Senate debates

Thursday, 26 August 2021


Corporate Governance

1:52 pm

Photo of Deborah O'NeillDeborah O'Neill (NSW, Australian Labor Party) Share this | | Hansard source

I rise to shed a little light on what's been described in the AFR as the worst IPO of the decade. The Nuix IPO released rivers of gold to those in the know, namely Macquarie Bank, $565 million; Nuix's founder Tony Castagna, $80 million; and Rod Vawdrey, the former Nuix CEO, $28 million. But it devastated many retail investors, as $3 billion was wiped off the market capitalisation. Now Nuix is under ASIC, AFP and criminal investigations. Nuix CFO, Stephen Doyle, is facing insider-trading charges as well as alleged breaches of the Corporations Law in relation to financial disclosures in the prospectus. Several senior staff have left in the midst of chaos and confusion.

This coming Monday Nuix's preliminary—not final—results will be released on the last day of the reporting season, and I'm advised that on the same day, Monday 30 August 2021, the current escrow arrangements surrounding 37.9 per cent of Nuix shares will end. That's 120 million shares currently worth over $320 million. That event will allow the transfer of millions of dollars in shares to those who are currently under investigation for this catastrophe.

I recommend in the strongest term possible that ASIC act to freeze this transfer of shares. It's only prudent to wait until the investigations reach their natural conclusion before allowing Macquarie Bank's Tony Castagna, sacked CEO Stephen Doyle and the Nuix CEO to cash out their shares. The choice by ASIC to act or roll over sends an important message to others who would model Nuix IPO behaviours. ASIC must be proactive and use its considerable powers, such as those it holds under section 1323 of the act, to protect investors in Nuix. They cannot surely let those with serious questions walk away from this scandal with the loot.