BRI Ferrier, the liquidators of Union Standard International Group, known as USG or USGFX, today said creditor claims have hit $357 million, and this amount may increase further.
The special administrators of USGFX’s ASIC-regulated brand also disclosed that the company was in terrible financial difficulty and that it had a heavy shortfall in client money of more than $348 million.
“There is currently around $8M in available funds, which pursuant to the recent Court orders, are all impressed with a trust in favour of the trust creditors. However, the lodged creditor claims continue to increase, where we have received approximately $357M to date, of which approximately $349M are from trust creditors,” BRI Ferrier said in a statement.
Liquidators to the rogue brokerage house voiced concerns that there is obviously “a substantial shortfall” for creditors and “real questions to be answered” as to where client funds have gone. Whilst a formal adjudication of the claims has not been conducted, a “substantial volume” of claims were already submitted by investors with the Australian Financial Complaints Authority (AFCA), they added.
The AFCA has permanently expelled USGFX from its membership after it was given numerous opportunities to rectify its shortfalls. Further, the move to pause complaints against the insolvent financial firm comes as the authority is awaiting details of the scope and timing of a compensation scheme of last resort (CSLR).
Clients of USGFX who submitted their claims before that date are still entitled to benefit from the complaints authority’s coverage. Nevertheless, from November 12 onwards, AFCA cannot accept any more complaints against Union Standard International Group Pty Ltd.
“There are insufficient funds available to declare a meaningful dividend to creditors at this stage, and therefore we are moving to hold public examinations as we pursue recovery actions for the benefit of creditors. We anticipate that this Liquidation will continue for some time and will provide further updates as the matter progresses,” BRI Ferrier notes.
USGFX exploited China’s regulatory loopholes
Earlier in 2021, the Vanuatu-based entity of USGFX said that BRI Ferrier has sought to seize its assets outside of Australia. The now-bankrupt forex broker accused liquidators of abusing their power after they instructed First Bank in Puerto Rico to freeze accounts of USG Global.
Despite being owned by the same person, the company reiterated that its Vanuatu brand is a separate legal entity that has been operating independently of the brokerage business currently under liquidation in Australia.
Additionally, USG Group claims that although it has no control over the liquidation process, it has been processing withdrawal requests for USGFX clients who transferred their accounts to its offshore company.
The brokerage added that it is still determined to retain its brand and global operations, regardless of its current situation and “rather than wasting money and resources on war of words.”
On top of its Aussie woes, USGFX had allegedly scammed up to $600 million from Chinese investors who were illegally provided leveraged FX trading and other financial services.