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"We sat [at] the board table and said if you read this you'd never invest in the company in a million years". A quote from an interview with one high-profile director of a finance company, who was really blaming investors for their failure to read the fine print in a prospectus and at the same time admitting (inadvertently we think), that he was involved in the promotion of an extremely risky investment to the innocent public.
It is our view that you should not invest in finance companies at any time, under any circumstances.
The wave of failures that has just engulfed the industry is a repeat of the collapses that occurred twenty years ago. At least some of the principals have been involved twice.
This is a classic case of investors beguiled by return on investment and seemingly oblivious to return of investment.
Investors in finance companies should be aware that there are safer havens and not be tempted by the published level of returns.
Directors and managers - the real culprits
The regulatory regime may have been inadequate, regulators ineffective, trustees asleep at the wheel, auditors out of their depth, warnings not heeded and so on, but the real culprits were the directors and managers.
Many NZ finance companies appear to have been run as ponzi schemes. Related-party transactions were rife. Too many of these people appeared to be absentees, living the life of riley while their companies enticed investors into a bottomless pit.
Finance companies are trouble, it is our opinion they should be avoided by all investors.
The warnings started back in 2002 - Brent Sheather, NZ Herald
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