The financial services firm Parsec Financial Management has been forced to restructure a massive $2.2 billion in debt to cover its losses at the troubled Australian residential real estate sector.
Parsec has been left to fight to pay off a series of debts, which include $700 million to settle a claim from the company’s former managing director, a $200 million charge to the company from its former chairperson and a $700,000 charge to its former head of international, and its former chief financial officer, on an unrelated matter.
The company said in a statement that the restructuring would result in a loss of $3.4 billion, or about $1,000 per employee.
It is a far cry from the $14.5 billion it paid to settle the US Securities and Exchange Commission’s (SEC) claims that it discriminated against investors by refusing to disclose that its chief executive had used the company to buy $US1 billion in Australian property.
It also comes as Parsec is facing allegations that it was deliberately avoiding Australian regulatory scrutiny, in an attempt to keep the Australian real estate market afloat.
The Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) and the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) are investigating Parsec, which was spun off from its parent company in November.
While it has a history of financial mismanagement, the ACCC said it would not be pursuing charges of anti-competitive behaviour in a complaint filed in December.
In a statement, Parsec said it had “agreed to all relevant provisions of the settlement agreement”.
“The resolution agreement includes significant reforms and we expect the full implementation of the agreement to provide continued value for the company,” the statement said.
“We remain confident of the strength of our financial position and we continue to have substantial cash flow from operations.”
The agreement also contains a number of new measures that will assist Parsec to meet the significant requirements of the resolution, including: a significant reduction in debt from $2 billion to $1.9 billion, a significant enhancement of capital structures to $US2 billion and a significant improvement of our governance framework to ensure that the company has a stronger regulatory foundation.
“Parsec will continue to make significant changes to its structure and operations, including implementing a new set of internal controls, to ensure it is able to meet its obligations under the settlement.”
While Parsec was acquired by the US-based giant Palantir Technologies in 2017, the company had struggled for years to get its finances in order.
The firm’s former chairwoman, Michael Cramer, said he was not aware of any wrongdoing at the firm.
“I’ve had a great experience working with Michael, I think he’s very good at managing people, he’s got a lot of respect for people and he’s a really good leader,” Mr Cramer told the ABC.
“So he’s not a bad guy.”‘
We’ve got no idea’ what the settlement will look likeThe company has said the restructuring was not a result of the SEC’s investigation.
“No, we don’t know what the final settlement will be,” Parsec CEO Michael Hickey told the Financial Review.
“What we’ve seen so far is a very good, well-considered and comprehensive approach to address the concerns of all parties.”
In terms of the scope of the investigation, we haven’t been given a lot more detail than what we’ve had to offer.
The ABC has also asked Mr Cramers response to the allegations against him, and whether he is willing to take legal action.”
The ACCC will have the final say on the terms of settlement.”
The ABC has also asked Mr Cramers response to the allegations against him, and whether he is willing to take legal action.
The deal to restructure the debt has been agreed by the company and its board.
The ABC has approached the Parsec board for comment.