Peter Spann and Freeman Fox – The Untold Story

Freeman Fox was an innovative and exciting boutique investment service for everyday Australian’s that had as its goal teaching and helping people achieve financial freedom.

It was a multi-award winning firm that enjoyed over twenty years of success.

For clients it combined quality education with a sound investing philosophy.

For team members it was a unique and amazing place to work.

Whilst Freeman Fox ceased trading in January 2014, after 27 years in one form or another, it’s legacy lives on.

Peter Spann, as founder, created a new site dedicated to the history, team and clients of Freeman Fox, and as an information source for them.  It is not a trading company.

Answers to your Frequently Asked Questions here:

Does Peter Spann still own Freeman Fox?

No.

Freeman Fox was sold by Peter Spann in the following manner:

  • 2009: Funds Management sold to Fox Invest
  • 2010: Freeman Fox Property sold its rental roll and ceases to operate as a real estate agent
  • 2010: Freeman Fox Finance sold to Etica Finance
  • 2010: August:     Freeman Fox Securities sold to Excela and changes its name to Excela Stock Broking
  • 2012: October: Freeman Fox Wealth Club sold
  • 2013 July: Macquarie Structured Products sold to Macquarie
  • 2013: August: Freeman Fox sold to FNQ Wealth Creation.  Peter Spann resigns as Director and severs all ties
  • 2013: November: The new owners of Freeman Fox changes its name to Capital Advisers Pty Ltd

Peter Spann says, “All proceeds of these sales were retained by my bankers to retire debt.”

Does Freeman Fox still operate?

No – it was placed in the hands of a Liquidator by new owners on 31/1/2014

It is important to note that Peter Spann had no association with the company or its operation at that time.

No client lost money nor were clients’ investments impacted due to the prior sale or this action.

Why speak up now?

Peter Spann says, “Up until have been prevented contractually from speaking out”.

This restrictions have now expired and I have decided to offer my explanation, as best I can, in order to explain to former clients exactly what happened.

What happened to my investments?

All of the operating divisions of the company were sold.

Peter Spann has no position with any of those companies.

However, unless you instructed otherwise, your investments are still with the original managers.

The Freeman Fox Info site has much more information.  For contacts of the different fund managers who manage the investments click here:

Did you lose your license?

No.  Peter Spann did not ever lose or have his license restricted in any manner by any authority or regulatory body.

When he sold his business he sold any Australian Financial Services License (AFSL) they held and ceased to be a Responsible Executive or Authorised Representative of those AFSL’s at that time.  He does not currently hold an AFSL nor does he intend to do so in the foreseeable future.  He says, “Frankly, I simply found it too stressful.”

Running an AFSL is complicated, time consuming and expensive – it also requires a lot of experience.

Freeman Fox was sold and Peter Spann resigned as Director in Oct 2013.

Peter Spann resigned as Responsible Manager / Executtive soon after.

From that time on Peter had nothing to do with the company or its operation.

At the time of sale Freeman Fox was liquid, compliant, insured and licensed.  In fact ASIC had approved changes to it’s AFSL just weeks prior.

The name of the company was changed to Capital Advisers.

The new owners of the company appointed External Administrators on 7/1/2014

ASIC revoked Capital Advisor’s AFSL on 30/1/2014 as a consequence of that action.

A Liquidator was appointed on 31/1/2014.

Again, it is important to note that Peter Spann was not involved in the company in any manner what so ever after the sale.

What if I want to know more?

Peter Spann has set up a website specifically to inform previous customers of Freeman Fox

You can go to the site here:

The site contains a large amount of information including:

  • The History of Freeman Fox
  • Time line
  • How it all began
  • Customer Service and Team
  • Complaints
  • Compliance and Systems
  • Final Days
  • Investment information
  • Performance
  • The good, the bad and the ugly
  • Contact details for most investment managers

The site does not contain any investment advice or recommendations.

Freeman Fox and Peter Spann – Timeline

1987: Foundation of Lance Jones later sold to Freeman Fox and operated as Freeman Fox Securities

1995: Foundation of Freeman Fox – the seminar company

1995: Freeman Fox present’s Peter Spann’s enormously popular Wealth Magic series of seminars (over 70,000 graduates)

1999: Peter Spann’s book “From Broke to Multi-Millionaire in Just 7 Years” published by Harper Collins – translated to 5 different languages – worldwide best seller

2000: Freeman Fox acquires Bowden Securities (previously Lance Jones) and changes its name to Fox Trade

2001: Fox Trade acquires OAM and commences trading as a Stockbroker clearing through Commsec, later E*Trade

2001: Foundation of Freeman Fox Wealth Club – the Financial Planning company

2002: Foundation of Freeman Fox Property, Freeman Fox Finance, Freedom Factory and Freedom Events

2003: Freeman Fox moves to Waterfront Place, Brisbane

2003: Freeman Fox Capital raises $2.5m and commences a series of loans to Freeman Fox to help fund its expansion.  The intention was to eventually convert those loans to equity in Freeman Fox.

2005: Fox Trade changes its name to Freeman Fox to reflect the predominance of financial services in the business activities of the company

2005: NSX Listing of Property Fox – later Vertua

2007: May: ASX Listing of Fox Invest – later Excela

2007: Freeman Fox on the BRW Fast 100

2007: Freeman Fox Finalist in the Telstra Business Awards

2007: Freeman Fox acquires Financial Coordinators Australia

2007: Freeman Fox Group valued at $50million by merchant bankers in a potential float.

2007: Hostile takeover bid commenced for control of Property Fox.  Property Fox was at the time cash rich and the bidder saw an opportunity to gain control of that cash and the other assets of the company by offering less than the company’s real value.  Shareholders largely reject the offer.

2007: October: Property Fox Shareholders vote to return the Director’s of the company and ignore the Directors proposed by the attempted takeover bidder.

2008: Freeman Fox moves to 333 Ann St, Brisbane

2008: Freeman Fox Securities successfully settles law suit with former staff for compensation after they left the company with former clients

2008: October: Mike Willis appointed to the Board of Fox Invest

2008: November: Fox Invest Chairman John Fries flags the intention of the company to “examine opportunities for the company to acquire stakes in companies that offer value to shareholders”, ie: to acquire Freeman Fox

2009: April: Pritchard Equities ceases to be a shareholder in Property Fox and their takeover bid expires.

2009 August: Fox Invest Chairman John Fries passes away

2009: Fox Invest Shareholders vote to acquire Excela Funds Management

Excela Funds Management acquired by Fox Invest

Fox Invest changes its name to Excela and commences a new business plan of funds management

2009: Macquarie Structured Products reengineered to get them out of “cash locked” status – Volition is created with a 94% acceptance by clients.  All Volition products reach their expiry date with capital gains from that point from 11.46% to 64.45%

2010: Peter Spann personally guarantees the debts of the companies  and commences restructure

2010: Freeman Fox Property sold its rental roll and ceases to operate as a real estate agent

2010: Freeman Fox Finance sold to Etica Finance

2010: June: Funds Under Management reach $40M in Excela Asset Management

2010: June: As part of the restructure to allow the sale of Freeman Fox Securities to Excela, Financial Coordinators Australia is re-branded as Freeman Fox.  Freeman Fox commences to issue advice under its AFSL to clients.

2010: July: Excela Shareholders vote to acquire Freeman Fox Securities

2010: August:     Freeman Fox Securities acquired by Excela and changes its name to Excela Stock Broking

2010: August: Excela signs a Services Agreement with Freeman Fox to provide office space, Information  Technology framework, Intellectual Property, Access to Database and Personnel

(Peter Spann note: This agreement was to compensate Freeman Fox for the loss of revenue through the sale in anticipation of the complete acquisition of the remainder of the Freeman Fox group.  It was always intended as a short term measure, however the remainder of the acquisition never proceeded and this agreement contributed greatly to the issues  experienced by both companies in the ensuing years until its cancellation in 2013.  Had the full acquisition of Freeman Fox been executed, as was the vision of John Fries, it is doubtful these issues would have arisen.).

2011: Negotiation of Salary Package.
(Peter Spann note: This package was heavily debated.  On the surface it was extremely generous, however I wanted an incentive style package with a low base and a high incentive.  The Board insisted upon a higher base and a low incentive, however agreed to consider a staff wide incentive program.  The negotiation of this agreement and its subsequent iteration, as well as other matters, produced considerable ill- will between myself and the then Chairman, leading to his eventual resignation.)

2011: June: Freeman Fox Capital converts debt to equity in Excela Ltd.

2011: December: Resignation of Mike Willis as Chairman of Excela.  Peter Spann appointed as Executive Chairman.

2012: April: Enmass resignation of stock brokers from Excela forces cash flow crisis.

2012: August: Excela cancels Services Agreement with Freeman Fox severing ties between the two companies

2012: October: Freeman Fox Capital Shareholders vote to wind up the company.

2012: September: Significant restructure and downsizing of staff at Freeman Fox

2012: October: Freeman Fox Wealth Club sold

2012: November :  Resignation of CEO of Excela and resumption of Management of the Company by Peter Spann, who takes a significant reduction in salary.

2013: March: Peter Spann sells his stake in Excela and resigns as Director and Fund Manager

2013: March: A lender to Excela, Hammond and Simmons seizes Freeman Fox Investment’s shares in Vertua Ltd as Excela failed to advise them within 7 days of the sale of the change of ownership which under the loan agreement was an act of default.

2013: April: Peter Spann resigns as a Director of Vertua.

2013 July: Macquarie Structured Products sold back to Macquarie

2013: August: Freeman Fox sold to FNQ Wealth Creation.  Peter Spann resigns as Director.

2013: September: Peter Spann resigns as Responsible Manager of Freeman Fox and severs all ties

To learn more about what happened with Freeman Fox click here…