Just one jailed in Trio saga

The aftermath of what was deemed the largest superannuation fund fraud in Australian history has seen only one individual jailed so far, with most other parties having their enforceable undertakings (EU) accepted by industry regulators.

The Australian Prudential Regulation Authority (APRA) announced last week it had accepted EUs from five former directors of super fund trustee Trio Capital, which collapsed in 2009 leaving more than 6,000 investors without their funds.

All five directors — Cameron Anderson, Michael Anderson, Terrence Hallinan, Lorenzo Macolino and John Harte — agreed to stay out of the superannuation industry for a specified period of time, ranging from four to 12 years, after acknowledging they failed in their duties as board members.

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This brings a total former Trio board members who have had their EUs accepted by APRA to 11, with only one — 69 year-old John Godfrey — agreeing never to come back to the industry in a senior position.

So far, investment manager Shawn Richard remains the only person jailed in the aftermath of the saga.

"Mr Richard is guilty of serious crimes of a high order," said Justice Peter Garling of the NSW Supreme Court while sentencing Richard to three years and nine months imprisonment. "They were carefully considered and planned, they were well concealed, they continued over a period of nearly four years and they led to significant financial losses in excess of $26.6 million."

Richard's imprisonment followed an investigation conducted by the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC), which accepted EUs from the five Trio directors, albeit with softer outcomes.

However, ASIC took action against financial planners and fund managers involved in the scandal, some of whom were permanently prevented from returning to the financial services industry.

Financial planning business Seagrims had its licence cancelled by the regulator, with its two directors receiving a three-year ban from the industry, which was later reduced to six months.

Another financial planning business — Kilara Financial Solutions - agreed to tighten its compliance processes, while the EU offered by the operator of the ARP Growth Fund (ARP), Tony Maher (who changed his name from Paul Gresham) permanently prevented him from working in the financial services industry or managing a corporation.

The regulators' handling of the collapse of Trio Capital was widely criticised by politicians, industry and victim groups alike, with the Government most recently releasing a public consultation paper dealing with the strengthening of APRA's crisis management powers.

Furthermore, the Federal Opposition had urged the newly-appointed Federal Treasurer Chris Bowen to revisit the compensation arrangements which flowed out of the collapse of Trio Capital.

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