The Securities Commission is warning investors to be very wary of any unexpected offers they may receive for their shares or other investments.
Over the past week, the Commission has become aware of a number of unsolicited offers, including for TrustPower shares and for units in the DNZ Property Fund.
The offers have been made by limited partnerships, Carrington Securities and Energy Securities LP of which Bernard Whimp is general partner.
Unlike earlier unsolicited offers on which the Commission has issued warnings, these offers are made at prices that appear at first sight to be above their market value. However, payment for the shares or units is deferred and wouldn't be received by the investor in full for as long as 10 years - with yearly payments being made in instalments of only a few cents a year per share.
This means that the offers are worth significantly less than may appear at first sight and may even mean that the investor will never receive the full payment if the offeror is unable or unwilling to pay at any time in the future.
The Commission has also been informed that requests have been made by Mr Whimp for copies of the share registers of a significant number of New Zealand listed companies and suspects that a large number of investors may soon receive unexpected offers for their investments.
Commission Chairman, Jane Diplock said "We strongly recommend that any investor who receives an unexpected offer to buy their investments takes the time to check they understand a few simple facts about the offer - including both how the price being offered compares with the market price and also when the purchase price is payable - and to seek advice and support from another person. Ideally a reputable financial adviser, but talking with the Citizens Advice Bureau or even family and friends can be a good start."
While it is not illegal to make an unsolicited offer to buy investments, it is against the law to mislead or deceive investors into accepting an offer and the Commission is urgently reviewing the current offers in light of that requirement.
Investors who receive unsolicited offers are encouraged to carefully read the offer and take the time to make a few important checks - for further guidance, see the Commission's website www.seccom.govt.nz and look out for announcements from the company concerned.