Andrew A. Duffy
Thursday, July 07, 2005
Berkshire Investment Group is stepping up its campaign to distance itself
from Ian Thow, one of its former senior investment advisers who resigned
at the start of June.
Burlington, Ont.-based Berkshire is expected to run a newspaper ad this
weekend which seems designed to assuage their clients concerns over Thow's
"outside business activities."
The content of the ad notes Berkshire is co-operating with authorities in
the investigation of Thow's outside business activities and again made
clear Thow is no longer with the firm.
"Berkshire has no ongoing business relationship of any kind with Ian Thow
-- during the course of our investigation into his outside business
activities, Mr. Thow resigned. We would like to confirm outside business
activities are activities unrelated to the sponsorship of his mutual fund
licence," reads the ad.
"When we learned of the allegations, we brought them to the attention of
the securities' regulators and police authorities. We intend to co-operate
in the investigation into this matter."
Both the B.C. Securities Commission and the Vancouver RCMP Integrated
Market Enforcement Team are said to be making inquiries into Thow's
Thow and Berkshire are named in four separate lawsuits that revolve around
an investment scheme in the National Commercial Bank of Jamaica.
Berkshire spokeswoman Alison Fletcher said that while the company has not
yet filed a statement of defence it "will obviously be vigorously
defending the charges against them."
Fletcher reiterated the company's position that it is Thow's business
activities outside of Berkshire that have drawn out lawsuits from his
Fletcher also said Thow was not even licensed to sell clients shares in
the Jamaican bank.
"He was only licensed to sell insurance and mutual funds," she said.
To date, Thow has been named in four lawsuits totalling about $3 million.
According to writs filed in B.C. Supreme Court and the Court of Queen's
Bench of Alberta, the suits revolve around a scheme that had clients
writing cheques to Thow's numbered company with a view to purchasing
shares in the National Commercial Bank of Jamaica to be held in trust for
Those court documents allege Thow was telling his clients their
investments were soaring; however, when the clients demanded their money,
they received either a small fraction of their investment or nothing at
It is believed these lawsuits are only the first of many to be filed.
There are also two lawsuits that have been filed in Victoria revolving
around Thow's offices at the Reef development at 21 Erie St.
In a petition to the court, Reef Condominium Development is seeking a
declaration that the mortgage on Thow's suite is in default and seeks
$522,785.57 in payments owed and secured by the mortgage.
Ashcore Building Corporation is also suing Thow with respect to the
office. Ashcore seeks $252,398.64 for the work done to build the striking
The stunning space with a dark-glass rotunda which looks out onto Shoal
Point has now been cleared of all materials save for a few chairs, tables
-- with files from CanWest News Service