Pyne Gould Corp, the asset management firm controlled by managing director George Kerr, has been fined and censured over the delayed release of its annual report, which was tagged by auditor PwC over the firm's inability to obtain sufficient information about Pyne Gould's investment in Torchlight Group and Torchlight Fund.
The Guernsey-based firm settled with the New Zealand Markets Disciplinary Tribunal over the listing rules breach, resulting in a public censure, a $50,000 penalty plus the tribunal's costs and $1,920 towards costs incurred by stock market operator NZX. The disciplinary tribunal said Pyne Gould's public announcements relating to the delay were considered to be mitigating factors, while failing to meet its guidance and an earlier referral to the tribunal over corporate governance rules were aggravating factors.
"The period reporting requirements are fundamental to the integrity of the market," the tribunal said in a statement. "The Tribunal has previously highlighted that it will continue to increase the penalties it imposes for breaches of the periodic reporting requirements, as advised to the market in its 2013 annual report."
Pyne Gould held back from releasing its annual report last year after a delay in the audit of subsidiary Torchlight Group's 28 per cent stake of the Torchlight Fund, which itself was delayed by the audit of Australian real estate investor RCL, which the fund fully owns.
The delayed release of the annual report led to a suspension in trading of Pyne Gould shares between October 9 and November 3, when the document was lodged with the stock market. Auditor PwC tagged the accounts, saying it wasn't able to obtain enough information about Pyne Gould's investment in Torchlight Group and Torchlight Fund. Pyne Gould placed a carrying value of $52.3 million on Torchlight Fund, and $43.4 million on Torchlight Group as at June 30.
Last month, Pyne Gould said the audit of the Torchlight was expected to be completed before the firm released its first-half results.
In November, Pyne Gould was fined $8,000 plus costs, and censured for failing to inform the exchange or seek a waiver in a timely manner when its New Zealand resident director Michael Carolan unexpectedly resigned, leaving them in breach of the market's corporate governance rules.
Shares of Pyne Gould last traded at 39 cents, and have dropped 15 per cent in the past 12 months.