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OBITUARY: Controversial adviser dies at 80

27 Jun, 9:45pm by Eric Frykberg

A man who went from pioneering financial planner to jailed former company director has died in Auckland.

Roger Moses was 80 years old.

He is best remembered for a two-year-two-month jail term imposed during the Global Financial Crisis.

But earlier, he worked tirelessly to develop professional standards for the financial advice industry, and the brokers' lobby group, Financial Advice New Zealand, is a modern incarnation of a group he helped set up.

Moses became a household name when he was taken to court in 2011 after the company he was a director of, Nathans Finance, collapsed.

The company owed 7,082 small investors about $174 million. They were repaid 3.7 cents in the dollar.

Moses was jailed along with a fellow director while a third received a lesser sentence. Moses, who had been Nathan's chairman, was also ordered to pay $425,000 in reparation.

In sentencing, Justice Heath said Moses and the other defendants were guilty of distributing untrue statements in prospectuses and advertisements.

A court report from the New Zealand Herald said the judge did not find “any element of dishonesty, rather the performance of directors was inept. It was far below the standard any investor would expect.”

The verdict was welcomed by the Financial Markets Authority. After Moses served his time, some investors complained about a lavish party to celebrate his 70th birthday.

His wife defended him, saying her husband had suffered enough.

“Do you not think that a man who had an impeccable record, that going to jail was not a punishment?” she told the Herald.

“Roger paid nearly half a million dollars in reparation..,.we've said all along that we are heartbroken (for the investors).”

The Nathans case was not the first time Moses had faced court charges.

Ten years earlier, he and a fellow director were accused of more than 30 charges under the Securities Act and the contributory mortgage regulations.

They related to development loans on four projects and concerned alleged misleading or incorrect documents from their companies, Reeves Moses Hudig Mortgage Brokers Ltd and Reeves Moses Hudig Nominee Co Ltd.

The judge threw out the case, but despite the directors' acquittal, an employee was later convicted and fined.

The Moses Reeves company had earlier experienced strong growth and complex corporate manoeuvring.

It was sold to Sovereign Assurance, which was itself a subsidiary of ASB Bank, and then resold to Australian investors for $6.5 million.

But some of the regional franchises were hived off and were steadily expanded.

Moses had a career which was well established before this. Graham Rich is a financial services stalwart who remembers Roger from the 1980s in Auckland.

“Roger was one of the founding members of what was called the International Association of Financial Planning, the IAFP,” Rich said.

“This was founded in 1987 and prior to that he was one of the members of the steering group which established this group.

“He spent hundreds, probably thousands of hours, pro bono, helping to establish the financial planning profession. ”

Moses also co-wrote a book on money and investment.

He was a prominent member of the Jewish community and his funeral will be held at the Beit Olam at Waikumete cemetery in Glen Eden.

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