Weekend Argus (Saturday Edition) - - PERSONAL FINANCE -

The sorry story of linked­in­vest­ment ser­vice provider Ova­tion, which col­lapsed fol­low­ing the theft of R270 mil­lion by An­gus Cruik­shank, the com­pany owner, is slowly reach­ing a con­clu­sion.

By the end of the year, the cu­ra­tors, John Levin and Barend Petersen, who were ap­pointed in 2007, hope to have ef­fec­tively closed down the Ova­tion busi­ness.

Over the past three years, the cu­ra­tors have had to fight off nu­mer­ous court chal­lenges, par­tic­u­larly from the trustees of the Ova­tion re­tire­ment funds, which have in­creased costs and re­duced ben­e­fits for in­vestors. The cu­ra­tors also had to keep Ova­tion go­ing, man­age the in­vest­ments, and pay in­come to pen­sion­ers and com­mis­sions to ad­vis­ers.

The main losers have been in­vestors who had their money chan­nelled into the Com­mon Cents money mar­ket fund.

Early on, the cu­ra­tors de­cided that the losses must fall where they lay. In other words, the losses were re­stricted to the in­vestors who had in­vested in Com­mon Cents and were not spread among all Ova­tion clients. The only ex­cep­tion was where Metropoli­tan Life and mCubed had to make good to pen­sion­ers. How­ever, all Ova­tion clients have had to bear the costs of the cu­ra­tor­ship.

Levin says that most in­vestors have now ei­ther been paid out or had their in­vest­ments trans­ferred to other fi­nan­cial ser­vices com­pa­nies.

Once the Metropoli­tan as­sets have been trans­ferred to San­lam’s Glacier plat­form by the end of Au­gust, the main out­stand­ing is­sues, ac­cord­ing to Levin, will be:

The five per­cent of as­sets held back to en­sure that all claims can be met. The residue of this amount, which still has to be fi­nalised and will in­clude costs, should be dis­trib­uted to in­vestors by the end of the year.

Trac­ing about 600 in­vestors to whom about R42 mil­lion is due. Levin says that much ef­fort is be­ing put into trac­ing these in­vestors so that the money does not have to be handed over to the Guardian’s Fund, which will cre­ate its own com­pli­ca­tions.

Out­stand­ing le­gal claims, in­clud­ing about R30 mil­lion against var­i­ous com­pa­nies as­so­ci­ated with Cruik­shank and a claim of R200 mil­lion against Absa, for which sum­mons was is­sued re­cently. A de­ci­sion still has to be made how these claims, which could take up to three years to fi­nalise, will be han­dled. One op­tion is to liq­ui­date Ova­tion and al­low the liq­uida­tor, in con­sul­ta­tion with the cred­i­tors, to de­cide what to do.

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