November 19, 2011 / 9:06 AM / 6 years ago

MF Global Australian arm shut down after no buyers: report

A man exits the office complex where MF Global Holdings Ltd have an office on 52nd Street in midtown Manhattan New York, October 31, 2011.Brendan McDermid

SYDNEY (Reuters) - The Australian arm of collapsed U.S. futures broker MF Global Holdings Ltd MFGLQ.PK has been shut down by the administrator Deloitte after no buyers could be found, the Australian newspaper reported on Saturday

Employees were told by the administrator on Friday that the business had been wound up and most had lost their jobs, the newspaper reported.

A Deloitte spokesman told Reuters the general information contained in the newspaper report was correct but declined to comment further.

Deloitte was appointed joint administrator of MF Global Australia (MFGA) on November 1, one day after its U.S. parent applied for bankruptcy protection after losing money on misplaced bets on European sovereign debt.

The administrators had hoped the sale of the local business would be completed by the end of this week.

In response to the collapse of MF Global, the Australian government on Saturday released a discussion paper in a first step aimed at reforming the regulatory regime and strengthening client protection for over-the-counter (OTC) derivative transactions.

"The collapse of MF Global has underscored the need to investigate options for strengthening client money protections for over-the-counter derivative transactions," Assistant Treasurer and Minister for Financial Services and Superannuation, Bill Shorten, said.

The government and financial regulatory watchdog, the Australian Securities and Investments Commission, had been working for some time on these issues, Shorten said in a statement.

"This discussion paper was being drafted before the MF Global collapse, but the government is moving more quickly to consider these issues in light of recent events" he added.

The local unit of MF Global was the largest broker in Australian grain futures as well as a provider of highly leveraged contracts-for-difference derivatives.

Deloitte partner Christopher Campbell told the first creditors meeting in Sydney on November 11 that it would take more than three months to calculate the final amounts MF Global Australia clients can claim.

He estimated that nearly half the total funds owed to the Australian business's clients were held in cash, with most of the remainder tied up with counterparties.

Further communication will be made with clients on Monday, the Deloite spokesman said.

Writing by Morag MacKinnon, Editing by Jonathan Thatcher

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