Accountancy firm in LDC case to cease operations

BILL MOORE
Last updated 13:00 22/11/2012

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The large Nelson accountancy practice Carran Miller is going out of business, its sole remaining director has advised clients.

Carran Miller - which has reverted to its original name after several years as Carran Miller Strawbridge - is second defendant in a High Court action arising from the collapse of Nelson investment company LDC Finance in 2007.

In a letter sent on November 13, director Ross Stevenson advises that the company "will shortly cease to trade", with all the former principals in the firm deciding to "pursue separate projects".

He says he will be joining Strawbridge and Associates, operating from the same Halifax St offices as Carran Miller and with the same contact details.

"Despite my long association with the firm, this is in fact a positive move for me, particularly as the internal challenges that the firm has been faced with have been a considerable distraction," the letter says.

"I am looking forward to undertaking accounting services in the future without those distractions."

Today Mr Stevenson said he had no other comment to make, apart from that he would "look into" a Companies Office warning about non-compliance with annual return requirements.

Companies Office records show that Carran Miller Strawbridge changed its name to Carran Miller a month ago.

The companies register also records that it is overdue to file an annual return and states, "if the annual return is not filed immediately the registrar will initiate action to remove the company from the register".

Carran Miller was incorporated in November 1999. The current shareholders are listed as: Christopher John Hardiman and Catherine Anne Hardiman, of Richmond; David Gordon Miller, of Atawhai; Ross Andrew Stevenson and Lynn Judith Stevenson, of Upper Moutere; Richard Alfred Jenkins, of Richmond; Bede Carran, of Auckland; and Paula Margaret Kinsett-Carran, of Wakefield.

Mr Hardiman, Mr Miller and Kevin Elliott, of Atawhai, are the directors of LDC Finance and are first defendants, along with businessman John Janetto, in the civil action initiated by LDC's liquidators and a number of investors that aims to recover $12.5 million belonging to secured and unsecured investors.

Bede Carran ceased to be a director in January last year. The 2011 Carran Miller annual return, when the company was trading as Carran Miller Strawbridge, shows Mr Stevenson and Ross Hayward Strawbridge, of Richmond, as the two directors.

The Companies Office also records that Carran Miller Financial Services, whose sole director is Mr Hardiman, is overdue to file its return and in danger of being removed from the register.

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Strawbridge and Associates was incorporated in 2004 and already operates from the Carran Miller offices.

Its sole director and shareholder is Ross Strawbridge.

The statement of claim against LDC's directors, auditors, trustee and Carran Miller was lodged in the High Court at Nelson in September. LDC liquidator Iain Shephard, of Wellington insolvency practice Shephard Dunphy, has told the Nelson Mail that it is likely to be years before the case is heard, with 878 LDC investors at last count.

Carran Miller has been one of the "big three" Nelson accountancy firms, after WHK and Richards Woodhouse. This morning its phone line was answered as "Strawbridge and Associates".

- Nelson

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