VOFF accuses Labor of “politicising a crime” in Trio fraud

VOFF Trio Capital Bill Shorten Trio Fraud the Australian Labour Party fraud Victims of Financial Fraud Stephen Jones ASIC the Australian Securities and Investments Commission APRA the Australian prudential regulation authority SMSFs self-managed super funds superannuation funds super funds

15 July 2019
| By Hannah Wootton |
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Aussie politicians make “politicised and dishonest decisions about ‘fraud’” despite having no law enforcement of forensic investigation skills, Victims of Financial Fraud (VOFF) has alleged, pointing to the Labor Party’s dialogue around the Trio Capital fraud as evidence.

In a letter to Shadow Assistant Treasurer and Shadow Minister for Financial Services, Stephen Jones, the victims’ group accused Jones of making contradictory statements in regard to Trio, going from showing support for the Trio consumers in his electorate in 2011 to blaming financial advisers for the issue in 2013.

In 2011, Jones told Parliament: “They did everything by the book. They followed the rules set out by ASIC [the Australian Securities and Investments Commission]—indeed, they ticked all the boxes in ASIC's advice to investors”. In 2013 however, he said: “The reason these people lost their money is because they followed some very poor financial advice … “What sort of financial adviser in their right mind would encourage someone to put their entire life savings into a single asset?”

The latter also contradicted comments from then-Minister for Superannuation, Bill Shorten, in 2013 that approximately 92 per cent of Trio victims in Australian Prudential Regulation Authority (APRA) funds were victims through no fault of their own.

Further, VOFF alleged that Shorten’s comments were misleading, saying that to differentiate between that 92 per cent and the eight per cent in self-managed super funds (SMSFs) “seemingly distracted from the magnitude of problems with the investment regulatory framework”.

The victims’ group said that “accuracy and transparency serves the community better than politicising a crime”, saying that in the Trio fraud, custodians, auditors, research houses, ratings firms, fund managers, and both regulatory failed to identify the scheme.

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