Clients of online broking firm Halifax NZ say their funds have been frozen after the Australian-based parent company went into administration.
Partners at insolvency specialist Ferrier Hodgson were appointed administrators of Halifax Investment Services in Sydney on November 23, according to the Australian Securities and Investments Commission.
The New Zealand subsidiary is managed by Andrew Gibbs, who declined to comment saying he was in a meeting before hanging up the phone when contacted by the Herald today.
An Auckland-based investor who gave his name as Luke said he and other clients have been told they cannot withdraw funds from their account with Halifax. He has $45,000 invested.
Halifax NZ offers margin foreign exchange, CFDs, shares and options trading. It is regulated by the Financial Markets Authority.
Luke said he was seeking answers after his account manager told him he was no longer employed.
"I was told I can't withdraw my money. Only the administrator has access to the funds, and I can't say if my investment is safe or not," he told the Herald.
He said he didn't know how many people are affected but he knows a couple of friends who have funds with Halifax.
A statement posted on the Ferrier Hodgson website said the administrators of Halifax Investment Services are assessing the best course of action and focusing on the best outcome for investors.
"The investors are our primary concern at the time," administrator Morgan Kelly said.
"We are conducting an urgent investigation into the business operations and will ensure all stakeholders, creditors, investors and employees, are updated of any developments."
A creditors' meeting will be held in Sydney on December 5, and in Auckland on December 7.
Halifax NZ gained a derivatives issuer license from the FMA in June 2015 allowing it to transact a variety of financial instruments including futures, options, forex and CFDs
The company also can transact shares on local and international share markets.
It has offices in Auckland and Wellington.
Most recent accounts filed to the Companies Office reveal Halifax NZ earned brokerage and subscription revenue of $2.4m in the year to March 31 for a profit of $16,726.
The company is required to maintain net tangible assets of at least $1m or 10% of revenue.
In June 2015 it obtained a $1.2m subordinated loan from its Australian parent top meet the requirement. The terms provide Halifax Investment Services with security over the assets of the company.
At the March 31, 2018 balance date the balance of the loan was $1.11m.