Businessman forms user group to help David Ross investors
Wellington businessman Bruce Tichbon is setting up a user group for investors in Ross Asset Management to communicate with each other.
The funds management firm and nine related entities have had their assets frozen after a raid by the Financial Markets Authority last week.
Scores of investors, mainly from the lower North Island, are searching for answers having trusted their money with financial advisor David Robert Gilmore Ross.
Early reports suggest the firm may have been managing more than $300 million of clients' money.
The FMA has applied to the High Court for a manager to be appointed to Ross Asset Management.
Mr Ross cannot be contacted by telephone and is understood not to have responded to investor queries for several days.
Mr Tichbon is a long-term investment client of Mr Ross and is concerned investors have access to information in order to “fight collectively for our money”.
He says past experience shows that winding up investments funds can be a costly and lengthy process.
“The reason I’m forming this group is to try and give the users a voice and to expedite the process.
"I want to be able to build a critical mass so we can go and talk to whoever is running this show and tell them we need to be listened to, need to have a voice and we need this solved quickly,” Mr Tichbon told NBR ONLINE.
“One comment is that on previous occasions the investment advisor has gone bust the users have been left out in the cold. It seems to go on for years, and everyone gets on a gravy train.”
Mr Tichbon says he already has 20 or so investors in his group.
Many say they know Mr Ross as a personal friend and had implicit faith in him.
“However, something has gone seriously wrong," Mr Tichbon says.
“The formula he was investing for me was that he bought equities on my behalf. He supplied in each quarterly statement a list of those equities.”
Asked if those stocks were held in his own name, Mr Tichbon says he does not know for sure.
“I met the guy many times. If I’m giving a lot of money to an investment adviser I need to eyeball the guy and David just struck me as the straightest of the straight and a guy you could trust.
"But something has gone terribly wrong.”
Mr Tichbon says he understands Mr Ross is ill and in hospital.
“That’s the word on the block, but we just don’t know anything. That’s why I’m setting up this group.
“I want to come out of this still believing there is some decency left in the world. If David has gone over to the dark side I will be tragically disappointed.”
Mr Tichbon can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org