By Paul McBeth
Nov. 2 (BusinessDesk) - Investors in Aorangi Securities and Hubbard Managed Funds have laid complaints against statutory managers Grant Thornton over hold-ups they claim have put $60 million of assets at risk.
The Hubbard-managed entities' investor liaison group, undersigned by more than 230 investors, has lodged formal complaints to Commerce Minister Craig Foss and Auditor-General Lyn Provost over Grant Thornton's handling of the statutory management, claiming ongoing delays have had a "detrimental impact" on investors - 22 of whom have died since the freeze was imposed on Allan Hubbard, his wife Jean and several of their companies.
"It is the investors' belief that the statutory managers have failed to perform their duties satisfactorily," the group said. "In particular, the statutory managers have failed to adequately protect assets to the approximate value of $60 million - those assets having been pledged to Aorangi's capital by the Hubbards."
The complaint comes after a hearing into $60 million of so-called ‘introduced assets’ from the empire of the late businessman was adjourned until May next year after the statutory managers of Aorangi Securities argued they needed more time to assess a mountain of documents.
In a ruling earlier this month, Judge Lester Chisholm said he had “reluctantly decided to adjourn the fixture” noting that other parties including Jean Hubbard were “extremely unhappy” at the request.
The investors accused Grant Thornton of "ineptitude" in protecting their assets, and are reserving their "right to seek recourse and compensation arising from emotional and financial suffering inflicted as a consequence of the unwarranted actions of the public authorities."
The group says the statutory managers have "failed to perform their duty satisfactorily" and have "materially disadvantaged" investors by using investor funds to pay for litigation.
Former Commerce Minister Simon Power appointed Grant Thornton New Zealand’s Trevor Thornton, Richard Simpson and Graeme McGlinn as statutory managers of the Hubbards and various entities in mid-2010. The appointment controversially left out South Canterbury Finance, which ultimately cost the taxpayer an upfront bill of $1.7 billion when it failed and called on the government deposit guarantee.
Across the entire statutory management, the managers have reaped fees and disbursements of some $5.8 million, and racked up legal fees of $3.4 million.