Articles

Our clients sometimes express frustration and disbelief when directors of insolvent companies form new companies, often trading as normal, especially when these new companies then also fail.  A frequent question is along the lines of "surely this can't be legal?". In this short article we seek to clarify the law in this complex area. It is important to understand that there is no general prohibition on directors starting out again, even with an essentially identical business.  Instead the law seeks simply to ensure that suppliers are not misled or confused as to which entity they are dealing with, and are aware of any insolvency, and also any related sale of assets to a new company.  It is then up to…
Record numbers of New Zealanders continue to leave permanently for Australia, almost 54,000 in 2012 alone. While most of those departing leave in search of higher incomes and warmer weather, some leave to escape their financial responsibilities, whether this is child support, a student loan or a liability under a personal guarantee. Correspondingly, often there are no assets left in New Zealand for the creditor to recover. So, is it really as simple as purchasing a plane ticket to Australia to walk away from debts? This common tactic has become such a concern for the Inland Revenue Department, who administers the student loan scheme, that new sanctions allowing the arrest of overseas based defaulters at the border were announced in…
According to the business.govt.nz website, about one in ten small businesses fail in their first year, and 70 percent capsize within the first five years. These are sobering statistics. Most directors that we meet blame the Global Financial Crisis ("GFC") as the number one reason their business failed. Although the GFC was probably one of the causes of the company's downfall it will not have been the main reason. The main reason a company fails is poor management. It is important for directors to be aware of the bumpy road ahead when starting up their company. Many people are very good at what they do technically, however, they lack the knowledge and know how of running a company.  In our…
McDonald Vague has moved offices. Our new address is: Level 10, 52 Swanson St Central Auckland The new offices are located next to the recently refurbished St Patrick's Square. There are a number of parking options available - either on street - pay and display, at Wilson Parking on Swanson Street or at the Farmers Carpark on Hobson Street. Please note our phone numbers and postal address have remained the same. We look forward to seeing you there! DISCLAIMER This article is intended to provide general information and should not be construed as advice of any kind. Parties who require clarification on issues raised in this article should take their own advice.
There have been a number of articles in the media lately that have called into question the integrity and honesty of some insolvency practitioners ("IPs"). In one widely reported example, an IP took $80,900 belonging to a liquidated company and deposited it into his own bank account, which he subsequently used for personal and business expenses. Then there are those IPs who have prior convictions for serious fraud or have been disqualified from professional bodies such as the NZ Institute of Chartered Accountants ("NZICA"). For some time now, many stakeholders have been calling for increased regulation of the insolvency profession to ensure that the interests of creditors are given the highest priority. Misconduct by a small number of IPs only…
This month we conclude our discussion of the rights of unsecured creditors in various insolvency proceedings, by looking at the position in a liquidation. IntroductionA liquidator is normally appointed either by the shareholders or the High Court. The shareholders choose their own liquidator. The High Court appoints a liquidator chosen by the applicant creditor. More unusually, a liquidator can also be appointed by creditors at the 'watershed meeting' in a voluntary administration - seePart 1of this article. A liquidator has a duty to take possession of, protect, realise, and distribute the proceeds of realisation of the company's assets to its creditors. He or she looks after the interests of all creditors. The plight of the unsecured creditorUnsecured creditors do not…
When a company fails one of four things usually happens:- A receiver is appointed An administrator is appointed It enters into a compromise with its creditors It is put into liquidation (this will be covered in Part 2) This article seeks to explain the rights that creditors have in each of the above insolvency proceedings. It is written from the perspective of the ordinary unsecured creditor. 1 - Receivership The purpose of receivership is to repay the debt owed to the General Security Agreement ("GSA") holder.  GSA holders tend to be banks but can also be private lenders (including directors and family members). The receiver's obligations are primarily to the GSA holder who appointed them. If a receiver holds surplus…
With the recent activity in high profile prosecutions of company directors by the Serious Fraud Office ("SFO"), we thought it opportune to revisit a case in which our firm was involved highlighting the point that it is not only the high profile directors that pay a heavy penalty when events do not go according to plan. We pinpoint some useful tips for your clients who may be considering taking on a governance role in a company for which they do not necessarily have all of the prerequisite skills or experience. The judgment for FXHT was released on 9 April 2009. This case concerns a foreign exchange investment broker. The elements of the case involved fraud, breaches of directors' duties and…
Usain Bolt flashed through the 100 metres at the London Olympics in 9.63 seconds - a new Olympic record. Imagine the uproar there would have been if, at the end of the race, the officials had asked, 'What is the current record?' only to be told, 'I don't know. It's not written down anywhere. From memory it's about ....' Accurate records need to be kept for many different reasons, and in relation to companies the requirements are set out in the Companies Act 1993 and also the Tax Administration Act 1994. Accounting records to be kept - Section 194 Companies Act 1993 The board of a company must cause accounting records to be kept that - Correctly record and explain…
Many of our clients don't deal with insolvency on a daily basis, and therefore have only a fairly generalised idea of what we do. This article seeks to provide a better understanding of how the liquidation process works. It also demonstrates how choosing the right insolvency practitioner can result in funds being recovered for creditors that would otherwise not be available.   The liquidation process  Most people have a basic intuitive feel for a liquidator's role. This is usually that he or she closes down a business, dismisses staff, sells assets and collects debts. This may well be true, but generally such activities form only part of a much more involved process. Liquidators have very wide powers to investigate a…
Business involves hard work and a bit of luck (or magic, given that only 29% of new businesses survive their tenth year). When things go wrong, a news release or a prosecution does not help creditors. Money in the hand does. Dear Peri Just a quick note to say you have restored some of my confidence in human nature. I received $438.75 from the liquidation of [name removed]. Funds we thought we would never see again. Thanks Steve Remedying the situation monetarily is, however, interesting in a liquidation. Commonly, particularly in a High Court liquidation, any tangible assets of material value have been disposed of prior to liquidation, and the directors may be facing the prospect of bankruptcy. The unsecured…
Introduction It is now almost ten years since the Personal Property Securities Act 1999 ("PPSA") was enacted. Despite this, in our insolvency work we still regularly come across suppliers who have not performed the necessary registrations, and as a result lose priority to other creditors. This is highly unfortunate, given that a PPSR registration is simple to do and costs only $3.07. A PPSR registration is a little like income protection insurance - not terribly exciting to think about now, but it can make all the difference if the unexpected happens. We encourage all our clients to check that they, and their own clients, are fully conversant with this vital area. In this short article we attempt to explain the…
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