Justice scales and gavel by books

An Ontario court has approved a $78-million distribution to two institutional investors who held units in a Bridging Finance Inc. fund, and authorized the company’s receiver to process claims from other investors.

The Ontario Superior Court of Justice on Tuesday ordered PricewaterhouseCoopers Inc. (PwC) to distribute a portion of the cash held by the Bridging SMA2 LP fund. The distribution would go proportionately to the fund’s only two unitholders: $67.7 million to Blue Cross Life Insurance Company of Canada and $10.3 million to Canassurance Hospital Services Association.

The court also approved a procedure for PwC to identify and quantify the claims from Bridging investors.

In previous court proceedings, PwC indicated it was hoping to get court approval for an initial distribution to Bridging investors — who are facing more than $1 billion in losses (according to reports from the receiver) — by June 30.

However, earlier this month PwC said that several issues need to be resolved before it can make distributions.

On Tuesday, the court ordered PwC to deliver a proof of claim form and other documents to each known claimant. Investors must return their proof of claim to PwC by 5 p.m. on Sept. 19. Claims received after the deadline “will be forever barred and extinguished,” the motion said.

The claims package and other information can be found at PwC’s website.

PwC was appointed as Bridging’s receiver in April 2021 at the request of the Ontario Securities Commission (OSC), amid concerns about possible misconduct involving Bridging funds.

Earlier this year, the OSC filed allegations against several top executives at the firm. Those allegations have not been proven.