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Show of support

Four well-known Kyabram men got the support they were seeking for their proposed Banksia Debenture Holders Committee at a meeting on Monday.

January 16, 2013 4:44am

More than 350 people attended a meeting on Monday evening to hear about a proposal to set up a Banksia Securities Debenture Holder Committee.


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A show of hands provided the indication of support sought by four Kyabram identities who want to form a Debenture Holder Committee of Banksia and Cherry Fund investors.

Almost 350 people attended a meeting at Kyabram Plaza Theatre on Monday evening to hear about the proposal put forward by Peter Hann, Doug Crow, Peter Nelson and Don McKenzie.

Mr Hann said the group had contacted receiver McGrathNicol and hoped to form an investors’ committee which would have the opportunity to liaise with the receiver and put across the investors’ point of view.

Mr Crow said the idea came from an opportunity provided by the receiver’s representative at the December 14 information session held in Shepparton.

He said the group had a particular concern about the nominated rate of return of 50 to 65 cents in the dollar from sales of the Banksia loan portfolio and wanted to ensure any sell-off of loans did not become a firesale.

He then quoted figures to explain why the group felt a higher return should be expected from the performing loans segment of the Banksia loan portfolio.

‘‘Our group has great difficulty understanding why this segment of the loan portfolio will not command a premium inquiry,’’ he said.

‘‘Although we would like to think this performing section could be sold at close to book value, even at 70 per cent of its value it would give us an overall return of 60 per cent to investors without one single cent being raised from the remaining $150million of so-called non-performing loans or in-house loans.

‘‘The situation the debenture holders are faced with is an absolute debacle.

‘‘It is totally unrealistic and unfair that people who have worked and saved to give themselves security are now so dramatically affected by what many would perceive at best as a level of ineptitude, incompetence and unprofessionalism by those in control of these funds that is beyond comprehension.’’

When a show of hands was called for by a member of the audience, the positive response and subsequent round of applause showed great support for the four men who have put their hands up to represent investors.

Mr McKenzie said the level of support was confirmed after the meeting, with 317 people signing up in support.

‘‘There were people at the meeting from places including Shepparton, Nagambie, Echuca, Nathalia and Numurkah as well as those from nearer towns,’’ he said.

Two representatives from McGrathNicol, Matthew Caddy and Ashley Johnson, attended the meeting and Mr Caddy fielded a number of questions from the audience.

Mr Caddy said the committee would be selected as a representative group and would help provide a two-way communication path.

‘‘The committee would be there to represent you and assist but it cannot make decisions for you and also the receiver does not report to the committee,’’ Mr Caddy said.

He noted there would be different priorities among investors and a balance would need to be sought, with some wanting a quicker return of funds and others prepared to wait for a potentially greater return.

This point was highlighted when a member of the audience suggested the plight of small elderly investors should be looked into first, a suggestion which provoked a mixed response around the room.

Mr Caddy noted this and said while he wholeheartedly understood the concerns, the receiver could not work to please one group or demographic.

The audience also heard from Shepparton-based solicitor Rob Crow who outlined the process and current status of the class action writ lodged on behalf of all Banksia and Cherry Fund investors against the companies and its directors, trustees auditors.

He said more information about the class action was expected to be available within the next few weeks and all investors would receive details in writing.

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