A personal finance columnist for the NZ Herald

David Chaplin: Saddle up for a top TAB investment

Horse racing tips by phone - a hot investment? Photo / Thinkstock
Horse racing tips by phone - a hot investment? Photo / Thinkstock

The guy knew his horseshit.

In the course of our 20 minute conversation he trotted out all the inverted comma classics as described in the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission's (ACCC) must-read pamphlet Sports 'investment' scams: 'recession-proof', 'tax-free' and, indeed, even 'investment' itself.

But the representative from OLM Pty Ltd, a company you may recall from previous blogs, was also an innovator.

"We got a five-star rating from ASIC [Australian Securities and Investment Commission]," he assured me.

I tried to rein him in.

"Whoa there a minute mate," I said, "I'm pretty sure ASIC doesn't hand out 'star-ratings' to anybody."

He cleared the hurdle without hesitation.

"Nah, well we've never had any complaints. We've got guys over in New Zealand right now working with the FMA [Financial Markets Authority]," the OLM Pty Ltd man galloped on.
He lost me for a bit, the relentless drone of his voice sounding like a race-call on an old transistor radio. I do know there were lots of numbers being shouted out.

But I bucked up when I heard "it's government-guaranteed".

"So if the 'investment' doesn't make me money you'll pay me back," I asked.

"Nah, mate that's illegal," he said. "No-one can guarantee the future."

"But what's the use of guaranteeing the past?"

Normally, as recommended by these New Zealand and Australian government scam-watch websites, I would have hung up well before this point but the ensuing philosophical discussion about the meaning of the term 'government-guaranteed' was loads of fun.

Let's talk 'product': you (the client) open a $10,000 TAB account and each week some bloke will call you up with a couple of racing tips ("you can install the system yourself but no-one does that mate").

And all this comes for a one-off 'licensing' fee to OLM Pty Ltd of only $8,900.

Saddle me up, mate, take me for a 'ride'.

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A personal finance columnist for the NZ Herald

David is a freelance journalist who has covered the financial services business on both sides of the Tasman for over 15 years. He is the editor of industry website Investment News. David has edited magazines and websites for the financial advice, investment and superannuation industries.

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