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Fox Guarding the Hen House

Mysterious exit for Berkshire's Thow


Barry Critchley

Wednesday, June 29, 2005

There is much titillation in British Columbia investment circles regarding news out of the Victoria office of Berkshire Investment Group Inc.

That news concerns the recent departure of Ian Thow, a senior vice-president with the firm, which is part of the Burlington, Ont.-headquartered AIC Ltd. group of companies.

"Mr. Thow is no longer with Berkshire," said Roberta Faria, marketing and communications manager for Berkshire. "Berkshire has no ongoing business relationship of any kind with Mr. Thow and Berkshire is investigating Mr. Thow's outside business activities, that is to say, business that is unrelated to his mutual fund registration that was sponsored by Berkshire."

Faria said that she "couldn't comment" on Thow's outside activities that are the subject of the firm's investigation.

When pressed, Faria said, "Mr. Thow has resigned from Berkshire and is no longer with the firm." Faria declined to comment on whether Thow was asked to resign. "I can't comment on matters of privacy."

Faria added: "We are co-operating fully with the regulatory authorities with respect to this matter. We are co-operating as we can and as we need to with the authorities with respect to this matter. Our concern is to continue to work with our clients and focus on the needs of our valued clients and advisors. That's pretty much it."

Faria would not specify which regulatory authorities are doing an investigation. "I can't comment on what the regulators are doing." She did say that Thow "was a mutual fund representative and was registered with the B.C. Securities Commission."

Calls were placed to Thow's former office. The person who answered the phone said Thow is no longer with the firm, that he was the boss and that the office is home to four advisors.

This column was unable to reach Thow. His phone number is unlisted.

Calls made to the B.C. Securities Commission drew this response. "We are aware of issues surrounding or concerning Mr. Thow and are looking into it. That's all that we can say at this point."

What is known is that Thow had been with Berkshire for almost seven years. Prior to joining that firm, he spent a dozen years with Investors Group.

What's further known is that Thow was both active and generous in the Victoria community. For instance, in February, 2004, he and his wife -- Theresa Thow, a former nurse at Royal Jubilee Hospital -- made a $500,000 pledge to the Greater Victoria Hospitals' Foundation. Thow was listed as a member of the strategic advisory committee of the Hospitals' Foundation.

He was also honoured by the so-called Angel Network. That network "is made up of businesses and individuals who have contributed time, skills, and ideas to Angel Flight of British Columbia, often working long hours behind the scenes...," said its Web site.

He was also listed, along with Don Landels of Crime Stoppers International Inc., as a sales ambassador for the Victoria Conference Centre. "The men and women ... made an enormous contribution to the city's economy and helped us become famous around the world. We're very appreciative of their outstanding support," said a note on the Victoria Conference Centre Web site. In 1999, Thow was president of Crime Stoppers International.



Ian Thow takes flight