Grant Thornton defends Aorangi actions

Aorangi Securities' statutory managers Grant Thornton is defending its actions to a group of investors who have complained about delays.

Investors in Aorangi Securities and Hubbard Managed Funds, calling themselves Investor Liason Group and representing 230 investors, last week laid complaints against Grant Thornton, saying holdups have put $60 million of assets at risk.

The complaint followed the adjournment of a hearing into $60 million of "introduced assets" until May next year after the statutory managers argued they need more time to assess the documents.

Today, the statutory managers have hit back at the complaint, saying the "unofficial investor liason group has failed to understand the situation".

"The main misunderstanding is over the status of the $60 million of Aorangi assets which Mrs Hubbard is now seeking to claim as her own," Grant Thornton says.

"If Mrs Hubbard is successful in court next year, it will deprive Aorangi investors of most of the value of their investments.

"Alan Hubbard first transferred these assets to Aorangi Securities over a 12-month period in 2009 and 2010 but he failed to complete the change of ownership from his and Mrs Hubbard's names.

"It's like selling your car but not completing the change of ownership papers properly," Grant Thornton says.

As a result, the statutory managers believe Aorangi Securities has beneficial ownership of the $60 million, even though the assets are in the names of the Hubbards.

Mr Hubbard subsequently tried to transfer those same assets to several trusts, even though they technically were not his to transfer because they were owned by Aorangi Securities, Grant Thornton says.

It says it reversed those transfers because the transaction was not legally valid.

"The reversal in itself does not resolve beyond doubt the ownership of the assets worth $60 million," Grant Thornton says.

It says a court ruling around the ownership of the assets is essential to protect investors against future claims of ownership by others.

"The fundamental issue is that the assets owned by Aorangi Securities are still in the names of Mr and Mrs Hubbard, as they were when Mr Hubbard made both sets of transfers.

"Mr Hubbard publicly stated that the assets belonged to Aorangi and he had told several investors that they would receive what they were owed before Mr and Mrs Hubbard and their family did," Grant Thornton says. 

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