Senate probes collapsed schemes

Investors who lost their life savings in failed managed investment schemes are set to finally get some answers, with the Senate launching an inquiry into the bungled programs.

The investigation will examine a series of forestry managed investment schemes – including Timbercorp and Great Southern – that collapsed causing some mum and dad investors to lose their homes.

It comes fresh on the heels of a powerful Senate inquiry into Commonwealth Bank’s financial planning scandal and the Abbott government’s proposed reforms to the rules governing the financial planning industry.

The Greens spokesman for consumer affairs Peter Whish-Wilson said the establishment and collapse of the forestry managed investment schemes (MIS) was the ”signature economic policy failure of recent Coalition governments”.

”The plantations established as part of these tax minimisation schemes have changed the face of rural communities and alienated valuable agricultural land,” Senator Whish-Wilson said.

”This inquiry is a chance to look not just at the policy mistakes that were made, but also at what the role of government is in dealing with the legacy of these schemes.

”With the government’s push for financial deregulation around their Future of Financial Advice reforms, this inquiry is very timely as so many financial victims of MIS were drawn in by advisers pushing products to gain financial commissions.”

Senator Whish-Wilson said the inquiry would give the victims of forestry managed investment schemes ”a chance to be heard”.

Investors in Timbercorp, which collapsed in 2009, lost their chance for a class action in April after the High Court refused special leave to appeal in the case.