Wealth guru hits NZ

Last updated 00:00 01/01/2009

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Allegations of unfair conduct and misrepresentation from dozens of disgruntled clients on two continents did not stop a self-styled "wealth consultant" peddling his wares to hundreds of Kiwis across the country last week.

British-born Roger Hamilton who claims to be "Asia's leading wealth consultant" peppered his presentations with references to connections with powerful celebrities like Oprah Winfrey and former US President Bill Clinton, while trying to extract almost $12,000 a head from those attending his seminars.

But he did not tell those at his Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch seminars last week that his XL Results Foundation is mired in controversy.

The foundation touts itself as the largest entrepreneur network in Asia-Pacific and claims to connect more than one million entrepreneurs and business professionals worldwide.

Life membership costs $US8900 ($11,700), an investment Hamilton, who is based in Bali, says will open doors to a wealth of opportunities.

But it is understood more than 100 Singaporeans who paid up to $US8000 for life memberships over the past two years are receiving refunds after promised business networking opportunities allegedly failed to materialise.

Several legal battles are under way and complaints were filed last year with Singapore's consumer protection and commercial affairs regulators by clients alleging the foundation coaching is of poor quality and the networking services intangible.

Complaints were also filed with the Fair Trading Ministry in Australia where Hamilton, 38, has also been promoting his foundation. Those complaints were investigated but no legal breaches were uncovered.

Hamilton denies any wrongdoing and says the allegations are spawned by a single disgruntled former employee.

At Friday's breakfast seminar in Christchurch, attended by about 100 mainly small business owners, Hamilton continued to extol life membership benefits.

Questioned by the Sunday Star-Times after the seminar, Hamilton said "hand on heart" there was no substance to the allegations against him and his foundation, and that he was the victim of an orchestrated smear campaign.

In any large organisation there would be "one or two" unhappy members, but the foundation was quadrupling in size every year which suggested the majority of members found it worthwhile and believed in it. There were about 500 New Zealand members.

Star-Times inquiries show the Commerce Commission has fielded no complaints about the foundation.

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- © Fairfax NZ News

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