Financial storm calms as Macquarie Bank enters mediation

MACQUARIE Bank has agreed to enter mediation with Storm Financial clients engaging a class action against it.

Barrister John Sheahan told the Federal Court on Tuesday he and the bank's other legal representatives would meet in Brisbane next Friday for mediation.

The Storm investors are pursuing compensation from the bank, alleging "unconscionable conduct" for approving large loans and breaching loan contracts.

Many investors lost everything when Storm Financial collapsed just after the stock market crashed in 2008.

Law firm Levitt Robinson, which launched the class action, believes the mediation is the first "positive step" between the two parties.

Lawyer Stewart Levitt said, outside court, they were going in blind but it was worth exploring.

"Up until now there's been no real move towards settlement between Macquarie and ourselves," he said.

"Both sides have seen the whites of each others' eyes - people have a good idea what's at stake to both sides.

"There's always a price someone is prepared to buy and sell.

"Our clients are prepared to sell if the bank is prepared to meet that price."

The Australian Securities and Investments Commission is also pursuing Macquarie and Bank of Queensland in the Federal Court, arguing they were "knowingly concerned" with an unregistered investment scheme.

ASIC, which recently settled in a similar action against the Commonwealth Bank, has calculated investors lost about $830 million after Storm's collapse.



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