Attorney-at-law Hugh Wildman
By Clinton McGregor
Former Trustee in Bankruptcy and attorney-at-law Hugh Wildman is cautioning investors in Stocks and Securities Limited, that it will take some time for them to recover their funds invested in the firm.
Stocks and Securities Limited was placed under the Temporary Management of the Financial Services Commission last week, after a massive fraud scheme was uncovered at the investment firm.
Since then, nervous investors have been seeking to remove their funds from the company.
But speaking with Radio Jamaica News on Tuesday, Mr. Wildman warned that the authorities might be forced to call in the Trustee in Bankruptcy if the investigations reveal that SSL does not have enough money to pay back investors.
"The Trustee in Bankruptcy may have to come in, take charge of the institution, and they now in turn would have to gather in all the assets of people who owe the bank. And if there is enough money to make a payment, they would have to go to the Supreme Court and ask a judge to sanction that payment to persons who have lost money in the institution."
Mr. Wildman warned that a lawsuit against SSL by Usain Bolt or any other investor could not be successful if the Trustee in Bankruptcy is called in, since this action would preclude lawsuits from being filed against the institution.
However, he said the Financial Services Commission could be sued for breaching its duty of care to the investors if it can be proven that SSL had problems and the FSC did not take steps to deal with the matter.
Attorneys representing Usain Bolt sent a letter to SSL last week demanding a return of their client's money within ten days, failing which they said a lawsuit would be filed to recover his investment.
Finance Minister Dr. Nigel Clarke says documents reveal that the investment firm has some amount of insurance coverage.
He was hesitant to say if the government would be in a position to return the funds lost by Bolt, noting that the same would have to be applied to other investors who have been defrauded. This, Dr. Clarke, said would be a significant strain on the public purse.