Hamish Fletcher

Business reporter for the NZ Herald

David Ross got testimonial from top finance body

The Ross Asset Management office in Wellington. Photo / Mark Mitchell
The Ross Asset Management office in Wellington. Photo / Mark Mitchell

The professional body that helped David Ross become an authorised financial advisor says it did not provide regulators with an extensive endorsement of his character.

The Financial Markets Authority confirmed yesterday evening that the Institute of Finance Professionals New Zealand (INFINZ) had provided one of the testimonials in support of David Ross' application to become an authorised financial advisor.

The office of Ross' Wellington-based firm was raided by the FMA in early November after complaints from investors and companies under the financial advisor's control were placed into the hands of receivers PwC soon after.

Although Ross' 900 clients believed their investments were worth almost $450 million, PwC have so far only be able to identify around $11 million of assets.

Some of Ross' out-of-pocket clients described him as "magnificent and impressive" and believed he had a strong reputation within the industry.

Ross' was also licensed as an authorised financial advisor by the FMA, which investors said they took comfort in.

The Wellington businessman had been an AFA since 2011 and used testimonials from INFINZ and another from a client to pass the "good character" requirements of the application.

But INFINZ executive chairman Jim McElwain said his organisation's testimonials only confirm basic details about their members.

"All we do is provide confirmation that the party is a member, the length of time that the party was a member, and that there's been no complaints received [about them]...we do not provide a character test or any information like that," he said.

The FMA said it could not reveal the identity of the client who provided Ross' other testimonial because of Privacy Act issues.

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