March 14, 2008
Retail investors with life savings entangled in the non-bank
asset-backed commercial paper crisis are pleading with the House of
Commons finance committee to hold hearings on the product's sale to
Mike and Wynne Miles of Victoria say they are among the 1,400 ordinary
investors with savings in asset-backed paper, or ABCP, trusts, which are
frozen pending the completion of a restructuring plan known as the
The funds have been subject to a trading standstill since August, while
the committee conducting the retooling finalizes plans to convert the
short-term debt into longer-term notes. Chair Purdy Crawford has said
the new maturities would range from seven to 10 years.
"We cannot wait seven to 10 years for our funds, and have not been
provided with a guarantee that we will ever receive full value for our
savings, much less any interest," Mike and Wynne Miles wrote in their
"Mr. Crawford has indicated that the restructured ABCP is expected to be
significantly discounted from the price we paid for it. My husband and I
are self-employed, and we have a substantial portion of our retirement
savings frozen as ABCP."
The couple say they know of many others who are experiencing "great
financial and emotional distress" because of the trading freeze.