Former BBY executive chairman Glenn Rosewall, son of tennis great Ken Rosewall, took advice on major business decisions, including budget estimates and cashflow forecasts, from a 'professional intuitive and energy healer' Nevine Rottinger before the firm went bust in May 2015.
Rosewall and his father own the majority share of the firm, formerly Burdett Buckeridge Young Limited.
Psychic financial adviser
During a court hearing examining the company’s failure, it emerged that Rottinger, who has had no financial training, used chakras, incantations, astrology and “intuition” to determine share prices.
“We're made up of electromagnetic energy. We can manipulate that field... to create better outcomes,” Rottinger told liquidator KPMG, reported the Sydney Morning Herald.
“I just get an image in my mind that tells me what a price may be,” the psychic added, conceding she was “not always right”.
“I just get an image in my mind that tells me what a price may be.”
KPMG claims BBY was insolvent from 2011, accusing the firm of dipping into their client's money in a bid to claw its way out of financial trouble.
If proven, it could give liquidator ground to launch an insolvent trading claim against the firm's directors relating to the multi-million dollar losses – considered the largest failure of an Australian stockbroking firm since the global financial crisis.
The court heard Rosewall had wanted to try a “mind over matter approach” and sought out Rottinger’s counsel between 2010 and 2014, with the psychic charging A$300 for two hours of work.
Aside from financial advice, Rottinger also gave advice on shifting energy in the office, calming incantations and the chakras that influenced how he dealt with his workload.
The court heard Rosewall had kept his father and the rest of the BBY board in the dark about his activity with Rottinger, and was very secretive during quarterly financial presentations.
“Amongst many other things, Glenn wouldn't share revenue numbers, cost numbers with anyone, it was consistent with his secretive form,” former BBY chief executive Arun Maharaj told the court.
“Team managers would get budgets, but the firm as a whole wouldn't know how the firm was performing.”
Asked why he thought it was a good idea to consult Rottinger on stocker's financial problems and not with the board of BBY, Rosewall said it was a "hypothetical".
"She had a different perspective on things. I guess initially I was a little bit sceptical but I was open-minded to taking a meeting," he explained.
He said Rottinger was "entitled to an opinion" but it was not an "exact science" and he was "dismissive" of a lot of her "input".
In a liquidators' report filed on 9 September, KPMG said about 6000 of BBY's 30,000 former clients had potential claims against the firm totalling A$61m, although initial investigations have identified a A$23m shortfall in the money that can be used for client claims.