Ask Paul: I'm a pensioner and my portfolio is now worth 4 cents a share


Dear Paul,

Is it possible to give me some advice please? Some time ago, I invested in Australian Bond Exchange at 65 cents a share on the promise of a price increase to 75 cents within a short period.

Instead, they are now worth 4 cents a share (at the time of writing). I am a pensioner and this has hurt me very much. Is there anything I can do? For example, force them into receivership. I am so annoyed. - Trevor

Ask Paul I'm a pensioner and my portfolio is now worth 4 cents a share

Goodness, Trevor, this is pretty ugly. I had never heard of Australian Bond Exchange, so I've been doing a bit of digging around. It certainly has some colourful reviews and a share price that 
has sunk like a stone. The ASX shows its shares have fallen by 96.78%.

I can understand how you feel. ASX listing rules, external auditors, plus all the checks and balances around things like 'trading insolvent', will certainly take care of issues like insolvency.

The most recent quarterly activity report, listed with the ASX, shows a sizeable loss but still a reasonable amount in 'cash and cash equivalents'.

To no surprise, the company states that it is undertaking a 'cost reduction program'. Apparently, 'client engagement and integration into various partner firms is not as quick as expected'.

What interests me more, though, is the 'promise' of the share price increase to 75 cents in a 'short period'. Was that professional advice and was it in writing? If so, I would recommend a call to the Australian Financial Complaints Authority (AFCA).

If it was a mate at the bowling club, this is not going to help you, but if it was professional advice, I would strongly suggest you contact the AFCA.

Losing money in any fashion is awful for any of us, but terrible for a pensioner. I think your best course of action is the source of the advice - that was clearly misleading.

As to the company, at the end of the day, the market is the best judge of this, along with ASX listing rules to regulate its situation. A drop in the share price of more than 96% is a seriously bad indicator.

This is the last thing you want to hear, but taking on the risk in one small company is not what any retiree or pensioner should be doing. Could all readers please remember about risk and return, 
and also my favourite investment saying: If it looks too good to be true it will be.

Contact AFCA

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Paul Clitheroe AM is founder and editorial adviser of Money magazine. He is one of Australia's leading financial voices, responsible for bringing financial insight to Australians through personal finance books, the Money TV show, and this publication, which he established in 1999. Paul is the chair of the Australian Government Financial Literacy Board and is chairman of InvestSMART Financial Services. He is the chair of Financial Literacy at Macquarie University where he is also a Professor with the School of Business and Economics. Ask Paul your money question. Unfortunately Paul cannot respond to questions posted in the comments section. View our disclaimer.
Money magazine
April 17, 2024 4.53pm


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Martin Cole
April 17, 2024 8.11pm

Souds like a lottery ticket not an investment, not one for the widows and orphans funds!