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Expensive Mistakes

This material may refer to resident trusts offered by DFA Australia Limited. These resident trusts are only available in Australia. Nothing in this material is an offer or solicitation to invest in these resident trusts or any other financial products or securities. All figures in this material are in Australian dollars unless otherwise stated.

There are two ways of learning: You can be taught how to do something correctly, or you can be shown the consequences of doing it wrong. In the world of investment, it’s a lot cheaper to learn from others’ mistakes.

A recent edition of a television current affairs program1 detailed how elderly Australians, many of them with only modest nest eggs, had lost up to $15 billion in recent years through dubious investment schemes.

Most of these schemes involved the provision of high-risk finance to property ventures, some involving speculative residential projects. Yet, the program found, these investments were often promoted as safe, secure, and bank-like.

In some cases, the promoters of the schemes extracted high fees as much as 5% from the vehicles, and engineered related-party transactions that cost the elderly clients millions—without giving them any say in the matter.

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