterling Income Trust and other investments offered by the Sterling Group, including to Sterling New Life Lease tenants/ investors;
  • ASIC is aware that there are approximately 100 Sterling New Life Lease tenants/ investors, who are in a vulnerable position in respect of their tenancies;
  • After an approach by ASIC, despite having no legal obligation to do so, the secured creditor of the Sterling Group, Macquarie Bank, has made available Macquarie’s Client Care Team to speak to the Sterling New Life Lease tenants/ investors about their particular individual circumstances, to try to offer assistance where it can.  Those tenants/ investors are able to access that assistance via the Voluntary Administrators, Ferrier Hodgson, on sterling@fh.com.au or 08 9214 1473. Macquarie Bank had no involvement in promoting Sterling New Life Leases, but is making its Client Care Team staff available to try to offer assistance where it can to tenants in a vulnerable position. Landlords in a vulnerable situation are advised to consider contacting their own bank/ finance-provider, which will have a similar Client Care/Vulnerable Client team to Macquarie, and be in a better position to discuss with the landlord his or her individual circumstances;
  • ASIC will continue to approach investors to seek information in the course of its investigation. To date, ASIC has spoken to 44 Sterling New Life Tenants/Investors.
  • As the investigation is ongoing, ASIC will not be making any further comment in relation to its investigation at this time;
  • Sterling Group investors seeking up to date information regarding their rights should contact the Voluntary Administrators, Ferrier Hodgson on sterling@fh.com.au or 08 9214 1473;
  • Investors in the registered managed investment scheme, the Sterling Income Trust (SIT), are referred to a letter they should have received dated 9 May 2019 from the Responsible Entity for that scheme, Theta Asset Management, informing them of their rights and of the procedure to make complaints to Theta.

Background

  • As a result of ASIC surveillance activity, on 30 April 2018, the SIT Product Disclosure Statement offering investments in the SIT was withdrawn from the market by the Responsible Entity Theta Asset Management (Theta); 
  • Subsequent to discussions with ASIC, Theta decided on 27 August 2018 to wind up the SIT in an orderly manner;
  • Upon becoming aware in December 2018 that some further funds were being received by the Sterling Group from Sterling New Life Lease tenants/ investors for investments in Redeemable Preference Shares, ASIC took immediate steps to require this to stop;
  • Subsequent to enquiries by ASIC in April 2019, the Board of Directors of the Holding company of the Sterling Group appointed Martin Jones and Wayne Rushton of Ferrier Hodgson as Voluntary Administrators on 3 May 2019.
Last updated: 24/06/2019 03:20