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Latitude IPOs despite spotted past

Latitude Financial has listed on the ASX on its third attempt with a market valuation of $2.7 billion, despite its past controversies.

The company successfully listed yesterday, with one billion shares offered at $2.60 at the time of float before the share price rose to $2.77.

Pershing Securities and Hamilton Lane investors were among the 20 largest holders of the Latitude share register prior to the initial public offering.

Latitude Financial has had a series of run-ins with ASIC over recent years.

In 2017, Latitude Insurance (the trading name for Hallmark General Insurance, part of the Latitude Group) had to refund $1.1 million for poor consumer credit insurance sales and claims handling.

Add-on insurance on credit cards and loans has remained an issue for the company.

In 2020 Harvey Norman and Latitude Finance had the inauspicious honour of winning Choice's Shonky Award for credit cards offered through Harvey Norman.

Consumer advocate group Choice called Latitude "a company that seems to specialise in driving people into the debt", due to Latitude's credit cards having interest rates as high as 24.99%.

In 2019, Latitude was one of the companies named by ASIC in a review that found unacceptable sales practices in consumer credit insurance sold by Australian lenders.

Latitude was also one of the companies named in ASIC's work to remediate consumers for junk consumer credit insurance.

The regulator found widespread failings in consumer credit insurance and secured $160 million in remediation for consumers.

Latitude Group was owned by Kohlberg Kravis Roberts, Varde Partners and Deutsche Bank. The group continues to be majority shareholders with voting power following the IPO.

Read more: Latitude FinancialASICASXHarvey NormanLatitude GroupDeutsche BankHallmark General InsuranceHamilton LaneKohlberg Kravis RobertsLatitude FinanceLatitude InsurancePershing SecuritiesShonkyVarde Partners