The Australian Prudential Regulation Authority (APRA) today announced the disqualification of 13 individuals associated with the Victorian-based Wall & Ceiling Superannuation Fund (the Fund) from being trustees (or ‘responsible officers’ of a corporate trustee) under the Superannuation Industry (Supervision) Act 1993 (the SIS Act).
Current and former trustee directors disqualified by APRA include:
Mr Wayne Bradshaw Ridings
Mr Clifford Berridge
Mr Richard John Campbell
Mr Robert Arthur Edwards
Mr Ugo Tizi
Ms Pauline Ann Dodd
Mr Douglas Neil Johnson
Mr Robert Lindsay Stapleton
Mr Jamie Scott Collins
Mr Ashley John White
In addition, the following accountants and auditors to the Fund and its associates have been disqualified by APRA from being trustees (or ‘responsible officers’):
Mr Robert France Elliott
Mr Paul James Hullin
Ms Melva Phyllis Blackley
Mr Elliott is also prevented from being an approved auditor of a regulated superannuation entity in the future.
The Fund was a multi-employer fund managing some $3.2 million of assets on behalf of 133 members employed by around 16 firms operating in the building supplies industry. APRA became concerned when its inquiries revealed that the Fund’s investment portfolio appeared to lack a prudent degree of diversification and liquidity and to involve significant conflicts of interest.
APRA commenced a formal investigation into the Fund in mid 2001. The investigation revealed that the Fund’s assets were invested in a unit trust controlled by one of the trustee directors. That unit trust then funnelled members’ money into other unit trusts controlled by the same individual, which in turn developed factories some of which were leased back to employer-sponsors of the Fund. APRA accepted an Enforceable Undertaking from the trustee that has resulted in the sale of the properties and certain measures to protect members’ entitlements.
APRA’s Deputy Chairman, Mr Ross Jones, said the investigation into the affairs of the Fund was continuing. “Certain aspects of this matter have yet to be finalised,” he said.
The Australian Prudential Regulation Authority (APRA) is the prudential regulator of the financial services industry.
It oversees banks, credit unions, building societies, general insurance and reinsurance companies, life insurance, friendly societies, and most members of the superannuation industry. APRA is funded largely by the industries that it supervises.
It was established on 1 July 1998.APRA currently supervises institutions holding approximately $1.7 trillion in assets for 20 million Australian depositors, policyholders and superannuation fund members.