(July 8, 2005) Berkshire Investments says it
had no involvement in alleged wrongdoing by an advisor that worked for the
firm in Victoria, B.C. Ian Thow was the subject of a scathing profile in
The Vancouver Sun earlier this week.
The article described Thow's extravagant lifestyle, which reportedly
included ownership of a $1.5 million yacht, a $3 million jet and a $4.6
million dollar waterfront home. It also alleges that four Berkshire
clients have filed lawsuits against Thow, claiming he induced them to buy
shares of the National Commercial Bank of Jamaica. The clients claim to
have lost $3 million.
Thow left Berkshire at the end of May, telling clients he was pursuing
other business interests.
In a letter published in Friday's National Post, Berkshire says the court
proceedings relate to business transactions allegedly entered into by Thow
for which he was not licensed.
The firm states that Thow was licensed to sell only mutual funds and
insurance products, not securities, and that he had no direct relationship
with company owner Michael Lee-Chin or any other senior Berkshire
"Berkshire was not involved in and was not aware of the alleged
transactions," the letter states. "We are concerned about how these
allegations may negative impact on the reputation of Berkshire and its
Thow was not licensed to sell shares of the National Commercial Bank of
Jamaica and was not authorized by Lee Chin to conduct such transactions,
Berkshire says when it learned of the allegations against Thow, it
immediately contacted securities regulators and police and if fully
cooperating in the investigation.
Berkshire is owned by Burlington, Ont.-based mutual fund company AIC, and
the entire operation is headed by Lee-Chin. AIC acquired a majority stake
in the National Commercial Bank of Jamaica in 2002.
Filed by Doug Watt, Advisor.ca,