Plaintiff law firm Maurice Blackburn is inviting IOOF shareholders to join a class action against the financial services firm relating to IOOF's continuous disclosure obligations.
Maurice Blackburn is considering a potential shareholder class action against IOOF relating to the 13.3 per cent plunge in the company's share price on 20 June 2015 following the publication of allegations of misconduct by Fairfax.
IOOF's shares continued to fall as IOOF managing director Chris Kelaher faced a Senate committee public hearing into the matter on 7 July 2015.
In a statement, Maurice Blackburn said it has been investigating a shareholder class action in relation to "IOOF's alleged breaches of its continuous disclosure obligations under the ASX Listing Rules and the Corporations Act and possible misleading and deceptive conduct".
The class action is aimed at recovering losses for shareholders who purchased IOOF shares between 1 December 2013 and 19 June 2015.
"Based on our investigations Maurice Blackburn considers the alleged conduct and IOOF’s response to it was indicative of deep and systemic problems with the compliance culture of the research team, with weak internal controls, and repeated instances of misconduct that were not properly addressed," said Maurice Blackburn.
"Further, IOOF senior managers, including the board, were apparently aware of many of the allegations as they unfolded, and did not report them to ASIC.
"It appears that these matters were material and ought to have been reported to the market immediately senior personnel became aware of them (or ought to have been aware of them) in compliance with the ASX Listing Rules and the Corporations Act 2001," said the law firm.
IOOF released a statement rejecting Maurice Blackburn's claim that it "breached its continuous disclosure obligations or engaged in misleading or deceptive conduct".
"The plaintiff law firm Maurice Blackburn has announced that is has conducted investigations (which are apparently continuing) and is seeking expressions of interest from IOOF shareholders in joining a class action," said the IOOF statement.
"IOOF is confident that the proposed action described by Maurice Blackburn is misconceived both factually and at law. It would be purely speculative and is not in IOOF shareholders’ interests.
"IOOF complies with the law in relation to its continuous disclosure obligations and rejects any suggestion that its approach is inadequate. In the interests of its shareholders, IOOF will vigorously defend any claim," said IOOF.