Trustee class action suit swamped

A class action law suit to recover compensation for investors in New Zealand finance companies has received more than 2200 claims in the six weeks since it was launched, law firm Turner Hopkins has announced.

The class action backed by Australian heavweight law firm Slater and Gordon is targeting the professional services firms tasked with oversight of finance companies who have lost billions of dollars in St Laurence, Hanover Finance, Capital + Merchant and MFS Pacific.

Those firms targeted include trustees.

Turner Hopkins Partner Andrew Hooker said expressions of interest from around 940 individual claimants had been received.

"The volume and the nature of claims that we received has been significant. We have had an extremely positive response," Hooker said.

"Mum and dad investors and family trusts make up a considerable portion of the claims so far, but we have also seen interest from companies and institutional investors in a number of countries," Hooker said.

Hooker said more than 30 financial companies were named in the claims received so far. The amounts lost varied, but some investors had registered losses in the vicinity of $1 million.

"We are at a preliminary stage in the process, but currently it looks like the majority of investors lost most of their original investment - including investors from those firms that have already been through receivership or liquidation," Hooker said.

The majority of investors were from Australia and New Zealand, but claims had also been received from European, Asian and North American investors, he said.

"We continue to seek interest from investors who sustained losses following the collapses that took place within the New Zealand financial sector between 2006 and 2009."

Slater and Gordon is helping Turner Hopkins to progress potential claims against the trustees of the failed companies.

Australia's biggest class action law firm settled last month with Sandhurst Trustees, the corporate trustees responsible for monitoring collapsed Australian financial company Fincorp.

Turner Hopkins said expressions of interest were still open here.

- INTEREST.CO.NZ

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