Serious Fraud Office now investigating CBL alongside Reserve Bank, FMA

The Auckland High Court has set aside three days beginning July 30 to hear the Reserve Bank’s application to liquidate CBL Insurance. Photo: Lynn Grieveson

The Serious Fraud Office is now investigating CBL Insurance and associated entities, adding to investigations by the Reserve Bank and Financial Markets Authority.

Auckland-based CBL Corp had its stock suspended from the NZX on Feb. 8 amid concerns from NZX Regulation about the information it had given the market, following engagement between it, CBL, the Financial Markets Authority, the Reserve Bank, and a number of overseas regulators with prudential oversight of CBL’s international insurance business. On Feb. 20, CBL Insurance told the Reserve Bank it was continuing to operate despite being below the minimum regulatory solvency level.

CBL then appointed KordaMentha voluntary administrators on March 2 after the Reserve Bank sought an interim liquidation of its New Zealand supervised arm and the Central Bank of Ireland made a similar move against the insurer's European division. CBL Insurance is a unit of NZX-listed company, CBL Corp, which is in voluntary administration.

In a press release this afternoon, the SFO said it is "investigating matters relating to CBL Insurance and associated entities", the Reserve Bank is cooperating, and no further comment on these investigations will be made at this time.

The Auckland High Court has set aside three days beginning July 30 to hear the Reserve Bank’s application to liquidate CBL Insurance, with the central bank alleging that CBL Insurance breached solvency margins and statutory directions.

The FMA said last month that it intends to file a case stated procedure to clarify whether continuous disclosure rules still apply to listed companies if they enter voluntary administration, due to the circumstances surrounding CBL.