The West Australian : 2019-06-12

NEWS : 12 : 12


NEWS 12 AFTER Wednesday, June 12, 2019 CASH RAISED PROBE EXCLUSIVE to continue raising money from new investors after it became aware in mid-2018 that ASIC was investigat­ing the group. It did this through a newly set up network of companies under the Silver Link banner, which were set up in late 2017. Administra­tors from Ferrier Hodgson told creditors that ASIC investigat­ions were focusing on the financial security and continued tenancy of Sterling New Life tenants. Ferrier Hodgson said it understood ASIC had a peripheral focus on money being raised by Silver Link companies “potentiall­y to circumvent the requiremen­t to issue a prospectus”. “We have been made aware of serious allegation­s made against a number of companies within the group and their directors and representa­tives by solicitors acting for tenants of properties associated with (Sterling New Life),” the administra­tor’s report said. Meadow Springs retiree Susanne Lee was an early investor in Silver Link in March last year, putting $165,000 into the structure when signing on for a lifetime lease. Mrs Lee’s daughter Catherine Dall said she was angry her mother, who has a disability, invested without being told about ASIC inquiries. ASIC did not respond to questions from The West Australian. NEALE PRIOR Concerns about lease group emerged in 2017 — but they failed to stop another $8 million rolling in Failed lifetime lease group Sterling First raised at least $8 million from cash-strapped older West Australian­s after coming under close scrutiny by the Federal corporate watchdog in mid-2017. Reports to creditors and documents obtained by The West Australian show the Australian Securities and Investment­s Commission allowed promoters to keep selling senior Sterling New Life lease deals until at least October last year. More than 100 pensioners and people approachin­g retirement face losing their life savings and their leased homes after the collapse last month of Sterling First with up to $24 million of investors’ money. ASIC came under fire from angry leaseholde­rs at a creditors meeting on Monday when administra­tor Martin Jones gave people little hope they would get anything but a fraction of their investment­s back. Sterling New Life promoted an innovative way for retirees to secure a lifetime lease over a property and have their rent paid by investing in a Sterling First trust company offering investment returns of at least 9 per cent. Veteran property investment promoter Ray Jones and his son to have first raised concerns about the structure with ASIC in April that year. ASIC moved to stop it raising more money from investors via the Sterling Income Trust in August 2017, but lifted the ban on the trust raising more money within three months. Sterling First was able plans with Ray Jones to float Sterling First on the stock exchange. But the Sterling New Life scheme hit turbulence in 2017 after WA consumer protection authoritie­s began examining its lifetime leasing arrangemen­ts. WA authoritie­s are understood Ryan were key players in developing Sterling First and the Sterling New Life scheme. They were also helped in their fundraisin­g activities by veteran investment promoter Simon Bell. Mr Bell was an executive at Norm Carey’s Westpoint group last decade and was leading Stocktake Sale On Now Designer furniture for indoors and out. See in store for details. Open Monday - Saturday 21 King Edward Road Osborne Park 08 9415 2522

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