Australia's Federal Court has ordered Brite Advisors Pty Ltd (Brite) to "be wound up on just and equitable grounds" following an application by Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC).
In a statement today (7 February), ASIC said that at a hearing on 6 February 2024, the Court appointed Linda Smith and Robert Kirman of McGrath Nicol as liquidators to the Australian arm of the global adviser firm and as receivers and managers over the property, assets and undertakings held by Brite on trust for others.
The appointment of Smith and Kirman as liquidators follows their previous court appointments to Brite as investigative accountants on 9 November 2023 and as receivers and managers on 13 December 2023.
At the 6 February hearing, the Court was directed to key findings outlined in a report Smith and Kirman lodged with the Court on 24 January 2024.
Those key findings included that Brite was likely insolvent from at least 27 October 2023. ASIC commenced proceedings against Brite to secure interim asset preservation orders in October 2023.
The January report followed a report Smith and Kirman filed with the Court on 8 December 2023.
The December 2023 report identified a $69m variance between the amount Brite told its clients and their beneficiaries that it held on their behalf, and the amount identified by the investigative accountants as being held by Brite in its financial institutions’ accounts.
Brite had reported holding $682m while the investigative accountants were only able to identify $612.9m.
The Court has continued the asset preservation orders obtained by ASIC in October 2023. The orders were amended so that they do not prevent the liquidators and receivers and managers from carrying out their court appointed functions.
ASIC further said its investigation is ongoing and that the investigation team can be contacted by email at Brite.Investigation@asic.gov.au.
Anyone wishing to contact the liquidators and receivers can do so by email at email@example.com.