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Warning, warning - pull out

While the Securities Commission warns people about an outfit called Investors International, its sister bodies in Australia and the United States prosecute.

Wednesday, September 22nd 1999, 12:00AM

by Philip Macalister

Investors are being warned by the Securities Commission to take "great caution" before paying or committing any money to schemes run by an outfit called Investors International.

Investors International promotes a financial educational scheme conducted at seminars held offshore. These have previously been held in Kuala Lumpur and Fiji, and the next one is due to take place on a cruise ship off Alaska.

While the New Zealand Securities Commission is just warning people about Investors International, its peer organisations in Australia and the United States have taken stronger action. Australia's Securities and Investments Commission has sought and won a court order banning the company from carrying on an investment advice business, while the United States Securities and Exchange Commission has prosecuted the company's organiser for offering and selling unregistered securities.

Representatives of Investors International, known as approved retailers, have been recruiting people into the scheme and offering people access to "secure investment opportunities that return a minimum of 10 per cent per month".

Securities Commission senior executive Norman Miller says these returns are "patently unattainable".

He says the financial education scheme involves paying money to the approved retailer, with the first payment being equivalent to the price of 18 ounces of gold (about $9000), the second is equivalent to 85oz of gold and the third to 185oz.

The arrangements are said to involve successively; seminars, books and tapes, "access to offshore higher yield ventures via international business corporations and trusts", and the "ultimate introduction into a different world of offshore finance few people understand or even know about".

Miller says the exact details of the arrangements are far from clear. Also he says the so-called "approved retailers" take about 70 per cent of the money as commissions.

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