Trio hearing looks at Silverhall links

WHEN business partner Cameron Anderson was advising an associate, Shawn Richard, on the acquisition of Tolhurst Capital - a licensed super fund trustee and a responsible entity for managed investment schemes - Michael Anderson, (unrelated) said he didn't consider opportunities that might flow to the pair's property development company, Silverhall.

WHEN business partner Cameron Anderson was advising an associate, Shawn Richard, on the acquisition of Tolhurst Capital - a licensed super fund trustee and a responsible entity for managed investment schemes - Michael Anderson, (unrelated) said he didn't consider opportunities that might flow to the pair's property development company, Silverhall.

"I don't recall turning my mind to it," Mr Anderson said, while being questioned at a public examination yesterday into the fate of millions of dollars of superannuation funds invested by Tolhurst under new name Astarra, later Trio Capital, with Silverhall and its associated entities.

Silverhall rebranded itself as Ualan Property Holdings, and according to the fund's new responsible entity, ACT Super, super members invested about $19 million in shares in Ualan, and loaned it $6.5 million. Ualan is in liquidation, with no dividends foreshadowed for the super fund investors.

"Didn't Cameron Anderson say that Silverhall could become one of the asset managers of the super business?" asked Robert Beech-Jones, SC, for ACT Super.

"I don't recall," Mr Anderson said.

"But it happened, didn't it?"

"Yes," was the reply. Asset manager Silverhall charged a variety of management fees - including a 5 per cent acquisition fee on the purchase price of land, performance and marketing fees, and a 5 per cent commission to its real estate arm, Energy Realty Pty Ltd, the hearing heard.

Mr Anderson was questioned about conflict of interest in projects. He signed contracts, as a director of the building companies, with Energy Realty paying $27,500 commission per unit sold - in the case of a 50-unit development at Townsville, agreeing to pay $1.3 million in commission. Mr Anderson defended the level, saying most agents charged 3 per cent plus GST and the difference reflected that they were active rather than passive.

He said their fees and their ownership of the Silverhall entities had been disclosed to Astarra and a range of auditors and lawyers. But under questioning he agreed that such detail was not contained in the product disclosure statement provided to investors.

Mr Richard, Cameron Anderson and David Millhouse were the founding directors of Trio, then known as Astarra Capital. Mr Richard was jailed last year for his involvement in the theft of super funds to offshore accounts.

The examinations continue.

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