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FMA looking into CBL disclosure; MD Harris withdraws from global entrepreneur contest

Friday 2nd March 2018

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The Financial Markets Authority is poring over the coals of CBL Corp, saying it's concerned the rules promoting transparency on the public markets were breached. Separately, CBL head Peter Harris has withdrawn from the EY Entrepreneur of the Year World competition. 

Auckland-based CBL appointed voluntary administrators this week after the Reserve Bank sought an interim liquidation of its New Zealand supervised arm and the Central Bank of Ireland pursued a similar avenue of the insurer's European division. The company's stock was suspended from trading on the NZX last month over as the stock market operator tries to work out whether it’s kept the market informed of material information and met continuous disclosure obligations, which attracted FMA engagement. 

"The FMA and NZX will be working very closely with the Reserve Bank to assess the information available to us," NZX and the FMA said in a joint statement. "The FMA has also requested further information as appropriate from overseas regulators."

CBL joined the S&P/NZX 50 index in June last year, having listed in an initial public offering in late 2015. The shares were sold in the IPO at $1.55 apiece, and rose as high as $4.02 in October 2016. They traded at $3.17 before the suspension. 

The insurer's success was recognised last year when managing director Peter Harris was awarded the EY New Zealand entrepreneur of the year, which cited his achievements as overseeing the first listing under the FMA's new listing rules and going on to the benchmark equity index. He was to represent New Zealand at EY's global event in Monaco, however he today withdrew from that contest, and the local unit of the accounting firm said New Zealand won't send a competitor this year. 

"EY became aware of the Reserve Bank investigation into CBL Corp only after Peter Harris was awarded New Zealand entrepreneur of the year (EOY)," it said in a statement. "We remain supportive of the independent NZ EOY judging panel which made its decision in October 2017, based on the financial and other information supplied by the nominee." 

(BusinessDesk)

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