Ross Asset Management receivers PwC say can only find NZ$10m of investments held for purported investments of NZ$450m; Fund insolvent, Group to be liquidated

By Alex Tarrant

Returns reported for the supposed NZ$450 million Ross Asset Management 'investment fund' were likely exaggerated and possibly fictitious, while withdrawals by investors over the last five years appear to have been funded by contributions made by other investors, receivers PwC say, in language that hints at a Ponzi scheme.

More than NZ$60 million was withdrawn from the fund than was contributed over the last five years, meaning the Ross Group lacked adequate liquidity to meet further withdrawal requests from its 900-odd investors, the receivers said in a report released on Thursday.

Withdrawals during the period appeared "to have largely been funded by pooled funds which include the contributions made by other investors coupled with the sale of investments." Meanwhile, almost NZ$30 million in management fees had been paid out since 2000, the report showed.

The receivers also said "unrealistic" historical returns reported by the investment fund for more than a decade were likely exaggerated and possibly fictitious, as they try to ascertain whether investments claimed by manager David Ross on behalf of investors actually exist.

The receivers said they had found no evidence so far of the vast majority of the fund's purported overseas holdings; they had so far identified only NZ$10.2 million of actual holdings. They noted an absence of robust systems and processes.

None of the Ross Group entities were audited, the receivers said.

Frozen

Wellington-based Ross Asset Management’s assets, and a number of related companies, were frozen by the Financial Markets Authority on November 2 after the FMA received complaints from investors unable to withdraw funds several months after requesting them.

The FMA had executed a search warrant from October 31 to November 2 on the offices and home of the fund’s manager, David Ross, after Ross was unable to “satisfy serious concerns” raised by the FMA during initial inquiries.

PwC, who were appointed receivers of the fund and related companies on November 6, released a report on Thursday highlighting their initial inquiries into the fund’s purported investments and financial position.

The report, prepared by John Fisk and David Bridgman of PwC, with the assistance of First NZ Capital, explained that Ross Asset Management’s records showed purported investments of NZ$449.6 million, held on behalf of more than 900 investors across 1,720 accounts, the FMA said on Thursday.

“This figure represents the portfolio values reported by Ross Asset Management to investors, not their actual capital contributions, or the current value of those contributions. The latter figures are yet to be determined,” the FMA said.

“The receivers and managers’ focus over the first five days of their appointment has been to identify and secure investment assets. After searching the custody accounts identified by Mr Ross and through wider searches in international investment markets, they have so far located investments of only NZ$10.2 million. The search continues.”

Accordingly, there was a significant gap in the identified market value of the Group’s investments as against the amounts reported in investors’ portfolios, Fisk and Bridgman said.

“The analysis of the Receivers and Managers to date indicates it is likely the historical returns advised to investors are exaggerated and may possibly be fictitious,” they said.

“Therefore, the actual cash loss that may eventually be suffered by the remaining investors will differ from the amounts currently showing as the “value” in individual investors’ portfolios.”

“In our opinion, the Investment Fund managed by the Ross Group is insolvent, as it cannot repay the value of the portfolios reported to investors as they become due in the ordinary course of business. We firmly believe a recovery strategy needs to be immediately addressed to maximise investor interests," Fisk and Bridgman said.

"Therefore, we have recommended the Ross Group entities be placed in liquidation because this will help with the realisation of assets for the benefit of investors.”

Read the full PwC report here.

No auditors

David Ross, who is currently hospitalised, was the sole director of all entities under investigation and appeared to have sole responsibility for all funds management, research and investment decisions, supported by two administrative assistants who advised they had no significant decision making authority, the receivers said.

"Mr Ross also appears to have been the sole party who liaised with investors to attract new contributions and to inform them of the decisions he had made regarding their investment portfolios," Fisk and Bridgman said.

"We would ordinarily expect, given the quantum of investors and funds involved, that a more robust governance, management and organisational structure would have existed (e.g. an investment committee to assist with investment decisions) together with more sophisticated information systems," they said.

"None of the Ross Group entities were audited and we would have expected that the Ross Group would have been audited."

In some instances Ross' shareholdings in the entities were held jointly either with his brother, Gregory J Ross or his wife, Jillian E Ross.

"We have not yet been able to meet with David Ross as he is currently hospitalised. However, we have had contact with Gregory Ross, Jillian Ross and their legal advisors, all of whom have provided some assistance with our inquiries," the receivers said.

Unrealistic returns

Based on the Group’s own records there had been significant net cash outflows to investors in the last five years to the extent that in the receivers’ opinion the Group had lacked adequate liquidity to meet further withdrawals by investors.

“Funds withdrawn by investors over the last 5 years have exceeded funds contributed by more than NZ$60 million,” Fisk and Bridgman said.

“What this table [above] does not show are any movements pre 2000 (which we understand did occur) or contributions that investors may have made by transferring in share portfolios they may previously have held in their own names,” they said.

“It also does not show any movements in the trading position of the investors’ portfolios as a consequence of these portfolios having appreciated in value.

“However, given that the current portfolio value is supposedly still in the order of NZ$449.6 million, there remains an unaccounted contribution and / or growth factor of NZ$465.374 million (i.e. NZ$449.6 million plus NZ$15.774 million).

“This means that the pre-2000 net contributions would need to be significant and / or the aggregate portfolio investment return would have to have averaged at least 25%p.a. compounding for the 12 year period, which in the circumstances, we believe is unrealistic,” they said.

Where did the money go?

Analysis of the Group’s database to date purportedly showed the market value of share investments of NZ$449.6 million spread across the following markets:

  • Australia: NZ$152,393,272
  • New Zealand: NZ$3,763,012
  • Canada: NZ$136,123,067
  • United States: NZ$156,390,350
  • Other: NZ$943,332

Concern; Low-value, high risk stocks

The majority of shares purportedly owned by the Ross Group on behalf of investors were recorded as held in the name of Bevis Marks Corporation Limited, the receivers said.

“The total value of shares which the Group's records show as being held by Bevis Marks is NZ$437.6 million, however, to date we have not been able to verify any material portion of these investments with external sources and there is a lack of supporting evidence in the Group’s records in respect of these investments,” Fisk and Bridgman said.

“So far we have identified actual holdings in the Ross Group, including those held in related party names and investor names through our verification processes, having a current market valuation of only NZ$10.214 million,” they said.

“It is important to note that we are still continuing with numerous enquiries of overseas share brokers and registries to further ascertain shares held within the Group and the value of those holdings.

“However it is of considerable concern that whilst the Group’s internal records show shareholdings with a value of NZ$449.6 million we have only been able to verify NZ$10.214 million. We have also identified cash held in various NZ and overseas bank accounts which we estimate as being no more than NZ$0.2 million.

“It should also be noted that the market value of a number of the remaining investments we have identified are lower than the original cost prices recorded in various portfolios of the Ross Group,” Fisk and Bridgman said.

“Furthermore, we have evidenced from recent contract notes of the Group, trading losses on a number of shares, many of which appear to be low value and high risk stocks,” they said.

'No evidence of holdings'

In trying to find evidence of the purported NZ$450 million holdings, the receivers said securities data (excluding cash) was extracted from the Access Database operated by the Ross Group. The data showed the name of each security and the volume stated to be held by each investor along with the purported location and market valuation.

"The database has not been maintained since circa September 2012, so any recent securities transactions have not been recorded and we have not reviewed any reconciliations (if they were performed) pre September 2012," the receivers said.

Further work was being performed with Ross Group’s IT administrator to build a more complete data set (i.e. cash and securities).

"From the database as at the date of receivership it was established that NZ$449.6 million of securities was purported to be held in investor portfolios with various brokers and registries. Of this, as noted above, NZ$437.6 million was stated to be held with Bevis Marks which had purported holdings of NZ$145.9 million in Australian securities, NZ$135.1 million in Canadian securities, NZ$156.1 million in US securities and NZ$0.4 million of UK/Euro/NZ securities," Fisk and Bridgman said.

"If these holdings are correct, Bevis Marks purported holdings in some securities would be amongst the 20 largest holders of those securities (Roc Oil, Catamaran Corp, and Santos Limited). No evidence of these holdings specifically linked to Bevis Marks has been found in publicly available securities registers," they said.

If the holdings were valid, they must be held through broker / financial institution nominee companies through relationships with the Ross Group.

"We have not identified any such holdings at this point," Fisk and Bridgman said.

Hand-written notes

A review of one investor portfolio indicated that contracts with Bevis Marks were referenced with “DRGR” or “David Ross” to denote the (original) largely hand-written instructions of Mr Ross to his administration staff to reflect transactions in the database that he directed, whereas contract notes from brokers were generally referenced with contract note numbers (as received from the counter party broker and input to the database by the relevant staff member).

"On this particular portfolio, realised gains and losses for non-Bevis Marks trades averaged $11k in losses from 36 trades and $11k in gains from 44 trades for a net return of $83k for years 2000-2012. Realised gains and losses for Bevis Marks trades averaged $17k in losses from 44 trades and $31k in gains from 90 trades for a net return of $2.06m from 2001-12," the receivers said.

"Accordingly for this investor at least, the vast majority of the net returns were purportedly made through Bevis Marks."

Further analysis of the Access Database records was continuing.

Absence of robust systems & processes

"At the time of writing, assets identified by the Advisors total NZ$10.214 million of which NZ$1.376 million is stock held direct in Ross Group entity names at share registries. NZ$2.753 million are assets in Ross Group investor account names at brokers and held direct at the registry, and NZ$0.409 million relates to accounts and stock in the name of related parties. The balance of NZ$5.676 million is stock / balances held in Ross Group entity names (including Ace, Vivian and Ross Units Trusts Limited) at identified brokers," the receivers said.

"This reconciliation of investments will continue to be updated on a regular basis by the Advisors as further registry checking is completed and any new relevant information comes to light," they said.

"However, it is apparent...that from the work done to date, there is a significant gap between the total reported value attributed to investors’ portfolios at 30 September 2012 of NZ$449.6 million and the assets identified by the Advisors to date.

"In the absence of robust systems and processes, including a full set of adequate records, the use of multiple broker account relationships (including some accounts held in Ross Group investor names and controlled by Ross Group) along with the combination of securities held in broker nominee companies and other stock held direct at registries (for both Ross Group entities and some Ross Group investors) is difficult to administer and control," the receivers said.

"It also makes it reasonably difficult for any independent reviewer to readily reconcile an overall position of what securities are held, where they are held and the transaction history," Fisk and Bridgman said.

"The fact that no records exist at the business address of the Ross Group, other than on the Access Database to reflect the apparent directions of Mr Ross to his staff in relation to Bevis Marks depository and other entries on Ross Group investor portfolios for the purported primary security depository, is highly unusual," they said.

"The method of data entry of Bevis Marks entries to the Access Database without any independent verification records held by the business in the form of broker transaction statements / portfolio valuations, broker contract notes or registry records provides the opportunity for misrepresentation of records due to the lack of controls.

"On 8 November 2012 we received confirmation from Mr Ross via his brother, Mr Greg Ross, that all records relating to Bevis Marks were held on the computer systems at the Ross Group’s offices in Wellington. Such records have not revealed, at this stage, any significant third party confirmation of where assets are held," Fisk and Bridgman said.

(UPDATE: PWC have revised their Ross Group Ownership Structure diagram. The following is the updated structure.)

See the release from PwC below:

PwC Partners John Fisk and David Bridgman as Receivers and Managers to Ross Asset Management Limited and related entities, have provided a report to both the High Court in Wellington and the Financial Markets Authority (FMA). The submission of the report is in accordance with the orders of the High Court dated Tuesday 6 November 2012. The Court has now ordered the report to be released so investors are fully informed. 
  
Mr Fisk says, “The report outlines our appointment and the actions undertaken to date. It also includes recommendations as to the likely next steps and future for the Ross Group.” 

Since being appointed, work has been undertaken to verify the Ross Group’s assets in New Zealand and overseas, while also analysing the Group’s records to determine the position of the investors’ portfolios. 

To date, the Receivers and Managers have identified 1,720 individual investor accounts holding purported investments of NZ$449.6 million. However, the Receivers and Managers and their expert advisors have only been able to identify $10.214 million of investments held.  

Accordingly, there is a significant gap in the identified market value of the Group’s investments as against the amounts reported in investors’ portfolios. The analysis of the Receivers and Managers to date indicates it is likely the historical returns advised to investors are exaggerated and may possibly be fictitious.

Therefore, the actual cash loss that may eventually be suffered by the remaining investors will differ from the amounts currently showing as the “value” in individual investors’ portfolios. 

Also, through their work, the Receivers and Managers have identified a further three entities within the Ross Group which they recommended should be considered part of the receivership.   

Mr Fisk says, “In our opinion, the Investment Fund managed by the Ross Group is insolvent, as it cannot repay the value of the portfolios reported to investors as they become due in the ordinary course of business. We firmly believe a recovery strategy needs to be immediately addressed to maximise investor interests. Therefore, we have recommended the Ross Group entities be placed in liquidation because this will help with the realisation of assets for the benefit of investors. 

“We are fully aware the situation is distressing for investors and it is our aim to provide as much certainty as quickly as possible. Should investors or other stakeholders have any queries, please contact us via our website, facsimile, or postal address, or dedicated telephone message,” concludes Mr Fisk. 

A summary of the Receivers and Managers report will be distributed to investors and the full report is  available on the PwC website http://www.pwc.co.nz/RossAssetManagement.   

The details are: 
·        Postal 
Ross Asset Management Limited (In Receivership) and related entities PricewaterhouseCoopers 
PO Box 243 
Wellington 

·        Facsimile: +64 (0)4 462 7492 

·        A dedicated page on the PwC website can be found at http://www.pwc.co.nz/RossAssetManagement. It will be updated when relevant and appropriate. 

·        In addition, a dedicated telephone message line +64 (0)4 462 7040 has been established for any investors or creditors who have an enquiry relating to Ross Asset Management Limited (In Receivership) and related entities.

PwC Partners Mr John Fisk and Mr David Bridgman were appointed Receivers and Managers to Ross Asset Management Limited and related entities, pursuant to FMA application under the Financial Advisers Act. 

Ross Asset Management Limited and related entities include (In Receivership) (the “Ross Group”) comprise of: 
·        Ross Asset Management Limited (In Receivership) 
·        Bevis Marks Corporation Limited (In Receivership) 
·        Dagger Nominees Limited (In Receivership) 
·        McIntosh Asset Management Limited (In Receivership) 
·        Mercury Asset Management Limited (In Receivership) 
·        Ross Investment Management Limited (In Receivership) 
·        Ross Unit Trusts Management Limited (In Receivership) 
·        United Asset Management Limited (In Receivership) 
·        Chapman Ross Trust (In Receivership) 
·        Woburn Ross Trust (In Receivership) 
·        Mr David Robert Gilmour Ross (In Receivership). 

The additional three entities mentioned in the news release include: 
·        Ace Investments Limited or Ace Investment Trust Limited or Ace Investment Trust 
·        Vivian Investments Limited 
·        Ross Units Trusts Limited.

See the release from the Financial Markets Authority below:

The investigation into the affairs of David Ross of Ross Asset Management Ltd and related entities has moved forward today with the release of the receivers’ report.

The investigation commenced on 25 October when the Financial Markets Authority received complaints from investors who had been unable to withdraw funds, several months after requesting them.

Following initial inquiries FMA moved immediately to obtain information from Mr Ross. When he was not able to satisfy serious concerns, FMA executed a search warrant from 31 October – 2 November on the offices and home of David Ross, and on 2 November obtained a freeze of Mr Ross’s assets and assets of entities located in New Zealand. Receivers PwC and brokers First NZ Capital were appointed on FMA’s application on 6 November and required by the Court to submit a report within five working days.

The report, prepared by John Fisk and David Bridgman of PwC, with the assistance of brokers from First NZ Capital, explains that Ross Asset Management’s records show purported investments of $449.6 million, held on behalf of more than 900 investors across 1720 accounts. This figure represents the portfolio values reported by Ross Asset Management to investors, not their actual capital contributions, or the current value of those contributions. The latter figures are yet to be determined.

The receivers and managers’ focus over the first five days of their appointment has been to identify and secure investment assets. After searching the custody accounts identified by Mr Ross and through wider searches in international investment markets, they have so far located investments of only $10.2 million. The search continues.

FMA CEO Sean Hughes said today that while he welcomed the greater clarity the report brings on the affairs of Ross Asset Management, it clearly makes for difficult reading for the 900 plus investors with funds under management.

“The events of the past two weeks demonstrate that FMA will take swift action in response to investor complaints and we would encourage people to come forward if they have concerns about the security of their investment. They should be confident that we will listen and act where appropriate,” Mr Hughes said.

“We understand Mr Ross has been in this business for over a decade. The adviser regime is still relatively new, as are the powers under which FMA operates, but it is heartening to see the speed with which FMA were able to conduct an inquiry, preserve assets and appoint a manager and receiver. Our end goal is the best possible outcome for the investor, although we realise that in this instance it would appear that the remaining assets are limited.”

“New Zealand has nearly 2000 Authorised Financial Advisers, most of whom are behaving professionally, working to comply with the new financial adviser laws and seeking to serve their clients well. We are continuing to work with both advisers and investors to ensure both parties understand what information needs to be made available. For investors in particular it’s about understanding what questions to ask and having the confidence to ask them. They need to understand the nature of their investments and who is holding them, and maintain an appropriately diversified portfolio.”

FMA has been posting regular updates for investors on its website, in addition to email contact with those who had identified themselves to the regulator.

FMA is working with other agencies, including SFO in relation to the serious issues the report identifies.

A copy of PwC’s report can be found at http://www.pwc.co.nz/RossAssetManagement.

We welcome your help to improve our coverage of this issue. Any examples or experiences to relate? Any links to other news, data or research to shed more light on this? Any insight or views on what might happen next or what should happen next? Any errors to correct?

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50 Comments

my god...shocking...those poor people who invested

They are poor now but as usual caveat emptor applies.

''poor people''
should be changed to bloody greedy people.
although some of them could be now classified as poor.

New Zealand's largest ponzi scheme so far identified? It's looking that way - no doubt plenty more waiting in the wings.
One would imagine a not insubstantial blow to the economy of the lower north island - thats 900 'high worth' investors who will be feeling an awful lot poorer and wont be spending quite so much anytime soon.
 

yes Andyh, looks like the biggest fraud in NZ history

What about South Cant. Fin., didn't it come up over a $1 billion short of investors money?

Steady AR, we are not yet allowed to use the P word in relation to SCF (sub judice and all). Hence my comment  - plenty more in the wings.

not sure what the final figure was...

i feel a  taxpayer bailout coming ?   -  I cant see the diff with south canty finance, where  greedies took punts and got rewarded with  a bailout

bloodly well hope not....

Only way that I can see a bailout being proposed is if the majority of investors are MP's.

..ha..ha..ha...true!

the govt gaurantee no longer exists thank god

No Crown retail deposit guarantee on Ross. That's the difference with SCF.

I wonder if any of the veiled wealth as declared in the Ross customer statements was admissible as collateral for bank finance? If so, how much has been staked? An unsecured depositor needs to know?

Updated with more from the report.
more soon

Withdrawals during the period appeared "to have largely been funded by pooled funds which include the contributions made by other investors coupled with the sale of investments."

thanks Alex...the classic ponzi then

Another update in there now.
Cheers
Alex

Chart of Group structure in there now too

Fat lot of good independant auditors did to SCF, small town auditors removed, 1 of the big 4 came in all guns blazing, gross misstatements, we have now sorted it, asets now devalued,  blah blah blah. 6 months later SCF gone.

There were no auditors

As an AFA the individual/firm would have been potentially subject to a visit from FMA however these reviews are currently over a handful of advisers across New Zealand - advisers are chosen via a process, advised they will be visited/reviewed etc
http://www.fma.govt.nz/help-me-comply/financial-advisers/monitoring-and-...
I agree in light of this debacle and to instill confidence in the public a systematic audit system needs to be put in place - issue is FMA do not have capacity to cover the 2000 odd AFA's on a yearly basis.
If audits were imposed on advisers - who picks up the cost?
 
 

The cost may be better spent educating the public to be honest. The reality is that fraud will always occur. The AFA rules are the answer to yesterdays problems. Tomorrow someone will have a new way to defraud the naive and gullible.
 
By the way I am importing some stamps from Italy. I buy them wholesale and sell them retail. The margins are fantastic.Let me know if you want in.
 
 

Ditto for me, markets big enough for a few more players, I can get you a first mover advantage, then we will move to greek coins, there is money to be made in these old countries.

I would be intrigued to know whether all RAMs 'victims' were all recruited solely by word of mouth (the classic modus operandi of the Ponzi scheme) of whether some were directed into RAMs maw via other Financial Service Advisors/companies? I seem to recall at least one comment on the NBR comments section by one FA that they had directed a client towards RAM? One imagines there might be grounds for secondary litigation if so?

Andyh,
Heard on Nine to noon at nat radio this morning, Catherine Ryan read out an email from someone saying a financial advisor had recommended they invest with Ross.
So sounds like it was happening.
Alex

Yes indeedy I am hearing similar, supposidly at least one well known firm recommended Ross. The knock on effects are going to be a sight to behold as angry investors ask questions!

First. From the information available so far, David Ross appears to be a phantom, didnt exist before a month or so ago. Didnt advertise, no web-site, no web-presence, word of mouth, referral essential, invitation only. A person of stature, managing  $450 million of other-peoples-money would appear in a search somewhere.
 
Second. He wasn't acting as a Financial Advisor. He was acting as principal. Investors were investing in him. Clients didnt receive any paper work authenticating what they were invested in. They received from Ross a periodic portfolio statement (his composition) which represented his allocation of what he wanted to allocate. Clients did not receive or see the original documentation of assets held in their name. Funds were pooled. Big mistake.

Thanks for that information.  What it really boils down to is that all the investors in RAM were mugs, however they were well off mugs.  I bet you won't meet many former RAM investors who admit to it.

Funds were pooled. Big mistake.
 
Where are they not  - co-mingling is industry standard and margin customer agreements I have signed with US brokerage houses stipulate as much - brokerage nominee accounts register collective client positions - Ross would have be subject to the same rule.
 
NZ Banks try the same when you trade NZ Government Stock with their Treasury units, unless one stipulates personal A/C registration with Computershare.  

Where are they not?

If you want financial advice or want to use an AFA then :

  • go to a fee-for-service financial advisor and obtain written advice or a written plan, then
  • go to an accountant and have it reviewed for soundness, then
  • go to another fee-for-service financial advisor and get a second opinion, then
  • execute the plan yourself, and
  • never allow the advisor to implement / execute / invest for you.
  • never give the advisor signing authority on your behalf

 
article 1 NY Times
article 2 NY Times

 

And, if you are buying shares, and you want them registered in your own name, request "issuer sponsored" and not "broker sponsored"

Impossible if you want to buy shares in the US - your shares have to be available for re-hypothecation - in the event you wish to trade commodities (Treasury futures included)  which are always margined one signs that personal ownership right away - I don't know about NZ as I never trade here except for govt stock and currency infrequently. I was a stock market research analyst here in the late 70's early eighties and made an early but permanent decision not to bother with my own money - too many hidden variables. 

NBR reporting Ross took out $30m in fees (sweet!) and that 90% of all capital contributions ($303m) since 2000 had been paid out ($289m) to investors - which is why the scheme blew up, he could no longer fund existing clients from new clients cash. So some of the early withdrawers will have done well, but those joined more recently will have lost the lot as they never had a chance to withdraw cash. However those early withdrawers will not necessarily be safe - apparently in the Madoff case the authorities clawed back cash from them (as their returns came from later investors). So it will be up in the air for some time as to how much has really been lost and who has lost what. One assumes recent converts have lost the lot.

NZ is running exactly the same Ponzi  scheme with it's external liabilities.  Borrowing from new investors to pay the interest on our ever compounding debts as we are running  a trade deficit - ie we spend more than we earn and thus have to borrow more to pay the interest.
Situation with goods and srvices is $ 2 billion worse than a year ago if you thought  there was a glimmer of hope around the corner.
Perhaps we should get the FMA to look at  NZ's external accounts. 

The IMF is meant to do that - they currently seem occupied with more pressing patients - and not enough bandages.

where was the regulator in this? how did RAM slip through the cracks or clutches of the FMA (that is until now) quite extraordinary

They need to understand the nature of their investments and who is holding them, and maintain an appropriately diversified portfolio.”
 
No Mr Hughes - They need to divest themselves of asset classes where professional HFT dominates the outcomes of retail investor's portfolios - the chances of a flash crash are high and the owners of these computer based trading algorithms are stepping into new markets. - It was recently reported that liquidity in the international forex market is diminishing as HFT reduces the opportunities available to traditional methods of currency trading.
 
Individuals and their advisors are totally ill-equipped to understand, never mind compete for returns with the computers and their highly trained handlers.

Who is David Ross?
The main corporate operating conduit of the Ross conglomerate was "Bevis Marks Ltd", first registered in 1987 as Imputex Ltd, a $100 company, with a name change shortly after to Bevis Marks Ltd. An interesting choice of name if you research it. Not accidental. There was a Bevis Marks Corp of Gibraltar, deregistered 2008. According to a post in NBR the minimum entry level requirement was $500k. Exclusive? The Brotherhood? Some people are not going to be happy. Be interesting to see a client list. Who is David Ross? Be surprising if this drama ever sees daylight.

Court case coming...resulting in what...taxpayers funding the defence...on and on it will go...and then the sentencing..."you have all been very naughty..shame on you for getting caught...100 hours community service"
If this was a polly heavy scheme...expect a govt bailout.
Is this the tip of an iceberg!!!!!!

A big turnaround from Wednesday, when I asked where interest.co was at with this story.  
Extracting $30 million in fees from a $450 million ponzi scheme has been pretty lucrative for those involved.  The usual story though greed on the part of the organisers and the clients who chased big returns. It's going ot be a nightmare sorting this all out. And those who were paid out in the last 6 months (and up to 2 years) prior to liquidation are likely to see the liquidator trying to clawback their payouts. 

Oh and I wouldn't be surprised if there's a 'bank run' on other financial advisers, placing even responsibly run advisers at risk of a liquidity/cashflow crunch.

its acutually fascinating if you delve down a bit. the secuirities regs make it virtually impossible for anyone to invest in a private company that doesn't have a prospectus unless you are "wealthy" or have a certification from a fiancial advisor or accountant. RAM appears to have utilised this "out". The property syndicates also folllowed this investment philospophy and are being bought under the FMA clutches only now. $2b-$3B after the fact!  The problem is the costs that the FMA impose make it uneconomic to get a prospectus, and frankly if you lift your head above the parapet so to speak the FMA, and or press have a field day whenever a sniff of adverse news is published about a business. NZ is too small, and far to insular to have such costly compliance. This approach is NOT serving the investing public well in my humble opinion. This is supported by evidence of this type of crash - its not just a small loss but a flippen disaster. the IPOs are virtually all gone, and there is a dearth of investment opportunity available. the  Fonterra float was gobbled up in a nano second, and why collectively the banks are swimming in cash.

....unless you are "wealthy" or have a certification from a fiancial advisor or accountant. RAM appears to have utilised this "out".
 
Is it not true that you can self label one's self a habitual investor to achieve exemption?

nay. sec. regs closed that loophole years ago.

Interesting background bio on David Ross courtesy of Chris Lee newsletter (about half way down)  http://www.chrislee.co.nz/index.php?page=taking-stock

Certainly is -  Equally I am enthralled to know which central bank decided to withdraw USD 419 billion of securities from the US Federal Reserve's Custodial A/C from one week to the next  - did they not trust the Fed any longer or did they need to sell the issues to raise cash? Answers here pls.
 
The changes in holdings can be viewed here for the 7th Nov, 2012 and here for the 14th Nov, 2012.
 
The item of interest is labelled:

1A. Memorandum Items
Millions of dollars
Memorandum item

Securities held in custody for foreign official and
international accounts
 

Is that the same Chris Lee who recommended Strategic, Lombard, Dominion, Dorchester etc?
 

Yep, and the same guy who said you can't lose on bricks and mortar. Tell that to the investors of the above coys. He was also scathing of the consumer finance coys where the losses have been comparatively low