ASIC cancels AFS licence of Halifax Investment Services

ASIC has cancelled the Australian financial services (AFS) licence held by Halifax Investment Services Pty Limited (Halifax).

The cancellation took effect from 8 January 2021.

The terms of the AFS licence cancellation allow the Halifax AFS licence to continue on a limited basis until 7 January 2022, but only for the purposes of:

  • ensuring that clients of Halifax continue to have access to an external dispute resolution scheme;
  • ensuring that Halifax continues to have arrangements for compensating retail clients, including the holding of professional indemnity insurance cover; and
  • providing financial services to retail or wholesale clients of Halifax limited to the termination of existing arrangements with clients.

These conditions have been put in place so that the cancellation does not adversely affect past or current clients.

Background

Halifax was a financial services licensee headquartered in Sydney, with a partially owned subsidiary in Auckland, New Zealand.

On 8 January 2019 ASIC suspended the Halifax AFS licence until 10 January 2020 (See 19-005MR).

This followed the appointment of Morgan Kelly, Stewart McCallum and Phil Quinlan of Ferrier Hodgson as joint voluntary administrators of Halifax on 23 November 2018.

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

On 18 December 2019, ASIC extended the suspension of the Halifax AFS licence until 8 January 2021 (see 20-003MR).

The joint hearing of the Federal Court of Australia and High Court of New Zealand seeking orders in relation to the distribution of client moneys held by Halifax commenced on 30 November 2020 and concluded on 9 December 2020. Their Honours Justice Venning and Justice Markovic have reserved their decision on the matter.

Under the Corporations Act, ASIC has the power to suspend or cancel an AFS licence without holding a hearing in situations where the AFS licence is held by a body corporate that 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.

View ASIC’s dedicated Halifax page for further information.

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