Melissa Caddick was a Sydney based fraudster who went missing late last year. Her foot, still secure within her sports shoe, recently washed up on a beach.
Melissa held herself out to be a financial planner, and over several years, weaved an elaborate web of deceit designed to entrap friends and family into investing through her. However, Melissa’s only ‘investment’ was in herself, using investor funds to establish and maintain a lavish lifestyle.
In carrying out her charade she assumed the identity of another, genuine, financial adviser. And it was only when this financial adviser reported the misuse of her identity to the Australian Securities and Investment Commission (ASIC) that the charade finally unravelled.
Melissa was very successful in duping many people out of a lot of money over an extended period of time. How is that possible? A simple check on the ASIC website would have exposed her, but no-one bothered to check. They trusted her, they wanted to believe, and if truth be told, they were greedy to participate in the ‘fabulous returns’ that Melissa seemed to be able to achieve for her investors.
Trust is a very fragile ‘creature’. Once it’s been lost, it’s almost impossible to restore. It’s a fundamental aspect of a relationship that you’d have with a real financial adviser. I’ll often say to a prospective new client, “I’d like to earn your trust”. What I mean by this is that I don’t assume that someone is going to trust me simply because I’ve asked them to. I wouldn’t! I expect to be able to demonstrate through my actions that their trust has been earnt by way of me aiming to deliver tangible and verifiable results. Sometimes this means telling clients things that they’d rather not hear; this investment didn’t perform as we would have liked, but these did; you don’t have enough capital to retire, your fees will need to increase. However, these are all examples of being transparent and correctly managing people’s expectations which is an integral part of trust.
Please note this article provides general advice only and has not taken your personal, business or financial circumstances into consideration. If you would like more tailored advice, please contact us today.