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BFCSA: Obituary: Crusader against ASIC Negligence and Westpoint $380 million collapse: Graham MacAulay. Our condolences

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On the 16th October, I lost a very dear friend in Graham MacAulay.  I met him as a man about to enjoy retirement, yet sitting in the creditors meeting of one of the company collapses generated by Richard Beck, John Whitehead and Norm Carey of Westpoint, I saw a man sitting holding his face with his hands, as close to tears as he could possibly get.  One thousand other people were sitting quietly in stunned disbelief.  Yet the collapse of the company, it became the first of eight heavily attended creditors' meetings for the same group that week in December 2005.  Yet the one piece of information that angered Graham the most, was yet to be revealed......................

I met a group of 50 people in the lobby and I said: "One of you has to be leader of this group as I am heading back to WA.  But I will assist and guide you I promise."  As grieved as he was Graham was the only person to put his hand up.  Despite health issues along the way, he steered 500 people towards lobbying for compensation and that much he achieved.  In terms of losses and the deals cut by the Australian Securities and Investment Commission with insurers and members of the financial planning industry, the recovery of funds was no compensation for the stress, pain and suffering delivered by ASIC over the following five years.   Graham was relentless.

Every morning he visited the library to scan newspapers for the latest news on Westpoint and would feed it out to his group and to me.  He built a dedicated website, meticulously compiled chronologies that were not for the faint-hearted.  He wrote boxes of letters to ASIC Chairman, the Prime Minister John Howard, the Treasurer Peter Costello, Chairman of ASIC (by the crate-load) and arrived at consumer meetings and ASIC talk-fests.  He flew to Melbourne to meet with me for an interview between him and I with Dave and Kim on Channel Ten "9am Show".  He appeared on other documentaries and news items and produced endless press releases.

Without such dedication and devotion to task, it's fair to say the compensation claims may not have gathered so much momentum.  ASIC can claim no glory in what occurred.  Graham wrote pages on the fact that ASIC had been specifically warned in Brisbane 2001 and Perth 2000 about Westpoint running an illegal MIS. Westpoint directors started to threaten Graham but later on, this tenacious crusader chose to meet them head on.  The point he made being that ASIC permitted the company Westpoint (running 8 Ponzi structures) to continue with its self-destructive business model and the fact ASIC knew via the infamous FREEHILL letters that all six ASIC Commissioners were suitably warned as early as 2000 and again in 2001.  ASIC knew that consumers were in desperate need of a tough regulator and proper protection from these characters.  

People had poured money into glossy brochures that were "look-a-like" brochures and not one project was completed at the point of collapse in 2005.  Two projects were simply holes in the ground.  One was even a hole in the river..................

ASIC knew the problem existed in 2000,2001,2002,2003 and on to oblivion.

Nothing rattled Graham as much as this particular piece of information:  ASIC knew in 2000 and did nothing to stem the tide of losses.   Why you ask?  

Graham will be remembered by family and friends as a hard working decent family man.  He ticked all the honesty and ethical boxes.  He saved for his retirement and had a staggering $300,000 put aside.  That in itself was an awesome achievement a decade ago....a princely sum for the ordinary man in the street. He was a proud man, yes a little melancholy at times, and yes we tweaked some of his writings on his request from time to time.  But he alone made the push to get the message out there for the thousands of other ordinary aussies who suffered the same fate at the hands of Westpoint and ASIC's negligence.

His website reflected this sentiment over and again.  His message was very simple:  Had ASIC been doing their job in 2000, ASIC would have caused the compliance tactic to be useless for the model used and retirees would not have lost their life savings (the 2001 tally) amounting to $100 million dollars.  I also warned ASIC "if you do nothing, over the next four or five years the losses will hit half a billion!"   Graham  hammered this point over and again and we communicated regularly via Skype and email.  He was prone to depressed thoughts but the anger drove him forward.

ASIC did not have sympathy or even admiration at his tenacity and determination or stick-ability as I called it.  ASIC simply wished he would go away. Well Graham MacAulay may now be in heaven but, he is not forgotten by all those who benefited from his magnificent efforts for his fellow man.

The Senate Inquiry into Storm was in actual fact the Inquiry promised to Graham into the Westpoint 2005 collapse where an unheard of $380 million had vanished overnight.    I have the policy and promise emails from the Senators saying if they won power in 2007, an Inquiry would be first on the agenda. Graham waited patiently, but after a year in office after mid 2007 he again spoke out and hence our Melbourne trip.  Shortly after, in 2008, STORM collapsed and more retirees felt Graham's pain of loss.

He was furious..............the Inquiry became more about Storm than Westpoint, so on the attack, Graham once again led the charge and demanded compensation for Westpoint victims.   Court battles commenced.  The wheels of Government turn slowly.  Another two years dragged on before the eventual compensation claims were processed.

He would be saying "ASIC cost me my health."  I spoke to him for the last time a few months ago.  He had very serious health issues.  I did not know for another couple of months that a Senate Inquiry into the Performance of ASIC would finally come true.  That had been Graham's dream.  He was unable to be informed that an Inquiry had become a reality.

But all those in ASIC who crossed swords with Graham MacAulay over the years watch out, because he will be there in spirit.   Sitting front row with a bundle of documents: and the Freehills letters would be sitting on top of the bundle.

Had ASIC ignored the Freehills letters, Graham believed that the evidence presented about the fake Prospectus "look-a-likes" would have resulted in the documents and practices being outlawed.  Why else was compensation eventually paid?  ASIC had to be dragged screaming and kicking into providing a remedy, that could have been done years earlier.  And that fateful decision 15 July 2001 by one of the current serving Commissioners led to MacAulay losing his life savings, his intended retirement, and embarrassed him deeply.  

Men of that era did take their responsibilities seriously.  When he sat with his hands over his face in December 2005, he turned to me and said: "they cannot get away with this...."  I asked the question at the creditors meeting: "is ASIC present here today?"  The answer was no.  The same answer was repeated in each of the eight creditors meetings for around 10,000 ordinary average blokes...........................and the missus.  An extra $300 million was lost due to ASIC's negligence and laisez faire attitude.  I know submissions are closed but this should be Graham's submission.

You see, Graham invested his funds in 2003 on the advice of  a financial planner, licensed by ASIC ......three years after the first ASIC high level meeting of six commissioners in late 2000 on the problem with Westpoint...............................

Graham's performance: Magnificent

ASIC's performance: zero

I have lost a good phone and cyber mate, but consumers have lost a true champion.  I know he would be chuffed to read this and I know he will be watching both Senators and ASIC in the Inquiry...............................and he would say "thanks mate...I'll be there, wouldn't miss it for quids."

RIP Graham and condolences to the MacAulay family on the loss of your husband and father from all Westpoint victims he cared about, and from RECA and BFCSA Members that knew and admired him..........................denise b

 

 

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  • doyla66
    doyla66 Wednesday, 30 October 2013

    RIP Graham MacAulay... Thank you for the heart felt obituary Denise on our behalf. Best wishes to his family and friends. Thank goodness for the Senate Inquiry into ASIC. We know you will be there in spirit Graham.

  • doyla66
    doyla66 Thursday, 31 October 2013

    From: P H
    Sent: Thursday, October 31, 2013
    To: [email protected]

    thank you for being you

    thank you for making the time to write this beautiful tribute to a QUALITY HUMAN BEING

    I wish I had have known Graham personally as my life would have been enriched

    Graham and his friends weep and the grubs in the ivory towers do not even blink

    This is a rotten dishonest world but for people like You and Graham who bring some sunshine to our lives

    thank you

  • doyla66
    doyla66 Thursday, 31 October 2013

    From: Frank
    Sent: Thursday, October 31, 2013
    To: [email protected]

    Thank you Denise,
    can you pass on my condolences to his precious family, and on behalf of all Australians crying out for the justice he was fighting for to achieve, and GOD rest his precious soul. Frank

  • doyla66
    doyla66 Thursday, 31 October 2013

    Thankyou Denise for writing and sharing this beautiful story of such a worthy humane being.
    This is sad news for everyone especially Graham's loved ones. Rest in peace Graham and thankyou for all the work you did to achieve justice against Asic. I have heard Denise make kind and proud references to you over time. and knew that you were a kind and rightous man fighting for what is right and i feel that after a well deserved rest, you will continue your fight from the spirit world as you were so passionate and determined to not let Asic get away with their lack of performance.
    Your passionate work for all Australians will earn you a special place in heaven. God will see to it.
    Rest assured through your efforts and those of others we will eventually get positive results.
    Thankyou for all you have done.
    Our heart felt condolences go out to Graham's family and friends.

  • doyla66
    doyla66 Thursday, 31 October 2013

    Vale Graham - you were right about ASIC and I was wrong

    I'm really sad to hear of Graham's passing. My condolences to all who knew him personally, especially his family.
    Graham did an excellent job of chronicling ASICs abysmal performance, especially in the Westpoint collapse and aftermath.
    When the ASIC Inquiry was announced one of my first thoughts was that at last all the hard work by Graham MacAulay might come to wider fruition, a vindication of his opinion of ASIC, and benefiting all of us who had been given a raw deal by the heartless & self-satisfied ASIC dogs.
    When I began to seek help with my investment issues, several years ago, I happened upon Graham's site. I wrote to him and we exchanged emails on the type of problems I was having with a couple of related investment companies and what to do about them, as I had heard that "ASIC couldn't track a bleeding elephant through snow". What should I do, and would ASIC be the right agency, after I'd shopped around for assistance?
    I was optimistic that once I found the right agency they would get moving on these companies, all bristling with ASIC licensing and implied ASIC approvals, who had so obviously done the wrong thing, misleading investors and refusing to return their "investment" in what was shaping up as a linked international scam.
    Surely that was what ASIC should do? To my mind it was unthinkable that ASIC would disregard a complaint about company.
    But then there were all the Westpoint people thinking the same ...
    Graham said he wouldn't be surprised if I found ASIC as useless as he had, and wished me luck!
    After many months of communication with ASIC and others, and my talking with Denise as well, it turned out that Graham was right. I had more than one case that should have had ASIC paying a visit and asking some hard questions of the directors. On their website there was a story about a case just like mine, which ASIC and an external law firm had won, a fraud investment case.
    Months passed, I waited, becoming increasingly concerned about the impact that this situation was having on both my finances and my health. My life was going into meltdown - didn't ASIC understand this was urgent?
    Eventually I had an answer, if you could call it that, from ASIC.
    Both Graham and Denise were right, I had wasted so much time waiting patiently for answers from ASIC, to no avail. By that time I was in too much other financial trouble, stemming from the failure of ASIC to even keep its word to me, and too unwell to continue pursuing the investigations myself.
    Graham MacAulay should be recognised publicly for his work - I hope the Senator make mention of his work and his passing at the Inquiry, for his family, friends and the many fellow sufferers at the hands of the lazy worthless cads at ASIC.
    Vale, Graham. Thankyou for setting such a shining example of perseverence me and others to follow.

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