Hamish Fletcher

Hamish Fletcher is a business reporter for the NZ Herald

David Ross companies placed into liquidation

The Ross Asset Management office in Wellington. Photo / Mark Mitchell
The Ross Asset Management office in Wellington. Photo / Mark Mitchell

Companies associated with failed fund manager David Ross were placed into liquidation today, as the process of investigating and unravelling the group's affairs continue.

Following an application in the High Court at Wellington, PwC partners John Fisk and David Bridgman were appointed liquidators of four companies in the Ross group, including Ross Asset Management.

The two men have acted as receivers and managers of the collapsed Ross entities for more than a month and had earlier recommended liquidation as the most appropriate way to deal with issues arising from the Ross receivership.

The pair have uncovered only about $11 million of the $449.6 million the Wellington fund manager purported to have under management and Fisk told the Herald last month he may have uncovered "characteristics of a Ponzi scheme'' when looking into the group's affairs.

Both the Financial Markets Authority, which raided Ross' office after complaints from investors, and the Serious Fraud Office are probing Ross and his companies.

In a statement today, Fisk said the appointment of himself and Bridgman as liquidators would give them greater powers to "investigate complex transactions and issues, and to distribute assets, which we did not have as receivers''.

"Given the significant shortfall in assets available to investors at present, we need to be mindful that whatever actions are taken in this process are cost effective and recognise the difficult financial position many investors now find themselves in. There have been a number of comments in the media about significant liquidation and legal costs that may be incurred in recovering money from investors who received repayments from their portfolios within the last two years. The issues in this insolvency are very complex and involve difficult areas of law and ones that we have not formed a final view on,'' Fisk said.

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