The $6 billion Motor Trades Association of Australia Super (MTAA Super) has dropped the allegation that its former chairman, John Rickus, breached the Corporations Act by supplying private information about the fund’s alternative investment strategies to a specialist alternatives advisory business with which he was seeking employment.

MTAA Super filed a revised claim with the Federal Court in a directional hearing on December 18 2007, omitting the previous allegation that Rickus breached section 183 of the Corporations Act while applying to become chairman of Principle Advisory Services. The fund is still suing Rickus over access to documents that he gave to the Australian Prudential Regulatory Authority (APRA), concerning the industry body Motor Trades Association of Australia’s provision of secretariat duties to the fund. MTAA Super does not allege that Rickus should not have given APRA the documents. The claim that Rickus breached the Corporations Act was included in the fund’s revised statement of claim, lodged with the court in November 2007. Les Fallick, Principle Managing Director, said the unequivocal withdrawal of the allegation against Rickus and, by implication, Principle, was appropriate. The court has ordered MTAA Super pay Rickus’ costs on an indemnity basis, while the costs applying to APRA, which intervened in the case arguing that Rickus was not under a duty or obligation to provide MTAA Super with the documents, have been reserved. During the December 18 hearing, a lawyer for MTAA Super, Stephen Robb QC of Home Wilkinson Lowry, said the regulator was an “uninvited intruder” into the case and should bear its own costs. To date, proceedings have focused on APRA’s intervention. MTAA Super has dropped its original argument that Rickus, while chairman of the fund, breached a fiduciary duty by not supplying the documents to the fund. It now claims that Rickus, as an “agent” of the fund, should reveal the information. The next hearing is scheduled to take place on February 4. Presiding is Justice Geoffrey Flick, who said that he would like to see evidence submitted by both parties soon after this so that further hearings could begin.

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