A Financial Markets Authority review - which said the regulator was recognised as being capable, credible and professional - has infuriated those caught up in David Ross' Ponzi scheme, and called 'self-serving' by an investor group.
A review by consultancy Oliver Wyman on perspectives from the market regulator's stakeholders was released yesterday.
"The FMA has received wide recognition as a capable, credible and professional regulator after establishing a significantly stronger and improved regulatory framework...,"the executive summary of the stakeholder report said.
"Stakeholders were highly satisfied with the FMA's achievement of a significant cultural turn-around from the Securities Commission through its collaborative, engaged and proactive working style and a significant increase in staff capabilities including the extensive revamping of staff, attraction of good talent and strong leadership and market presence," the report said.
"There is a view of them as the Sheriff on the horse coming into town to clean it up - this is a good starting point," one stakeholder was quoted as saying.
The report also noted where stakeholders saw shortcomings and numerous areas where the regulator could improve.
A statement today from the Ross Asset Management Investors group said there could be "no doubt" the FMA review was a response to its "terrible performance over the collapse" of Wellington-based RAM, which failed last year causing investors to lose in excess of $115 million.
"By restricting its review to 'stakeholders' in the industry, who work with the FMA, and ignoring customers, especially those who have lost most everything, the FMA has committed a profound corporate gaff," the group said.
Ross, who ran what is believed to be the country's biggest Ponzi scheme through RAM, reported false profits of $351 million between June 2000 and September 2012 from the purported trading of fictitious securities.
Ross' offices at RAM were raided by the FMA in November last year when investors complained of problems with getting their money out.
After pleaded guilty to eight charges - including four of false accounting and one of theft by a person in a special relationship - the 63-year-old fraudster was last month sentenced to 10 years 10 months' jail. This was the largest sentence handed out to date in a Serious Fraud Office prosecution, but was still regard by Ross' victims as being too lenient.
Ross was licensed as an Authorised Financial Adviser by the FMA - a designation investors have previously said they took comfort in.
"The FMA issued a licence to David Ross with no checks, misleading a host of investors to believe Ross was legitimate," the RAM investor group said today.
"A proper audit of Ross's activities has not been done post collapse, leading to an embarrassing recent find of one stash of hidden funds, and the potential for much more. Investors have been left in a legal vacuum with no clear path to recover their stolen property. Further, the cost of recovery is dumped on the investors who have lost everything, and those who made money," the statement said.
"To quote an investor 'The FMA is not the sheriff riding into town to clean it up, they are the horse and cart that picks up the horse poop after the bad guys have robbed the town'," the RAM group said.