As events unfolded surrounding Australia's largest superannuation theft in history, it would be easy to imagine that a thorough investigation was carried out by the liquidators of Trio Capital Limited. But eight years have passed and ASIC never provided PPB Advisory with enough capital for a proper investigation. 


Brett Manwaring,

Lead director in the Trio Capital liquidation including: - transitioning ten managed investments schemes ($300 million funds under management) to a new Responsible Entity - administering the winding up of five managed investments that had exposure to problematic assets including Australia’s largest superannuation fraud - assisting relevant authorities with criminal charges against those involved. Source Brett Manwaring CV.pdf through PPB Advisory web site. Manwaring said that while he was in Hong Kong on other business, he called into the GCSL Hong Kong office. He was met at the door by a tall large woman (Odgers ?) who simply said, “F..k Off” and slammed the door closed. Source June 25th 2015 meeting with PPB with VOFF delegation at PPB Chifley Square, Sydney office.

Glen Unicomb,

Senior Executive Leader, experience in forensic investigation includes some of Australia’s most complex and high profile corporate investigations and related litigation cases. As forensic accountant for ASIC, his three months investigation of Astarra strategic (September 2009 to December 2009) took him Hong Kong where he interviewed people there. Even with his background in forensic investigation, he said, ‘I had a lot of sleepless nights being involved in this because at the end of the day I had examined Mr Richard very early in the piece and, basically, for ASIC to go away all he had to do was provide indisputable evidence of the veracity and worth of these investments. As time went by, the longer it took and nothing was forthcoming, the more confident I became, but there was never any situation where someone put on the table to me that this was a blatant fraud upfront. It took about three months, I would estimate.’ Source Official Committee Hansard, Parliamentary Joint Committee on Corporations and Financial Services, Collapse of Trio Capital, 6 September 2011 Sydney Page 10.

Rupert Smoker,

head of responsible entity services for the Trust Company that took over Trio in 2010, informed the PJC hearing that it was, ‘contrary to industry practice to handle such a number of schemes and a large number of assets in an omnibus type of way. So it certainly became relevant to us (that something was going on) when we took over’. Mr Smoker was referring to the multiple bank accounts that Trio Capital had established. Chief Executive Officer of the Trust Company, Mr Atkin, at the same hearing said that ‘A lot of our work was then unraveling the spaghetti, so to speak’. Source Official Committee Hansard, Parliamentary Joint Committee on Corporations and Financial Services, Collapse Of Trio Capital, 30 August 2011 Sydney, Page 46.

Stephen Parbery,

Chairman and founding Partner of PPB Advisory. Has played a role in some of Australia's major corporate insolvencies, including: Lehman Brothers Australia, Nauru Phosphate Royalties Trust, Allco Principal Investments, Dainford Limited, BS Girvan Limited and as Special Purpose Liquidator in FAI Limited. Note, none of the above mentioned funds are suggested to be outright fraud .

Ian James Purchas

Executive Director of SV Partners.

His track record in insolvency and reconstruction over the past 25 years, including 10 years with Coopers & Lybrand (now PricewaterhouseCoopers) and as a principal in a large specialist insolvency firm, has earned him an enviable and well-deserved reputation amongst his peers.  Ian’s major insolvency administrations have included Burns Philp Trustee Co, Girvan, Equity  Corp, Norman Ross Discounts and Globite. Ian joined RMG Partners in 2008 and his impressive rate of conversion of Voluntary Administrations to Deeds of Company Arrangement is evidence of his expertise and unwavering commitment to his appointments.


Distribution OF Funds By Liquidator
In the matter of Ian James Purchas as Liquidator of Astarra Asset Management Pty Ltd (in liq) [2011] NSWSC 9 (1 March 2011) before Ward J. the Court HELD - it was just and beneficial for advice to be given as to the entitlement of the liquidator to deal with assets held by it but in  respect of which there was legitimate doubt.

Rod Sutherland of Jirsch Sutherland,

Insolvency firm Jirsch Sutherland tried to claw back money former Astarra Asset Management (AAM) director Shawn Richard paid out of his overseas bank account before he went bankrupt.

Richard made numerous transactions from his Liechtenstein-based LGT Bank account prior to declaring bankruptcy, including a US$160,000 transfer to his parents in Canada. Jirsch demanded repayment of the US$160,000 from his parents but they agreed to a lesser amount.[1] The negotiations with Shawn Richard's parents were carried out without inviting the owners of the money whether the deal / negotiations were appropriate. The Trio fraud victims were denied learning what the settlement was. The victims applied for the information under the Freedom of Information Act but were refused. The perpetrator of the Trio crime entered into a number of deals with the regulators and the courts for a lessor sentence while not a single deal was ever offered to the victims of the Trio crime.

Insolvency firm Jirsch Sutherland will sell former Astarra director's assets. Jirsch Sutherland's managing partner, Rod Sutherland, confirmed Shawn Richard voluntarily entered bankruptcy following AAM's issues and would prepare a preliminary report for creditors in coming weeks.
[2] Vishal Teckchandani 'Astarra chief declares bankruptcy' 14 February 2011

Mike Hill,

Partner of McGrathNicol Forensic in Queensland, appointed as trustee to Trio Capital's superannuation funds, had discussed preparations for a section 23 application during regular meetings with APRA about Trio Capital. Hill, as a director of ACT Super Management, was appointed by APRA as trustee of the Trio Capital funds in December after concerns were raised that Astarra Strategic was a Ponzi scheme.
He specialises in dispute advisory, forensic investigations and business reviews.
A Chartered Accountant for over 20 years, Michael has extensive experience in the preparation of expert reports as part of legal proceedings and conducting investigations on behalf of government, financiers and private sector clients. Michael also has experience in undertaking insolvency assignments, performing viability assessments/business case reviews and financial modelling and is a Director of an Approved Superannuation Trustee.


ACT Super was appointed Acting Trustee of the Trio Superannuation Funds by APRA following the identification of Australia’s largest ever superannuation fraud. Our role has been to protect the assets of the funds and to transfer members’ entitlements to alternative superannuation arrangements. A key focus has also been investigating the circumstances that gave rise to the fraud and submitting claims for financial assistance from the Government. To date over $70 million in assistance has been granted by the Government, the largest ever claim submitted.

Shane O’Keeffe

joined McGrathNicol at its inception in 2004, following nine years with KPMG and leads McGrathNicol’s Government Advisory practice where he is the Partner in charge of our Canberra office.

He has significant experience in providing advisory services to clients including: Australian Government departments and agencies; State/Territory Government departments and agencies; banks; law firms; and corporate and not for profit organisations.[1]
The Australian Prudential Regulatory Authority (APRA) appointed McGrathNicol entity ACT Super Management Pty Limited as Acting Trustee of five Trio superannuation entities.[2]
At the time, the four funds were believed to have about 10,000 members and their last reported assets as at the end of September 2009 totalled $300 million, ASIC said in a statement.[3]

Tony McGrath,

Independent boutique advisory firm McGrathNicol is the acting trustee of the Astarra superannuation funds. McGrathNicol chairman Tony McGrath said if we can prove the money from funds were lost through theft or fraud there is a pathway through part 23 of the SIS Act. So we're working on that process as well.
Source: Kachor, Kate Trio compensation actions heat up 30 July 2010

Up until 2007, the federal government has paid $44 million in compensation in 802 claims since 1993. Under section 23 of the Superannuation Industry (Supervision) Act 1993, a trustee of superannuation funds can apply for compensation if it is satisfied there has been ''fraudulent conduct or theft''.
Source: Washington, Stuart Trio trustee takes steps towards compo claim March 8, 2010