investors angry at opes losses

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    Investors angry at Opes losses

    INVESTORS burned by the collapse of stockbroker Opes Prime today expressed their dismay at losing large parcels of shares placed with the firm in return for margin loans.

    Opes Prime was placed in receivership and administration on March 27 after cash and stock movement irregularities were uncovered in a small number of client accounts.

    ANZ Banking Group Ltd and Merrill Lynch, which are the major secured creditors, subsequently moved to sell shares that Opes clients had placed with the stockbroker.

    The major secured creditors are owed more than $1 billion by Opes.

    The accounts of 1,200 unsecured creditors have been frozen.

    One investor, Melonie Mitsios, was furious about losing her investments.

    "Somebody will have to pay, and I don't give a damn who was involved," Ms Mitsios said.

    "We worked bloody hard for our money. They will not get away with it."

    One Opes Prime client, who described himself as "big, angry John", said he had lost $200,000-$300,000, as a result of the stockbroker's collapse.

    "They owe me a lot of money," John told reporters.

    He said the value of the shares which he had placed with Opes as security, far outweighed the size of the margin loan he received from Opes.

    John said he was angry with ANZ, which had been selling shares from Opes.

    "I am angry with the ANZ Bank's involvement, where I was under the belief that my shares were held by the ANZ Bank as the nominee company," he said.

    "This is what I was informed at the time. I didn't read all the fine print."

    Another unsecured creditor, Richard Gall, said he had lost $60,000.

    "I've lost around $60,000 and essentially what I've done is I've lost the collateral to my loan," Mr Gall said.

    "We leveraged our stocks, and essentially we were under the understanding that the difference between the value of the stocks and our margin loan was what our collateral was."

    Mr Gall said he had received emails from Opes directors that had guaranteed that all he would lose in the event of Opes falling into insolvency was the difference in value between his margin loan and the value of his stocks.

    "We've got emails to prove that. We also have verbal guidance," he said.

    - AAP
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