The Aussie tale that the Wolf of Wall Street Jordan Belfort won't tell
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The Aussie tale that the Wolf of Wall Street Jordan Belfort won't tell

In case you didn't notice, the self-proclaimed Wolf of Wall Street Jordan Belfort is back on the hustle promoting his latest book: Way of the Wolf. You won't be surprised to know it is a one-stop shop on how to be a cracking salesperson.

But he's got more on offer than sales tips.

Belfort has actually been offering warnings and lessons for the modern investor - besides not fraudulently selling penny dreadful stocks to gullible investors while on drugs, or you'll go to prison.

Maybe he's had cause for some reflection after the US government took ownership of the TV rights to his story. It was part of a deal to recoup money stolen from the Malaysian government, which helped finance the Hollywood movie of his life, starring Leonardo Dicaprio.

Jordan Belfort was depicted by Leonardo DiCaprio in  2013 film The Wolf of Wall Street.

Jordan Belfort was depicted by Leonardo DiCaprio in 2013 film The Wolf of Wall Street.

Photo: Supplied
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But back to Belfort's public service work. Wall Street is a real worry, he says.

"I think the lessons of the crash have been forgotten," he told the Guardian. "It feels like we are going back into a cycle of irrational exuberance."

And bitcoin is a bubble waiting to burst.

"It's artificially created scarcity," he says. "The problem I have with bitcoin right now is that it's very much like at the tail end of of 2007, 2008 right before the mortgage market blew up. You'd be getting your haircut and he'd be like: 'Oh yeah I also do mortgages on the side.' Everybody was a broker. Everyone's flipping houses. Now everyone's buying bitcoin. I promise you the end is near."

Ashley and Dolores Howard.

Ashley and Dolores Howard.

Photo: Supplied

But he has not passed on any of the painful lessons he learned about doing business in Australia following his colourful misadventure in 2014.

It has taken a while, but CBD thinks we have finally cracked the code on what happened when the so-called Wolf of Wall Street got ripped off by a local dingo.

Illustration: John Shakespeare

Illustration: John Shakespeare

It appears that Ashley Howard, a local spiv who makes Nick Bolton look respectable, was the organiser of Belfort's high-profile tour in 2014. The problems began for Belfort when Howard then absconded with the money.

It looks like he got Howard to cough up some of the cash before bankrupting his former associate over the remaining $255,000 debt. Belfort's agent at that time, Nick Fordham, acting in court on his behalf.

But where did Howard get the money?

Howard was involved with Elsmore Resources, which floated on the ASX just before Christmas in 2014.

By February, the company 'fessed up to the ASX that most of the $2.2 million it raised had gone missing. It had started proceedings in the Supreme Court of NSW against Howard "seeking the return of company funds which may be in the possession or control of Mr Howard".

Not that Belfort ended up with all of the $1.8 million that Howard fleeced from investors.

Following his permanent ban from providing financial services by ASIC last year, CBD learned that Howard invested some of the money in plastic surgery for his partner - the aspiring actor/model Dolores Howard.​

What a pity Belfort cancelled the Aussie leg of his promotional tour this month. He might have garnered a lot more sympathy with his story than he did last time as a penitent former fraudster.

Platinum class

There's no question it's been a ripping few months for shareholders in Kerr Neilson's Platinum Asset Management - its stock is up 78 per cent from the lows around the middle of the year.

What is questionable, however, is a table the listed fundy published on some of its funds' performance, in a slide pack presented to analysts after its full-year results, back in August.

The table is titled Top 25 Global Equity Funds: 1-Year Performance. Sounds pretty straight-forward, right?

However, CBD has been informed of some missing pieces, which Platinum says were the result of a "genuine oversight."

The table, which was sourced to Morningstar, put the Platinum Unhedged fund at the top of a list of the top 25 global equity funds performers over the year to June, while its Platinum Brands fund was in second place.

Yet figures from Morningstar confirm some other "global equity funds" that are arguably peers of the Platinum funds were not included in this list.

The PM Capital Global Companies Fund, for instance, returned 35 per cent, compared with Platinum's 32 per cent, and a couple of Colonial First State global company funds also beat Platinum over the year.

Why didn't Platinum's table include these facts?

Its spokeswoman explained that when it was compiling the list of best performers, it applied its "own series of criteria to come up with a top 25 comparable peer group," and this meant some of those funds that performed better than Platinums' were not included.

What a pity the presentation didn't point out this screening process had occurred.

"This was a genuine oversight and we have reviewed its processes to ensure that this does not happen again," the spokeswoman said.

Follow CBD on Twitter. Got a tip? ckruger@fairfaxmedia.com.au

Colin Kruger

Colin Kruger is a business reporter. He joined the Sydney Morning Herald in 1999 as its technology editor. Other roles have included the Herald's deputy business editor and online business editor.

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