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ASIC cancels stockbroker AFSL

The corporate regulator has cancelled the Australian financial services licence of Halifax Investment Services nearly two years after it was placed into administration.

The cancellation took effect from 8 January 2021 and allows the licence to operate on a limited basis until 7 January 2022 to ensure its clients continue to access an external dispute resolution scheme.

In addition, the limited conditions will ensure Halifax continues to have arrangements for compensating retail clients, including the holding of professional indemnity insurance cover and terminating existing arrangements with clients.

Last year ASIC suspended Halifax's AFS licence until 10 January 2020 following the appointment of Ferrier Hodgson as voluntary administrators on 23 November 2018.

On 20 March 2019 at the second creditors meeting Ferrier Hodgson placed Halifax into liquidation and the administrators were appointed as liquidators.

According to KPMG, a joint hearing of the Federal Court of Australia and the High Court of New Zealand in respect to the distribution of client funds wrapped up on December 9, with the judgement yet to be handed down.

KPMG said it will take at least six months for distributions to be made due to the time it will take to review claims and distribute all available assets.

Halifax was initially found to have $19.7 million worth of deficiencies in client funds across the group, which is about 9% of its investor funds but by August of last year this was found to be $33 million or 13%.

The firm had more than 12,000 client accounts registered across Australia and New Zealand and it is alleged the deficiencies in client funds were used to pay for operational losses.

Read more: Halifax Investment ServicesFerrier HodgsonKPMGASICFederal Court of AustraliaHigh Court of New Zealand
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