Thursday 24 September, 2020

NZ Private girls' school loses $1 mil to Cayman-based fund

An exclusive Auckland private school has more than $1 million tied up with a failed Cayman Islands fund manager now under Serious Fraud Office investigation.

Diocesan School for Girls, the country's wealthiest private girls' school, flagged in its latest accounts that its investment arm - the Heritage Foundation - had been made aware of a "significant discrepancy" in the value of $881,354 it had invested in the Penrich Global Macro Fund.

Penrich, a fund manager targeting sophisticated investors, is based largely in the Cayman Islands, with offices in London and Christchurch.

Its arms in all countries are now in liquidation, and in early April the Serious Fraud Office (SFO) announced it was investigating it.

Another entity connected to Diocesan, the Doris Innes House Trust, disclosed in its 2019 accounts it also had $327,759 with Penrich.

The Weekend Herald understands in excess of $10m of New Zealand investors' money are in the fund and at risk of significant losses.

The sums at risk at Diocesan represent around an eighth of the total investments held by the school and Doris Innes trust.

The Heritage Foundation helps manage Diocesan's donations and funds for capital expenditure at the school while the Doris Innes House Trust provides scholarships to boarding students.

David Gibson, chair of the Diocesan School Heritage Foundation, said in a written statement there were "robust governance and investment protocols in place".

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