SV appointee’s lower fees repel William Buck pair

SV Partners’ Shumit Banerjee

There’s nothing like a free plug from a judge and in this instance SV Partners is the beneficiary thanks to the Federal Court’s Jayne Jagot in Frisken, in the matter of Avant Garde Investments Pty Ltd v Cheema [2020] FCA 98.

Justice Jagot was ruling on an application by Avant Garde Investments‘ receiver Daniel Frisken, who wanted the company wound up in insolvency and SV Partners’ Shumit Banerjee appointed as liquidator.

Banerjee had been appointed provisional liquidator by Justice Jagot on November 20 last year after the judge declined Frisken’s application to have himself appointed ProvLiq.

Maybe the fact that Frisken is already deed administrator of one of the Avant Garde director’s other companies gave her pause for thought?

Banerjee however had then retained the same lawyers Frisken was using – Fortis Law – and the day after his appointment met with the company’s secured creditors where he obtained funding to undertake investigations.

In the eyes of Avant Garde Investments’ director – the target of those investigations – Banerjee’s acts in the immediate aftermath of his appointment disqualified him from being perceived as impartial.

The director proposed that William Buck’s Sean Wengel and Michael Brereton be appointed instead of Banerjee, who had by this time terminated the retainer with Fortis and engaged alternate representation.

Justice Jagot however observed that perceptions around a lack of independence could just as easily apply to liquidators appointed by a director who is likely to be summonsed to appear at a public examination.

Further, and given that Banerjee had already conducted substantial work, she was not minded to make an order that would see that work replicated, particularly it seems when SV’s hourly rates apparently undercut William Buck’s.

” … while the liquidators who the director has proposed be appointed have had no previous contact with the director, the principles referred to in WD Hall in all of these circumstances weigh heavily in favour of the appointment of Mr Banerjee as a liquidator,” Justice Jagot said.

“That would be an appropriate appointment having regard, in particular, to the work which Mr Banerjee has already undertaken and the fact that the fees which would be applicable if Mr Banerjee were appointed as liquidator involve lesser hourly rates, albeit not by a substantial amount, than the liquidators proposed by the director.” Please take a moment to support INO’s continued chronicling of the insolvency sector.

1 Comment on "SV appointee’s lower fees repel William Buck pair"

  1. Clayton Briggs | 13 February 2020 at 8:13 am | Reply

    One can hardly question the court’s logic!

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