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Information Release on BlackBee Investments Limited

Update 19 May 2023

Following an application by the Central Bank of Ireland (Central Bank), the High Court has today appointed Mr. Luke Charleton and Mr. Colin Farquharson of EY as Joint Official Liquidators to BlackBee Investments Limited (Blackbee Investments). Mr. Charleton and Mr. Farquharson had previously been appointed as Joint Provisional Liquidators on 8 May 2023.

BlackBee Investments is a MiFiD investment firm with a registered office and corporate headquarters located at City Quarter, Lapp's Quay, Cork. It is an indirect subsidiary of Blackbee Holdings Limited, the parent company of the group of companies known as the “Blackbee Group”, which comprises a number of regulated and unregulated entities. It is important to note that this liquidation relates only to BlackBee Investments.

Steps Leading to the Application:

The Central Bank decided to use its legal power to apply for the winding-up of Blackbee Investments having given due consideration to the circumstances detailed in the Affidavit of Claire McGrade, Head of Resolution and Crisis Management Division, which is which is published today today. The Petition is also published.

As is set out in the Affidavit, the Central Bank had engaged extensively with Blackbee Investments over an extended period in relation to a number of concerns. The concerns of the Central Bank related primarily to the Firm having inadequate corporate governance structures, a deterioration of the Firm’s regulatory capital and liquidity positions and a lack of suitable controls to protect client assets resulting in heightened risks to the safeguarding of client interests.

In presenting its Petition to the High Court, the Central Bank detailed its extensive supervisory engagement, which included opportunities afforded to the Firm to remedy and alleviate concerns but which the Firm failed to adequately address. In line with its statutory mandate the Central Bank further outlined its belief that, for the reasons detailed in the Affidavit, the presentation of a petition for the winding-up of the Investment Firm was, inter alia, necessary in the interests of the proper and orderly regulation and supervision of investment firms and for the protection of investors of the Investment Firm.

The Firm is subject to the Central Bank’s Client Asset Requirements (‘CAR’), which require that client assets related to regulated investments are clearly designated as such and are segregated from the assets of the Firm in client asset accounts.

Impacted Clients’ Position:

The Liquidators are currently undertaking a full assessment of the Firm to establish the current position of clients’ investments and will maintain contact with all affected clients.

All queries should be directed to the joint liquidators, via email [email protected].

The Application

The application to the High Court was made on notice to the Firm.

Further information for clients of BlackBee Investments Limited is available at [email protected]

For media queries, please contact –

Olive Stephens, EY - 087 7601642 // [email protected] 

Elaine Scanlon, Central Bank - 087 213 6313 // ;[email protected]

Verifying Affidavit of Claire McGrade, Head of the Resolution and Crisis Management Division, Central Bank of Ireland | pdf 8806 KB Sworn Petition 8 May 2023 | pdf 4031 KB

9 May 2023

Following an application by the Central Bank of Ireland (Central Bank), the High Court has appointed Mr. Luke Charleton and Mr. Colin Farquharson of EY as Joint Provisional Liquidators to BlackBee Investments Limited.

BlackBee Investments Limited is a MiFiD regulated investment firm with a registered office and corporate headquarters located at City Quarter, Lapp's Quay, Cork. It is an indirect subsidiary of Blackbee Holdings Limited, the parent company of the group of companies known as the “Blackbee Group”, which comprises a number of regulated and unregulated entities. It is important to note that the appointment of the Joint Provisional Liquidators relates only to BlackBee Investments Limited.

Steps Leading to the Application

The Central Bank has engaged extensively with the firm for an extended period, since mid-2020, in relation to a number of concerns including inadequate corporate governance structures, deterioration of the firm’s regulatory capital and liquidity positions and a lack of suitable controls to protect client assets resulting in heightened risks to the safeguarding of client interests.

Despite extensive supervisory engagement in an effort to find a solution that protected clients’ interests, no viable alternatives were found. On this basis, it was decided that the appointment of Joint Provisional Liquidators was the most appropriate action to protect the immediate and ongoing interests of the clients of BlackBee Investments Limited.

During the course of its extensive supervisory engagement, the Central Bank imposed a series of requirements on BlackBee Investments Limited in an effort to ensure that client assets are appropriately safeguarded. These have included but are not limited to;

  • Issuance of a direction to suspend the making of distributions or dividends to shareholders for a period of 12 months in November 2020 and again in September 2022;
  • Imposition of a Condition on Authorisation on the firm in September 2021, which prevented it from entering into new business;
  • Issuance of a direction on the firm in December 2022 not to make any payments from third party client asset accounts without the prior approval of the Central Bank; and
  • Issuance of a direction on the firm in March 2023 to appoint suitably qualified individuals to key control and oversight roles, and submit to the Central Bank detailed capital and liquidity plans.

The firm is subject to the Central Bank’s Client Asset Requirements (CAR), which require that client assets related to regulated investments are clearly designated as such and are segregated from the assets of the Firm in client asset accounts.

Impacted Clients Position

All affected clients of the regulated entity will be contacted by the Joint Provisional Liquidators in the coming days to advise them of next steps in relation to their investments. The Joint Provisional Liquidators will undertake a full assessment of the firm to establish the current position of clients’ investments.

All queries should be directed to the Joint Provisional Liquidators, via email [email protected]. Alternatively, consult the BlackBee Investments Limited website for the most up-to-date information.

The Application

The application to the High Court was made ex parte, thus BlackBee Investments Limited was not represented and has had no opportunity to make its case to the High Court. At this stage of the process, for legal reasons, the Central Bank is constrained in terms of the specific details it can provide pending the decision of the High Court on winding up.

Next Steps

The Central Bank aims to provide as much information as possible to affected clients of the regulated entity on the background to the actions taken, while also fully respecting the legal process. To this end and in the interests of transparency, the Central Bank will publish the affidavit of Claire McGrade (Head of the Resolution and Crisis Management Division), which formed part of the High Court application. This will be published on the Central Bank website following the full hearing of the application for the winding up of BlackBee Investments Limited.

Further information for clients of BlackBee Investments Limited is available at [email protected].

For media queries, please contact Olive Stephens, EY on 087 760 1642 / [email protected] or Grace Duffy, Central Bank on 086 032 6689 / [email protected]