ASIC investigation background
ASIC has been investigating a range of issues relating to the affairs of Storm Financial Limited (Receivers and Managers Appointed) (In Liquidation) ("Storm"), including investment home lending, margin lending and related advice. These investigations formally started on 12 December 2008 and are continuing. One of the key parts of ASIC's investigations is to consider recovery of compensation for Storm investors who suffered financial loss as a result of a Storm investment.
On 19 March 2010, ASIC announced it had completed a major phase of its investigations into the affairs of Storm and entered into confidential discussions with some of the entities which have been the subject of its investigations. The aim of those discussions was to see if a commercial resolution could be reached which was acceptable to ASIC and which ASIC would be prepared to recommend to those investors.
At a meeting on 5 October 2010 the Commission considered ASIC's Storm investigations, potential litigation options to recover compensation for Storm investors and the state of the commercial resolution discussions. The Commission decided, having regard to the state of the discussions, to provide a limited further period of time to continue the commercial discussions to see whether it was possible to reach an acceptable compensation outcome.
At its meeting on 24 November 2010 the Commission decided that ASIC would bring civil penalty proceedings against Emmanuel and Julie Cassimatis as directors of Storm.
The Commission also decided that it would commence compensation proceedings against parties including the Commonwealth Bank of Australia (“CBA”), Bank of Queensland Limited (“BoQ”) and Macquarie Bank Limited (“MBL”) seeking compensation for investors arising out of the collapse of Storm. The compensation proceedings were not filed immediately, in order to allow a short further period for the commercial resolution discussions to continue.
On 22 December 2010, ASIC announced it had commenced legal proceedings against the CBA, BoQ and MBL seeking compensation for investors arising out of these entities' involvement in an alleged unregistered managed investment scheme operated by Storm. ASIC also announced it had commenced compensation proceedings on behalf of two named investors against BoQ, Senrac Pty Limited and MBL. These second compensation proceedings are based on breach of contract, unconscionable conduct and liability as a linked credit provider of Storm under section 73 of the Trade Practices Act 1974.
ASIC also announced it had commenced civil penalty proceedings against Emmanuel and Julie Cassimatis as directors of Storm in relation to alleged contraventions of their duties as directors. It is alleged they caused and permitted Storm to be exposed to legal liability arising from the implementation of a financial services business model which involved providing commoditised financial advice to investors that failed to take into account the personal circumstances of individual investors.
ASIC's investigations into the collapse of Storm have concluded.