man loses all in opes prime collapse

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    Man loses all in Opes Prime collapse

    Fleur Leyden

    April 05, 2008 12:00am
    DAVID Regenspurger is the personal face of the Opes Prime collapse. He turns 40 in a few weeks, has a wife and two children under five, and in the past week watched his net worth sink from more than $400,000 to $5000.

    "Suddenly they (Opes Prime) go into receivership and you don't have an option to pay the margin loan out to unlock your shares," Mr Regenspurger said.

    "I was told quite politely that I no longer owned the shares -- ANZ did -- and they're selling. It was a bit of a shock."

    It's now seven days since Mr Regenspurger and Opes' 1200 other clients realised that the ANZ Bank -- Opes' major secured creditor -- had seized their shares and was in some cases selling them.

    Opes chief executive Laurie Emini -- the man at the centre of the collapse triggered by fraud -- surrendered his Australian and Macedonian passports yesterday after requests from ASIC.

    A ban on him going overseas was extended to October 3.

    Two other Opes directors, Anthony Blumberg and Julian Smith, surrendered their passports to their legal advisers.

    The ban is of little comfort to Mr Regenspurger, whose situation was revealed in a letter to stockbroker Marcus Padley.

    "I had spent the last two hours rocking my crying wife to sleep," reads the letter.

    The energy consultant sold his house almost a year ago and temporarily invested the proceeds in the stockmarket with plans to upgrade to a bigger house for his growing family.

    Thinking he was playing it safe he invested $320,000 in big-name companies such as BHP Billiton and National Australia Bank.

    He also took out a $100,000 margin loan through online trading house Trader Dealer, which was linked to Opes Prime.

    Unlike other margin lenders Opes Prime claims legal and beneficial interest to the shares.

    If a typical margin lender goes into administration the client can get their shares back by paying out the margin loan. But not, it seems, with Opes Prime.

    Even sophisticated investors such as high-profile Sydney lawyer Chris Murphy have been burnt in the collapse.

    Mr Regenspurger told the Herald Sun he would no longer be able to afford a new house in Mt Waverley, where he wanted his children to attend school.

    His wife may have to increase her days at work.

    He says it will take at least 12 months to save a deposit and hopefully buy a smaller home on Melbourne's fringe.

    Ironically, he was days away from moving his money to another firm when Opes collapsed
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