InvestmentsMay 1 2013

Receiver of troubled legal fund cites investor ‘frustration’

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ByDonia O’Loughlin

The receivers of the troubled Axiom Legal Financing Funds have acknoweledged “frustration” among investors they have not been able to identify and are therefore prevented from communicating with directly.

The three receivers at Grant Thornton said they are trying to contact investors in the feeder fund, the Axiom Legal Financing Fund, Segregated Portfolio, as many are not ‘registered’ shareholders identifiable in the share register. The receivers can only see who the custodians of the shares are in these cases.

In the normal course of events the receivers said they would communicate with the custodians and not directly with the underlying beneficial shareholders, but they stated they are trying to set up direct lines of communcation.

In February, Grant Thornton was appointed receiver of the £100m fund after its suspension in 2012, following the resignation of the director of the Cayman Islands-based investment manager and external auditors were appointed to review the fund’s assets.

Mike Saville and Hugh Dickson of Grant Thornton Specialist Services (Cayman) Ltd and James Earp of Grant Thornton UK, said in their update that the receivership of the funds has been “complicated”.

They said this is because they do not know who the underlying shareholders are and are asking the custodians, who are holding investors’ original investments, to communicate to those parties who initially provided the funds’ capital.

The fund’s investments comprised loans to UK law firms.

Two of the legal firms on the fund’s panel in the UK which had received loans from the Master Fund have entered administration since the fund’s suspension. The joint receivers said they are in frequent communication with the administrators of those firms.

They added they are considering the position of each panel firm on a case-by-case basis in an attempt to find the “optimal solution”.

Separately, Mr Saville of Grant Thornton and Ian Stokoe of PricewaterhouseCoopers have been appointed joint liquidators of Tangerine Investment Management Ltd, which acted as investment manager to the master and feeder funds before the appointment of the joint receivers.

Axiom removed Tangerine as investment manager in November 2012.