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Money Week: avoid getting ripped off

Written By: - Date published: 2:35 pm, September 11th, 2012 - 23 comments
Categories: business, Economy - Tags:

The inaugural Money Week has just ended. A week of events and activities to raise awareness about how people can better manage their money (if they have any) and get help to do so. With so many financial instruments out there all prostituting themselves for your hard earned or saved cash – choosing a product that doesn’t result in a fiscally transmitted disease can be difficult.

Since 2006, 66 New Zealand finance companies, funds and mortgage trusts have failed (closed, liquidation, receivership, moratorium, suspended). An estimated $3.5 billion has already been lost with another $8.6 billion still at risk. The Retail Deposit Guarantee Scheme repaid 38,459 investors with a total amount of $1,831 billion dollars. Receiver fees were approximately $22m and legal costs about $10m, with both sure to rise.

Approximately 205,000 people have been left permanently disfigured by this necrotising fortunitis. On post mortem, the Financial Markets Authority identified “significantly inadequate and incomplete disclosure in offer documents and advertisements, and at times the failure of corporate governance in the operations of the companies.”

On that note, my belated contribution to Money Week is to reiterate to all the mums and dads who still have money – before deciding to invest in NZ Assets – scrutinize with a nit comb the offer documents as provided by NZ Inc. trading as the government. Things to be wary of include: a tino rangatiratanga flag on a power pole; power stations lit by candlelight; a water meter stuck to a dam; change of name to Mighty Creek Power; a taniwha as trustee; more wind generation from John Key.

In closing, a eulogy to the many thousands of investors relegated to steerage by the following captains of capital:

  1. National Finance, receivership May 06; 2,026 investors owed $25.5m; Directors: Trevor Allan LUDLOW, Carol Anne BRAITHWAITE and Anthony David BANBROOK; Ludlow convicted under the Crimes Act.

  2. Provincial Finance, receivership June 06; approx 14,000 investors owed $296m; Directors: John Simon EDILSON and Philip Brent WHEELER.

  3. Western Bay Finance, receivership Aug 06; 2, 500 investors owed $48m; Directors: James Lindsay SMYLIE and Kaaren Ilse SMYLIE.
  4. First Step Trusts, closed Nov 06; 7,000 investors owed $457m; mezzanine loan investments sold to conservative investors through Money Manager franchises; publicly available records highlights a complex web of inter-relationships between Money Managers founder Doug Somers-Edgar and NZ Funds Management directors and shareholders Gerald Siddall and Russell Tills through at least six companies that benefit financially from First Step.
  5. Bridgecorp Ltd, receivership Jul 07; 14,500 investors owed $459m; Directors: Rodney Michael PETRICEVIC, Bruce Nelson DAVIDSON, Peter David STEIGRAD, Gary Kenneth URWIN and Cornelis Robert ROEST; Petricevic, Roest convicted on Crimes, Company and Securities Act charges. Steigrad convicted under the Securities Act. Urwin and Davidson plead guilty to charges.
  6. Bridgecorp Investments, liquidation Jul 07; 1,334 investors owed $29m; Bridgecorp related entity.
  7. Nathans Finance, receivership Aug 07; 7,082 investors owed $174m; Directors: Mervyn Ian DOOLAN, Kenneth Roger MOSES and Donald Menzies YOUNG; Moses, Doolan and Young found guilty on five charges of breaching the Securities Act.
  8. Chancery Finance, liquidation Aug 07; 1,374 investors owed $17.5m; Director: Gary James STEVENS; Dame Thea Muldoon, the wife of the former prime minister the late Sir Robert Muldoon invested in Chancery
  9. Propertyfinance Group and Propertyfinance Securities, moratorium Aug 07; 3, 000 investors owed $80m; Directors: Darryl Bruce QUEEN, Barnaby Innes SUNDSTRUM and Peter John Morgan TAYLOR; Propertyfinance Securities is a subsidiary under moratorium to 2016 to repay investors.
  10. Five Star Consumer Finance, receivership Aug 07; 2,130 investors owed $54m; Directors: Nicholas George KIRK, Marcus Arthur MACDONALD and Anthony Walpole BOWDEN; Kirk and MacDonald convicted on charges under the Crimes Act, Bowden convicted under the Securities Act.
  11. Antares, liquidation Aug 07; 100 investors owed $3.2m; Directors: Anthony Walpole BOWDEN, Nicholas George KIRK and Marcus Arthur MACDONALD; Bowden, Kirk and MacDonald convicted under the Crimes Act.
  12. Five Star Finance, liquidation June 08; 200 investors owed $42m; Directors: Anthony Walpole BOWDEN, Nicholas George KIRK and Marcus Arthur MACDONALD; Bowden, Kirk and MacDonald convicted under Securities and Crimes Acts
  13. LDC Finance, receivership Sept 07; 1,198 investors owed $22m; Directors: Kevin ELLIOTT, David Gordon MILLER and Christopher John HARDIMAN.
  14. Finance and Investments, receivership Sept 07; 370 investors owed $16m; structured as a partnership between Andrew Harding and Murray Scholfield, LDC’s majority owners.
  15. Clegg and Co, receivership Oct 07; 496 investors owed $15.1m; Director: Brian Samuel CLEGG; Clegg admitted breaching the Securities and Companies Acts by signing untrue prospectuses, giving false or misleading reports and quarterly returns to Clegg & Co Finance’s trustee, and attempting to deceive the Securities Commission.
  16. Beneficial Finance, moratorium Oct 07; 497 investors owed $24.2m; Directors: Mervyn John OLDHAM, Simon Craig OLDHAM and Kane Edward OLDHAM.
  17. Geneva Finance, moratorium Oct 07; 3,292 investors owed $142m; Directors: Peter Edward FRANCIS, David Gerard O’CONNELL, Ronald Robin KING and David William SMALE.
  18. Capital + Merchant Finance, liquidation Nov 07; 7,500 investors owed $167m; Directors: Robert Gordon SUTHERLAND, Neal Medhurst NICHOLLS, Owen Francis TALLENTIRE and Colin Gregory RYAN; Nicholls, Tallentire and Ryan convicted under the Crimes Act.
  19. Capital + Merchant Investments, receivership Nov 7; 60 investors owed $1.5m; As above.
  20. Numeria Finance, receivership Dec 07; 480 investors owed $6.7m; Directors: Owen Francis TALLENTIRE and Neal Medhurst NICHOLLS.
  21. MFS Pacific Finance, failed Mar 08; 11,000 investors owed $274.9M; Director: Jason Robert Duncan MAYWALD.
  22. Boston Finance, receivership Mar 08; 1,300 investors owed $40m; Directors: Adrian Lance GREEN and Stephen Kingsley Edgar TURNER.
  23. ING Funds x 2, failed Mar 08; 13,000 owed $800m; 49% owned by ANZ, with the remainder by ING, a huge Dutch financial house.
  24. QED, failed Mar 08; 40 investors owed $4.5m; Director: Sharon Mary Day; Day convicted of offering securities without a prospectus.
  25. Lombard Finance & Investments, receivership Apr 08; 3,900 investors owed $111m; Directors: The Hon William Patrick JEFFRIES, The Rt Hon Sir Douglas Arthur Montrose GRAHAM, Lawrence Roland Valpy BRYANT and Michael Howard REEVES; All four directors convicted on criminal charges.
  26. Kiwi Finance, receivership Apr 08; 42 investors owed $1.2m; Directors: Rodney Seymour Roberts GREENSILL and Barry Noel LAMBERT; Rhys Greensill says his family is repaying the full reparation of $1.2 million to investors out of a “sense of moral obligation”.
  27. Tower Mortgage and Fund, closed Apr 08; 5,000 investors owed $242m; owned and administered by Trustees Executors Ltd, chaired by former Prime Minister Jim Bolger.
  28. Cymbis NZ / Fairview, receivership Mar 08; 797 investors owed $6.9m; Director: Owen Francis TALLENTIRE.
  29. Belgrave Finance, receivership May 08; 1,000 investors owed $20.5m; Directors: Stephen Charles SMITH and Shane Joseph BUCKLEY; Buckley convicted of criminal charges.
  30. IMP Diversified Income Fund, moratorium Jun 08; 1,015 investors owed $15.8m; Directors: Ruth Margaret RICHARDSON (ex Finance Minister) and Christopher Carbrook ALPE.
  31. Dominion Finance, liquidation Jun 08; 5,939 investors owed $276m; Directors: Terence Maxwell BUTLER, Ann Kathleen BUTLER, Vance Eric ARKINSTALL, Paul Winstone FORSYTH, Robert Barry WHALE and Richard Gilbert BETTLE; T. Butler and Whale, and others, facing criminal prosecutions.
  32. North South Finance, receivership Jun 08; 6,925 investors owed $100m; Directors: Richard Gilbert BETTLE and Vance Eric ARKINSTALL; Criminal charges laid against Bettle and Arkinstall.
  33. St Laurence, receivership Jun 08, 9,000 investors owed $245m; Directors: Kevin John PODMORE, Sandra Ann LEE and John James GOSNEY.
  34. Dorchester Finance, moratorium Jun 08; 7,200 investors owed $168m; Directors: Paul Anthony BYRNES, Michael John FISHER, John James GOSNEY, Stephen SINCLAIR and Grant BAKER.
  35. Canterbury Mortgage Trust, closed July 08; 5,000 investors owed $250m; Trustee Executive: Don McBeath; Fund Managers Canterbury (FMC) is the company that ran the mortgage fund and was paid fees for that. It was set up in 1999 by four law firms to pool their lending operations and attract other law firms to join.
  36. Hanover Finance, moratorium Jul 08; 13,000 investors owed $465m; Director: Mark Stephen HOTCHIN; FMA pursuing civil action against Hotchin and others.
  37. Hanover Capital, moratorium Jul 08; 1,100 investors owed $24m; Director: Mark Stephen HOTCHIN; FMA pursuing civil action against Hotchin and others.
  38. United Finance, moratorium Jul 08; 2,400 investors owed $65m; Director: Mark Stephen HOTCHIN; part of the Hanover group of companies.
  39. Guardian Mortgage Fund, closed Jul 08; 3,700 investors owed $249m; New Zealand Guardian Trust suspended new investments and withdrawals in the Guardian Mortgage Fund.
  40. Totara Mortgage First Mortgage Fund, closed Jul 08; 2,400 investors owed $60m; Fund Chairman, Mark Hopkinson; Fund sold through the Money Managers financial advice group.
  41. AMP Property Fund, suspended Aug 08; 2,900 investors owed $419m; Spokes person, Murray Gribben, Managing Director of AMP Capital New Zealand which owns the fund.
  42. Axa Mortgage Bonds, closed Aug 08; 90 investors owed $117m; Spokes person Ralph Stewart, CEO of Axa New Zealand which owns the fund.
  43. Strategic Finance, liquidation Aug 08; 14,020 investors owed $391m; Directors: Michael (Jock) James Bowie HOBBS, Marc Aubrey LINDALE, Denis Grenville THOM, David John WOLFENDEN, Graham Edward JACKSON and Kerry FINNIGAN.
  44. All Purpose Finance ta St Kilda, receivership Aug 08; 358 investors owed $6.9m; Directors: Peter James HUTCHISON, John Edward FARRY, Oliver Roderick MATSON, Wendy Joan STEIN and Stuart Alexander McCrae PERRY.
  45. Compass Capital, receivership Aug 08; 800 investors owed $15m; Director: Robert John MOODY and Ian Wayne GLADWELL; Company linked to Bridgecorp.
  46. Waipawa Finance, liquidation Aug 08; 220 investors owed $20m; Director: Warren David Bruce PICKETT; Pickett convicted under Crimes and Securities Acts.
  47. Axa Mortgage Funds x 3, suspended Oct 08; 5,000 investors owed $225m; Spokesperson, Ralph Stewart, CEO of Axa New Zealand which owns the funds.
  48. Guardian Mortgage Units, suspended Nov 08; 4,500 investors owed $56m; Spokesperson, Sean Carroll , Managing Director of Guardian Trust which owns the Units.
  49. Orange Finance, receivership Dec 08; 2,500 investors owed $25.6m; Director: Douglas Lloyd SOMERS-EDGAR.
  50. Mascot Finance, receivership Mar 09; 2,511 investors owed 69m; Directors: Kenneth Alexander LANE, Judith Elizabeth LANE, Brian Patrick KREFT and David John STOCK.
  51. Strata Finance, receivership, Apr 09; 21 investors owed .5m; Directors: Alan Walton ROBERTSON and Robert Keith TUCKER.
  52. Structured Finance, moratorium May 09; 172 investors owed $32.5m; company owned by Auckland-based financier Martyn REESBY. Moratorium defaulted on in 2011.
  53. Vision Securities, receivership Apr 10; 953 investors owed $28m; Directors: Robert Athol FOSTER, Aaron James Ivan ARMSTRONG, John Llewellyn JACKSON, Matthew Clement CURRIE, Bruce Charles DAVIDSON and Ronald Douglas ANDERSON.
  54. Rural Portfolio Investments and Rural Portfolio Capital, receivership May 10; McConnon Family owed 60m; Rural Portfolio Investments was set up in 2003 as a joint venture between Craig Norgate and Otago’s McConnon family with the aim of investing in Wrightson, later merged with Pyne Gould Guinness to form PGG Wrightson and as a vehicle for other agribusiness investments.
  55. Rockforte Finance, receivership May 10; 77 investors owed $3.86m; Directors: Nigel Brent O’LEARY, John Patrick GARDNER and Colin Mark SIMPSON; the three directors facing criminal charges.
  56. Viaduct Capital, receivership May 10; 110 investors owed $7.8M; Directors: Bruce Alexander MCKAY and Richard Timothy BLACKWOOD.
  57. Aorangi Securities, statutory management Jun 10; 407 investors owed $98m; Directors: Allan James HUBBARD and Margaret Jane HUBBARD.
  58. Mutual Finance, receivership Jul 10; 400 investors owed $8m; Directors: Lance David MORRISON, Paul Neville BUBLITZ and Paul Raymond Shelley HOCKING (Director of the Institute of the Finance Professionals).
  59. Hubbard Management Funds, statutory management Jul 10; unknown number of investors owed $70m; Allan James HUBBARD and Margaret Jane HUBBARD.
  60. Allied Nationwide Finance, receivership Aug 10; 4,500 investors owed $130m; Directors: Garry Charles BLUETT, Philip Charles LUSCOMBE, Richard Nelson SPEIRS and Paul Alexander MACFIE; subsidiary of Allied Farmers.
  61. South Canterbury Finance, receivership Aug 10; 35,000 investors owed $1.6billion; Director: Stuart James MCLAUCHLAN. Company connected to Allan James Hubbard.
  62. Equitable Mortgages, receivership Nov 10; 6,000 investors owed $178m; Equitable Mortgages is part of Equitable Group which is owned by Chris Spencer, a member of one of New Zealand’s wealthiest families.
  63. Finance and Leasing, receivership Jan 11; 227 investors owed $17m; Directors; David Kipp ALEXANDER and Graeme John MARRIOTT.
  64. NZF Money, receivership Jul 11, 300 investors owed $16.4m; Directors: Pat Redpath O’CONNOR and Mark Hume THORNTON.
  65. Midlands Mortgage Fund, suspended Oct 11; $43m owed to an unknown number of investors; The fund, set up by three central North Island law firms, was one of the creditors of Mr Serepisos, who was declared bankrupt last month over debts of more than $22m. It is unclear how much Midlands had loaned him.
  66. Perpetual Mortgage Fund, moratorium Jul 12; unknown owed $63.4m; fund owned by Pyne Gould’s Perpetual Trust; Pyne’s Gould Managing Director: George Charles Desmond Kerr; Perpetual’s funds have come under scrutiny after the Court of Appeal quashed a bid by Perpetual parent Pyne Gould to keep details of an investigation into related-party loans to George Kerr’s Torchlight fund under wraps.

The above list is a compilation of publicly available information sourced from the following sites:


23 comments on “Money Week: avoid getting ripped off ”

  1. Tiger Mountain 1

    Sort of puts WINZ “benefit fraud” into perspective. How about including the current account deficit as well, the CAD consists substantially of repatriated profits to overseas owned corporates. Another form of business fraud.

    • David H 1.1

      I did a rough count and these fucking thieves have stolen over 6 BILLION dollars. And all they got was a smack on the hand.

  2. Marjorie Dawe 2

    It is quite amazing that a lot of the assets have been sold on at fire sale prices and only a fraction of what they are worth. Hubbard assets were a good example of this.

    • tc 2.1

      SCF bailout has a stench the Gov’t would like you all to look away from and focus on the PM making another funny.

      How many other finance companies participants got such treatment ?

      Hotchin’s a sacrificial lamb, deserving but largely symbolic as not one of the old boys club he’s expendable. Their deal with Allied farmers had a real whiff to it which ended up stinking Allied out.

    • insider 2.2

      Yes toxic loans with little hope of repayment are worth so much….

  3. Marjorie Dawe 3

    I wonder how many mum and dad investors actually have any money left after all of this fraud. Its a bit off that these criminals get off so lightly if they ever get to court yet someone who is hungry and lifts food from a supermarket probably gets a harsher punishment.

  4. Dv 4

    That is a depressing list. It is good that it has been collected and placed in one spot.

  5. tc 5

    This list is one reason why our regulatory framework is regarded as a joke and complicit in the rip off by standing around doing squat in terms of transparency and publicly charging those not complying.

    Having no decent journalism is also a factor as Hotchin had form from his coromandel affairs (as does blinky) and the bulk of them were second tier lenders to over geared developers which’s a classic house of cards.

    Strengthening the NZX with SOE floats is like strengthening a paper mache house with some more paper mache.

  6. tracey 6

    Could we add the liquidating of developing and building companies on a per project basis to avoid liability for the next ten years, thus passing the cost of their particular brand of “entrepreneurism” on tot he local councils (Ratepayers) to foot the bill.

  7. Rich 7

    From my old blog, 2005: http://observationz.blogspot.co.nz/2005/03/accidents-waiting-to-happen.html

    There should be a rule that any organisation borrowing from the public has to comply with banking reserve and prudential requirements (which can only be met by large organisations with the ability to spread risk across thousands of accounts). Ideally, all banks would be state or community owned.

    Labour could and should have closed the finance companies. Unfortunately, they saw keeping the credit driven property boom (which was giving their voters the illusion of wealth) as critical.

    • mike e 7.1

      they tried to regulate the finance companies i pretty sure peters and dunne undermined the legislation

      • Colonial Viper 7.1.1

        That’s a pretty piss poor excuse mike e. Cullen must have known how poor the prudential practices at many of those firms were.

        95% of those finance companies should have been regulated out of existence a long time before they failed.

    • prism 7.2

      rich 7
      Well said.

  8. Raymond A Francis 8

    You have to wonder who was running the country while these people were building their gilded fantasy traps

  9. prism 9

    How enigmatic is that? Was she meaning Rich and was she being ironic?

  10. prism 10

    What a time consuming job and how illuminating your post is. The news comes up about this or that company having been caught out then they pass like ships in the night with more following singly. Seeing them all together is mind-numbing. But I guess that’s the last thing to do – let your mind go numb. This Money Week you refer to, it hasn’t crossed my narrow view. So I need to keep alert about it all year acshully.

    Another thing that gets me is how the politicians and economists always waffle on negatively about setting an interest ceiling on the basis that it will become the rate of choice for everyone. A few Money Week graduates banging desks might ensure that the rip-off merchants can’t charge as high as 500 per cent (I believe). And I think it is possible to forbid interest being quoted at a daily rate, which is one of the innocent-sounding scams the boys and girls from the ‘hood pull.

  11. Adele 11

    Tēnā koe, Prism

    Thank you. It was you that prompted me to add more flesh to the bones. I came across Money Week in my research efforts, and thought – what a perfect angle. The unfortunate reality about loan sharks is that they will continue to exist for as long as there is a desperate need or want for money.

    • prism 11.1

      Kia Ora Adele
      Well what you supplied was a knockout. Ordinary people don’t understand the immensity of the losses so grouping them great as I said. And Money Week excellent idea.

      I was concerned when I read that USA businesses were offering financial training in schools. I had the feeling that it was brainwashing by them to gain future customers. And that is no doubt true but I think the importance of understanding our system of exchange and how we should use it and make sure it’s not abused needs to start at primary.

      Kia pai tō rā (I discovered the Omniglot page with phrases so may get to practice on you now and then if okay.)

  12. RedLogix 12

    I’ve been too busy to properly write up the Steven Keen seminar on Monday, but briefly: during the excellent Q&A session at the end, Keen was quite dismissive of the whole ‘mum and dad’ investor notion.

    “They should be in their bedrooms and with their kids … investment is for entrepreneurs and fund managers”

    This response arose in the context of a question about ‘guaranteed minimum incomes’, of which Keen was very supportive.

    And he is quite right, ordinary people have far more important priorities in life and there is far too big an asymmetry of information flow for them to ever be successful investors. Ordinary honest people need a reliable income from an sound source, it’s just wrong to force them into the clutches of thieves and con-men.

  13. ad 13

    I am just so pleased to see someone took the time to assemble all of this – it looked like a huge amount of work. Huge respect to the author.

    205,000 people is like a massive slice of those with significant savings – better known as New Zealand’s middle class – having their lives permanently damaged. The whole nation is greatly poorer as a result.

  14. vto 14

    A sad but real account, missing only a few components of the story. Such as – most documents in fact outlined in enough detail where the invested money was going. It was going to property and development lending mostly. This was clear and enabled me to guide my own family away from the deals. I recall one such document which went like this, all in clear english….

    It was a retirement village. Stage I had been completed and they needed money for stage II. The idea was that all money anticipated to be raised by developing and selling stage II would be advanced to the developer by the investments made. Those investments would then be repaid on completion of the development and sale of stage II. Did you see what they did there? They included the anticipated profit in the advance. The developer got the profit before a spade had even entered the dirt.

    The above example was explained in the documents but it took some time to figure it out. My parents had already read it and completely missed the scheme. They did not invest and the scheme went bust.

    Point: Much of the information was in fact printed but people either did not bother reading (why bother when Doug Graham is there ay?) or they did not understand the deal.

    And here is the other nuance – herd behaviour. Typical of boom and bust. Everyone piled in. And then when it started to wobble everyone piled out. All at the same time. Typical. Bloody lemmings off the cliff hastening their own demise. If one is going to follow the herd then expect herd-like results.

    Both those points are a bit rough on the investors and are just a sideline to the fundamental flaws inherent in the finance company business model.

    Actually, a third point. Most of that money has not been “lost”, it has simply changed to a different form elsewhere in the economy, in different hands.

    Here is the solution – ban usury.

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