AFCA to talk to Receivers of Berndale Capital Securities about handling of complaints

Maria Nikolova

At this stage, the dispute resolution body is unable to advise about the status of client’s funds and return of funds to clients.

The recently launched Australian Financial Complaints Authority (AFCA) has updated the information for consumers about Berndale Capital Securities Pty Ltd, following an announcement by the Australian Securities & Investments Commission (ASIC) that it has succeeded in its application to appoint receivers to the brokerage.

On April 18, 2019, the Federal Court appointed Rachel Burdett-Baker and Bruno Secatore of Cor Cordis as Receivers and Managers of Berndale.

The Receivers and Managers are set to:

  • identify, secure, collect and take control of Berndale’s assets;
  • prepare and submit a report to the Federal Court by May 31, 2018 detailing the assets and liabilities of Berndale and identifying Berndale’s clients and money owed to them.

AFCA says it will be talking to the Receivers and Managers about how their appointment might affect its handling of the complaints.

Berndale is a current member of AFCA. While ASIC requires Berndale to maintain its AFCA membership until at least May 23, 2019, Berndale will continue to remain a member of AFCA until AFCA’s Board determines otherwise.

As previously guided, consumers can continue to lodge complaints about Berndale’s conduct and services with AFCA. The body says it will continue to consider and handle complaints against the financial firm as timely and efficiently as possible.

At this stage, however, given the current ASIC investigations and the appointment of the Receivers and Managers, AFCA is unable to advise about the status of client’s funds and return of funds to clients or other compensation that may be payable. Possible outcomes may also include Berndale being placed into liquidation.

ASIC suspects that Berndale and its ex-director Stavro D’Amore may have breached client money obligations, and contravened other laws. Berndale was a retail OTC derivative issuer and its Australian Financial Services licence was cancelled on November 22, 2018. At the same time, Mr D’Amore was banned from providing financial services for a period of six years.

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