ASIC extends suspension of AFS licence of Halifax Investment Services

Maria Nikolova

The suspension has been extended until January 8, 2021.

The Australian Securities & Investments Commission (ASIC) today announces an extension to the suspension of the Australian financial services (AFS) licence held by Halifax Investment Services Pty Ltd (Halifax) until 8 January 8, 2021.

The terms of the suspension allow the Halifax AFS licence to continue in effect for the following purposes only:

  • (a) to ensure that clients of Halifax continue to have access to an external dispute resolution scheme;
  • (b) to ensure that Halifax continues to be required to have arrangements for compensating retail clients, including the holding of professional indemnity insurance cover; and
  • (c) to allow for the termination of existing arrangements with clients of Halifax.

Let’s recall that Halifax was a Sydney-based financial services licensee with a partially-owned subsidiary in Auckland, New Zealand. About a year ago, ASIC suspended the Halifax AFS licence until January 10, 2020.

This followed the appointment of Morgan Kelly, Stewart McCallum and Phil Quinlan, of Ferrier Hodgson as joint voluntary administrators of Halifax in November 2018.

On March 20, 2019 at the second creditors meeting it was resolved to place Halifax into liquidation and the administrators were appointed as liquidators.

The Australian regulator explains that, under the Corporations Act, it has the power to suspend or cancel an AFS licence, without holding a hearing, where the AFS licence is held by a body corporate which is placed under external administration or that is being wound up.

The company has a right to seek a review of ASIC’s decision at the Administrative Appeals Tribunal.

More information on the Halifax matter can be found here.

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