Monarch FX victims hit language barrier

Victims of signals and managed account firm Monarch FX, which was run by Quinten Hunter until he was hit with a four-year ban from the financial services industry in December 2014, have been told by the Financial Ombudsman Service (FOS) to contact a man called Ronnge Sa to arrange payment.

Mr Sa is a director of Audrn Financial Group, which rented its financial services licence to Monarch and Mr Hunter between May 2012 and February 2013. When The Australian called the mobile number, it was answered by a male who did not respond to questions in English. The man, whose voice was heavily muffled, hung up after The Australian asked to speak to Mr Sa.

Statistics released by (FOS) in a circular to members on Friday show there were 143 determinations where compensation totalling $13m had been ordered but not paid, up from 133 cases worth $12.5m last year.

FOS renewed its calls for an industry-funded scheme of last resort that would ensure victims were paid, saying it was “a key initiative to build trust and confidence in financial services”.

Under his former name, Quinten Hann, Mr Hunter was a professional snooker player until 2006, when he was banned for eight years for match fixing. Ronnie O’Sullivan used to call him ‘Sneaky Hann’.

His Monarch FX promised investors returns of up to 5 per cent a month if they forked over at least $15,000 to receive advice on when to buy and sell foreign currency based on “cutting-edge trading algorithms”.

Clients lost between 40 and 50% of their investment, according to evidence heard by the Federal Court. Pursuing compensation has been made more difficult due to Monarch and Mr Hunter’s use of three different financial services licences in as many years. This means Monarch clients have had to file multiple claims with FOS.

After initially using Audrn’s licence, Monarch and Mr Hunter moved to Gold Coast-based Avestra Capital until April 2014, and then on to Melbourne-based Forex TG.

Avestra Capital, now known as Longhou Capital Markets, shared directors with the similarly named Avestra Asset Management, liquidated by the Federal Court last October after the Australian Securities & Investments Commission alleged it was failing in its management of a number of investment schemes.

One Monarch victim who won at FOS against both Avestra and Audrn had no problem collecting from Avestra, which was able to pay using the proceeds of an insurance policy.

But on winning the Audrn claim last week the victim was directed to Mr Sa, rather than Audrn director Xiaojia Li, who, ASIC records show, lives in Adelaide.

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