11 July 2011
The Financial Markets Authority (FMA) has issued warnings about unsolicited offers that may be made by Share Buyers Limited (Share Buyers) or Australian-based Stock & Share Trading Company Pty Limited (Stock & Share).
Share Buyers and people associated with it have requested the share registers for 23 companies with the stated intention of using the registers to make offers to purchase shares from shareholders.
Stock & Share has made a number of unsolicited offers, including a recent offer to purchase debentures in St Laurence Limited for 3 cents for every dollar of debentures held. St Laurence Limited was placed in receivership in April 2010. Based on indications from the receivers, investors are forecast to receive a further payment of around 6 cents in the dollar, in addition to the 9 cents in the dollar already paid to investors.
Investors are warned to treat any offers from Share Buyers or Stock & Share with caution and to seek advice from an authorised financial adviser, Community Law Centre, or Citizen's Advice Bureau.
FMA has given notice to both Share Buyers and Stock & Share that it will consider requiring them, and people associated with them, to ensure that any unsolicited offer they make contains a copy of the warning in a prominent position.
The companies can make submissions, which FMA will consider before making its decisions. FMA recently made similar orders against Mr Bernard Whimp and his associated persons. FMA is not aware of any connection between Share Buyers, Stock & Share and Mr Whimp.
"FMA wants investors who receive these offers to be able to make a sound, informed decision about whether it is in their interests to sell their investments," said FMA CEO Sean Hughes.
"This warning is a signal for investors to take care when considering an unsolicited offer. Ask questions. Make sure you have read and understood the terms of the offer. We recommend you talk to an authorised financial adviser and find out what your investment is really worth before selling it.
"FMA considers that a fair, efficient and transparent financial market requires investors to make fully informed decisions with the best information available to them."
FMA regulates New Zealand's financial markets. Our main objective is to promote fair, efficient and transparent financial markets. To find out more about us and for help with investing, see www.fma.govt.nz.
Under section 49 of the Financial Markets Authority Act 2011, if FMA has issued a warning, it may make an order that requires any offer documents of the type specified in the order to contain a copy of the warning in a prominent position, or be accompanied by a copy of the FMA warning (a warning disclosure order).
Before making a warning disclosure order, FMA must first:
1. have issued a warning about any matter relating to a relevant person
2. give the relevant person at least three working days' written notice that FMA may make a warning disclosure order and the reasons why FMA is considering exercising that power
3. give the relevant person an opportunity to make written submissions and to be heard on the matter within that notice period
4. have regard to whether exercising the power contributes to its function of promoting the confident and informed participation of businesses, investors and consumers in the financial markets.
A 'relevant person' includes a person who is or has engaged in conduct that involves dealings in securities.
A person who does not comply with an order made by FMA under section 49 of the Financial Markets Authority Act 2011 commits an offence and is liable on summary conviction to a fine of up to $300,000.
Share Buyers, its related company Australian-based Share Buyers Pty Limited, and their associated persons have requested the share registers for the following companies: