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Parliament to probe Trio Capital fraud claims

THE loss of about $180 million invested in Trio Capital and the lack of compensation for self-managed superannuation investors will be investigated by a federal parliamentary inquiry.

THE loss of about $180 million invested in Trio Capital and the lack of compensation for self-managed superannuation investors will be investigated by a federal parliamentary inquiry.

The inquiry into the Albury fund manager will examine losses from two Trio funds, Astarra Strategic and ARP Growth, with terms of reference that include inquiring into the implications of international fraud.

The chairman of the federal parliament's joint committee on corporations and financial services, Bernie Ripoll, said the inquiry would examine systemic issues arising from the collapse.

"The collapse of Trio is quite significant and it's got some unique parts to it which I think need a separate inquiry particularly, we mention the self-managed super funds and international fraud," Mr Ripoll said.

More than 10,000 investors had $426 million in funds frozen after the Australian Securities and Investments Commission was first alerted to a fraud affecting Astarra Strategic in 2009. It later emerged that $125 million invested in Astarra Strategic had disappeared through a British Virgin Islands company into a network of offshore funds controlled by a Hong Kong businessman, Jack Flader.

A further $60 million was invested through ARP Growth, with no money yet recovered.

Earlier this year, investors in Astarra Strategic through superannuation funds regulated by the Australian Prudential Regulation Authority received $55 million in compensation for fraud under part 23 of the Superannuation Industry (Supervision) Act.

However, self-managed superannuation investors in Astarra Strategic were not eligible for any compensation.

The inquiry will examine issues related to the collapse, including the lack of any compensation for investors in self-managed superannuation, where the investment products or advice had failed and the role of research houses who examined the products.

Submissions are due by August 19 and the committee will report by November 24.


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