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Banned adviser alleges political bias

Political allegiances and a pro-ASIC agenda may have impacted the legal proceedings that followed the collapse of Trio Capital, according to banned adviser Ross Tarrant.

In an email communication to ifa yesterday, Mr Tarrant – the former director of Tarrants Financial Consultants in Wollongong who was banned by ASIC for seven years in 2012 – said the Administrative Appeals Tribunal may have had ulterior motives in upholding the banning order.

“The decision is a great disappointment which has left me stunned and questioning whether political interference has occurred particularly in light of the way ASIC had conducted their case,” Mr Tarrant said.

Mr Tarrant alleged that a number of AAT senior members have close links to ALP figures including opposition leader Bill Shorten and to ASIC itself, and also that there has been a “massive political cover up of the truth at the high levels of government”.

In addition, the former adviser has criticised the corporate regulator’s role in investigating the collapse of Trio, alleging “ASIC disgracefully attempted to exclude 450 statements of advice”.

He said the investigation into his own affairs have been a “hollow, embarrassing and expensive outcome for ASIC” and that public money would have been better spent on pursuing “the perpetrators of this fraud, who remain largely unpunished and on the loose or suffering from damage to the wrist from a lettuce leaf attack”.

However, Mr Tarrant also expressed satisfaction that the legal proceedings have not uncovered “findings of secret commissions”, confirming that Mr Tarrant was not “incentivised to recommend the [Astarra Strategic Fund]”.

On 20 December, the AAT affirmed ASIC’s seven year banning order as the appropriate course of action, ruling that a number of breaches of financial services law had taken place.

Former clients of Mr Tarrant burned by the collapse of Trio have defended his name, telling ifa the former adviser has become a scapegoat and that responsibility should lie with other stakeholders.