NZ Herald business editor at large

Liam Dann: Receivership offers investors clarity

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Moratorium is an ugly word.

It sounds more like the name of a heavy metal band than somewhere you'd want your hard earned savings to end up.

Literally, it is not meant to have stench of doom about it. Its Latin root word is not the deathly "mort" but "morari", meaning delay.

Lately though, it has started to look like finance company moratoriums are just delaying the inevitable.

The commercial property sector, where many of the companies have their money invested, is not coming right in a hurry. Nor was it ever likely to.

At the time most of these companies froze funds the world was facing its most dire economic outlook for 80 years.

An "anything but that" attitude seems to have been driving the thinking of investors who allowed their funds to be frozen rather than falling in to the hands of dreaded receivers.

Those fears may have been over-played by some finance bosses and that has cost investors the chance of a bird in the hand.

It is difficult now to assess the financial benefits of choosing moratorium over receivership.

But many investors failed to put a meaningful value on the peace of mind and financial certainty that receivers could have brought.

With the receivers in control you can at least be sure that you have independent eyes looking at accounts and providing timely updates about likely returns.

Those updates might be grim but some clarity as you seek to rebuild your savings is surely a valuable commodity.

It is a commodity that has been in disturbingly short supply.

Neither receivership nor moratorium can offer a guarantee of financial resurrection. But the former may have offered the shortest path to some light at the end of the tunnel.

- NZ Herald

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NZ Herald business editor at large

Liam Dann is business editor at large at the New Zealand Herald. He has been a journalist for 20 years, covering business for the last 14 of them. He has also worked in the banking sector in London and travelled extensively. His passion is for Markets and Economics, because they are the engine of the New Zealand economy. He hosts The Economy Hub video show every Thursday.

Read more by Liam Dann

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