Industry fund MTAA Super last week abandoned proceedings against former chair John Rickus and APRA, saying it had received all of the Rickus documents it sought, however it could face a hefty legal bill if a cross claim from the ex-chair is successful.

The MTAA Super vs Rickus saga began last year. Pursuant to a statutory notice from APRA, Rickus had supplied the regulator with documents which, in the words of a case summary from Rickus’ lawyers DMAW, “;relat[ed] to important governance issues of MTAA Super, including issues relating to the management of conflicts of interest between MTAA Super and the industry association, Motor Traders Association of Australia.”; The association is the outsourced provider of secretariat services to MTAA Super. By way of an application and statement of claim in the Federal Court, MTAA Super sought orders that Rickus produce to it the documents he had supplied to APRA. Rickus objected to this on the basis the documents included confidential communications between independent directors and personal notes. MTAA Super also made allegations that Rickus had breached the Corporations Act and Trade Practices Act, but these were abandoned, as was a subsequent allegation that he was an ‘agent’ of MTAA Super who had acted improperly in withholding the documents. However the executive officer of MTAA Super, Michael Delaney, said instigation of the proceeding themselves last September had lead to a discovery process whereby the fund had recovered all the documents it had wanted. “;As a regulated entity, you are at a singular disadvantage if you don’t have all the documents pertaining to your company…Whether or not a document proves to be innocuous, you still have to have it, it’s simple as that,”; Delaney said. The final chapter of the affair will play out in the Federal Court on October 27-28, absent an out-of-court settlement. Rickus has lodged a cross claim seeking to be indemnified for his legal costs, relying on a deed of indemnity from MTAA Super, however Delaney indicated this would be challenged. As to costs arising from its discontinuation of the proceedings, Delaney said these would not be significant. “;We’ve hardly been in the court this year,”; he said.

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