More assets frozen for Wickham victims

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ASIC has added five defendants to the proceedings brought against Wickham Securities, freezing the assets of all five in an attempt to compensate victims.

There are now 15 defendants involved in the proceedings. The new defendants are Brothers Financial Services Pty Ltd, NRL Financial Services Pty Ltd, Sunshine Regional Investments Pty Ltd, Garth Peter Robertson and Catherine Louise Robertson.

Wickham Securities was a debenture company based in Brisbane. PPB Advisory was appointed voluntary administrator to the company on 21 December, 2012, and it is now in liquidation.

Following the collapse of the $30 million property lender, ASIC ordered freezing of the defendants’ assets for the benefit of investors, who are mostly SMSFs. It has also cancelled the registration of the company’s auditor, who has agreed to never reapply for registration as an auditor.

Concerns were first raised in November, when Wickham reported to ASIC that it had a shortage of equity capital. It had been trying to raise money via a debenture prospectus. Investors were offered between 9-10% per annum by Wickham, which was charging more than 20% a year for short-term financing. Around $27 million was subscribed to Wickham by more than 300 retirees.

ASIC commenced the proceedings in January this year, and orders were put in place to preserve the assets of Sherwin Financial Planners Pty Ltd, DIY Superannuation Services Pty Ltd, Reacroft Pty Ltd, Blue Diamond Investments Pty Ltd, SP Property Pty Ltd, Astor Funds Pty Ltd and Wickham Capital Pty Ltd.

Those companies are now in liquidation and the companies’ assets are in the control of the appointed liquidators Stefan Dopking, Quentin Olde and Michael Ryan of FTI Consulting.

PPB and FTI are cooperating with ASIC's investigation.

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