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Rules catch another manager

Wednesday 14th June 2006

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Colonial will, however, be able to use the amendment to the Securities Act which was piloted through Parliament in 2003 to minimise the damage.

Like the funds caught up in 2002-03, Colonial comes under the Australian Registered Managed Investment Schemes (ARMIS) rules.

These allow Australian funds to skip having to issue a prospectus, so long as the necessary paperwork is lodged with the Companies Office by the stipulated dates. If this is not done the company is in breach of the Securities Act.

Colonial this morning issued a public notice stating that three of its funds - Colonial First State Managed Investment Funds, Colonial First State First Choice Wholesale Investments ( previously known as Colonial First State Wholesale Investment Funds) and Colonial First State Bricks and Mortar Fund have not complied with the exemption.

About 1000 investors are affected, says Colonial spokesperson Evnike Ens. She did not know how much money is involved.

Prior to 2003 the penalty was harsh - the money had to be refunded, and a 10% penalty paid. The industry successfully lobbied for a change to this, and the requirement now is that the company apply to the High Court for relief against that penalty.

The basis for that relief is that investors have not been harmed, and that is what Colonial is saying.

"None of our investors are out of pocket because of this," says Ens.

Investors can object to the application for relief, and they have 14 days from today to do so.

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