David Ross, the former Wellington financier who ran New Zealand's largest ever ponzi scheme has been released from prison, but investors say they are not free from the case.

Ross, the principal of Ross Asset Management, was jailed for 10 years and 10 months in 2012 for overseeing a massive fraud. Since then he has been in Rimutaka Prison, New Zealand's largest prison, in Upper Hutt.

Hundreds of investors believed he was managing close to $450 million on their behalf but in the months following investigators discovered that only a few million dollars were left in accounts held by the company.

All up, investors are believed to have lost around $115m, based on their original investments.


Ross was granted parole in late 2019, but was released on Monday. He faces a raft of special conditions, including needing to seek approval for any paid or unpaid work and to have no role in managing money.

During his time in prison, he turned 65 meaning he is now eligible for Government Superannuation.

"He's got his freedom, but none of his victims are feeling very free," former investor Bruce Tichbon said.

Now 68, Tichbon has spent much of the past eight years acting as a coordinator for victims of the fraud

"For investors there's just no closure. It's taken years for most investors to get a tiny fraction of their money back. The court cases are still ongoing and are likely to go on for years.

"You've got Ross's crime, but you've got the whole process which followed it and it's just not working."

Only in 2019 did liquidators PwC complete the process of clawing back money from investors who effectively profited from the scheme by withdrawing more than their original investment before the scheme collapsed.

In total, 206 investors collectively returned $25.7m to PwC. Some did do due to court orders, while others agreed to settle to avoid legal proceedings.


The total payment was slightly less than 20 cents in the dollar of the investor's original investment.

Last year the path for investors to sue ANZ, Ross Asset Management's bankers, was cleared. Suppression orders lifted revealing that the Financial Markets Authority had been battling to share the details of its probe into the bank's role for several years.

But this has opened the prospect that the investors, most of whom are elderly (and many of whom are understood to have died, leaving the case to their children), with the prospect of years more battle to come.

Another condition on Ross is that he is not allowed to contact any of his victims.

Tichbon said he could understand why some victims did not want to hear from Ross, but he believed

"The man has always had the opportunity to speak, but when he did write a letter to victims it just didn't get traction," Tichbon said, referring to a letter sent when Ross was jailed.

"I think he should be allowed to speak. We are in a country that has freedom of speech, but he could talk collectively to investors rather than individual cases."