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05-264 ‘PIPS’ (People in Profit System): Investigation in Malaysia
The Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) announced today that the Bank Negara Malaysia (BNM), the central bank of Malaysia, was investigating various activities involving a wealth creation scheme called PIPS or ‘People in Profit System’.
‘In March this year, we issued a warning about this scheme based on information from the public that it was being actively promoted in Australia’, ASIC’s Executive Director, Consumer Protection, Mr Greg Tanzer said.
‘The scheme appears to operate out of Malaysia, and following enquiries by Malaysian authorities, the BNM raided PIPs premises during the week commencing 15 August 2005, Mr Tanzer said.
‘These events reinforce the message that if you want to invest money, deal only with businesses that hold an Australian financial services licence. That way, you have far more protection if anything goes wrong’, Mr Tanzer said.
‘ASIC is keen to hear from any Australians who have put money into PIPS or who can provide other information. Until we have the evidence to bring before a court, we can only repeat our warning that PIPS just doesn’t pass the smell tests for sound investing’, Mr Tanzer said.
‘Schemes like this are a sure-fire way to lose money, especially for people who join up later on. Frequently the ‘profits’ are simply paid from the money contributed by those who join the scheme later on. Family and friends often get hurt’, Mr Tanzer said.
About the PIPS scheme
From limited information available, the PIPS scheme may be an illegal investment scheme under Australian law.
PIPS is promoted over the internet and in face to face meetings arranged by local agents. The scheme is known as PIPS, PIPS Inc, People in Profit System, Private Investment Profit System, Pureinvestor and PIPS Financial Services.
It appears that participating consumers are required to make a payment of $450 (or a greater amount) to PIPS as a loan for a period of 180 trading days. The loan is supposedly repaid with interest fixed at two per cent per trading day.
Returns of at least two per cent every trading day would amount to more than 14,000 per cent each year if compounded daily over 252 trading days. At that rate, if you put in $1,000, you would have $21,601,632 in just two years.
PIPS states that returns for the first 50-53 trading days constitute repayment of the initial loan and cannot be withdrawn. Subsequent returns constitute a profit on the initial investment and can be either withdrawn or re-invested. Members are strongly encouraged to re-invest their returns, and to make additional deposits to the scheme, to increase the overall growth of their investment. Members are also required to pay a monthly fee, which is automatically deducted from the returns on their investment.
Australians who wish to contact the Malaysian investigators at the BNM can do so by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org. The BNM’s corporate communications team will pass on relevant information. Australians who have invested money in PIPS and require further information can contact the ASIC Infoline on 1300 300 630.
Journalists seeking more information about the Malaysian investigations should contact the BNM directly.