ASIC Cancels AFS License of Halifax Investment Services

ASIC has canceled the AFS license of Halifax Investment Services after it was placed into liquidation about two years ago.

January 12, 2020 | AtoZ MarketsThe Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) on Tuesday announced canceling the Australian financial services (AFS) license of Halifax Investment Services Pty Limited (Halifax).

ASIC canceled the AFS license of Halifax Investment Services

The move is not unexpected as was placed into liquidation about two years ago.

The cancellation of the AFS license took effect from January 8, 2021, but the Halifax licence to continue on a limited basis until January 7, 2022. This, however, is valid only for the following purposes:

  • 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.

According to ASIC, these conditions have been put in place so that the cancellation does not adversely affect past or current clients.

Halifax was placed into liquidation

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

On January 8, 2019, ASIC suspended the Halifax AFS license 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.

At the second creditors meeting held in March 2019, it was resolved to place Halifax into liquidation and the administrators were appointed as liquidators.

In December 2019, ASIC extended the suspension of the Halifax AFS license until January 8, 2021.

Under the Corporations Act, ASIC may suspend or cancel an AFS license if the licensee fails to meet its obligations under s912A. This includes the obligation to hold membership in a dispute resolution system.

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

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