Note: Where available, the PDF/Word icon below is provided to view the complete and fully formatted document
Disclaimer: The Parliamentary Library does not warrant or accept liability for the accuracy or usefulness of the transcripts. These are copied directly from the broadcaster's website.
Court ruling to decide entitlements for Opes -

View in ParlViewView other Segments

LISA MILLAR: A court ruling scheduled for Monday could determine the entitlements of the 1,200
investors caught up in the collapse of the stockbroking firm, Opes Prime.

The Federal Court is expected to decide if individual Opes Prime clients are able to recover their
stock held in the firm alongside the first-in-line creditor, the ANZ Bank,which has been recovering
the $650-million it's owed.

A decision that investors retain title to their stock could significantly enhance any payout from
what's left of Opes Prime, and force the ANZ to pay compensation.

Professor Ian Ramsay from Melbourne University's centre for corporate law has been going through
the implications of the case with business editor, Peter Ryan.

IAN RAMSAY: Well I think this is going to be a very important judgment, because really at the heart
of this litigation is the issue of the clients of Opes Prime signing over the legal title of their
shares to Opes Prime and then those shares being used in various ways, including by ANZ and others,
so it's really a critical issue as to whether or not those clients were misled in the
documentation.

And if they were, then there's the prospect of them getting more returns or more funds, if you
like, back from the Opes Prime collapse.

PETER RYAN: So could this resolve, once and for all, who has first call on stock held by Opes
Prime, the clients or the ANZ Bank?

IAN RAMSAY: Well certainly it will be critical, in terms of deciding who has title to many of the
shares subject to the litigation, resulting from the Opes Prime collapse. So therefore it's
critical for the Opes Prime clients.

But the case is also important because it has the potential to extend beyond Opes Prime. After all,
Opes Prime used a standard stock lending agreement, put out by the Securities Lending Association.
So the judgment does have implications for others in the industry who use that particular
agreement.

PETER RYAN: So, it could set a precedent not just for class actions that are pending, but for the
entire stock lending business?

IAN RAMSAY: I think it certainly does have that potential to, if you like, set a precedent going
well beyond Opes Prime to others in the industry in the stockbroking and the stock lending
industry, who use this particular agreement.

PETER RYAN: The ANZ Bank has suffered a fair bit of reputational damage as a result of its
involvement with Opes Prime, but what implications are there for the ANZ?

IAN RAMSAY: Well certainly I think ANZ at the moment is in court on a number of fronts, if you
like, but particularly in relation to this litigation. Of course ANZ has been selling the shares
that it has obtained from Opes Prime in order to protect its position. After all, it lent hundreds
of millions of dollars to Opes Prime, Opes Prime then on lent to the 1,200 clients.

So there is a real issue for ANZ here, if you like, as to whether or not ANZ will be able to sell
the remainder of the shares that it currently possesses, if you like, that are subject to this
particular agreement.

So the case then is quite important from a number of perspectives, not just the Opes Prime clients,
but also ANZ in terms of ANZ's position trying to sell these shares, some of which are currently
subject to an injunction, but also the broader industry.

LISA MILLAR: Professor Ian Ramsay from Melbourne University.