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Slater and Gordon has announced it will work with the Auckland based boutique law firm, Turner Hopkins, to investigate possible compensation claims following the high-profile collapse of a number of New Zealand finance companies.

Mr Ben Hardwick, Slater and Gordon Commercial and Project Litigation, Practice Group Leader, says the relationship with Turner Hopkins was an important step for both firms.

“For the past year Slater and Gordon and Turner Hopkins have been investigating the collapse of a number of New Zealand finance companies between 2006 and 2009,” Mr Hardwick said.

“More than 20,000 mum and dad investors put their money with finance companies such as Bridgecorp Limited, Hanover Finance Limited, Strategic Finance Limited and St Laurence Limited.

“Over the course of a few years, as happened in Australia and around the world, these small investors lost billions of dollars when these companies collapsed.

“Many of the these companies were placed into liquidation or receivership and investors have endured a long and frustrating wait as they try and recover some of their investments.

“Working with Turner Hopkins we will be able to provide the ideal mix of specialisation and experience to move forward with claims against the trustees of these failed companies and to recover some of the losses sustained by investors,” Mr Hardwick said.

The claims are expected to allege a breach of trust on the part of the corporate trustees appointed to monitor and supervise the activities of the failed finance companies and protect investors.

If successful, investors may well be entitled to recover economic losses incurred by them as a result of these failings.

The announcement of the relationship between Turner Hopkins comes after Slater and Gordon reached a settlement agreement with the trustees of the failed finance company, Fincorp.

While Australian and New Zealand law differ, the Fincorp case involves very similar circumstances to the situation in New Zealand.

Mr Hardwick said this raised the real prospect that New Zealand victims may be able to receive compensation from Trustee companies following the collapses of local finance companies over the past few years.

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