RVAF Update

22 Apr

Author: Paul Kruger

Publications: Moonstone

Date Published: 21 April 2015

Die Burger reported on Thursday, 16 April 2015, that investors who placed funds with the Relative Value Arbitrage Fund (RVAF) can expect to get some of their money back.

This information was contained in the latest progress report from the joint trustees of Herman Pretorius’s estate.

According to the article, receipts show that the RVAF group accumulated approximately R2.5 billion between 2004 and 2012 from investors and other sources. A summary of the group’s income and expenses by forensic auditors, appointed by the trustees, states that Pretorius used R753 million of the funds for payments unrelated to payments to investors.

Other unspecified payments amounted to R164 million.

At the time of Pretorius’s death, there was only about R2.1 million left in the RVAF bank account.

It is not clear just how much will become available for distribution to investors. The trustees indicated that they will be applying for the setting aside of judgements obtained to freeze certain of Pretorius’s assets to prevent it from being used. They have also successfully applied for the sequestration of Pretorius’s family trusts.

Broker Commissions

The article also states that R124.6 million was paid to financial advisers who convinced investors to place their funds in the RVAF. The trustees aim to approach these advisers on an individual basis to reclaim the fees paid to them by Pretorius. One such claim was already allowed by the courts, but there is currently an appeal against this finding.

The same broker also appealed against various determinations by the FAIS Ombud that he should repay investors the money they placed in the RVAF on his advice.

In total, 23 FAIS Ombud determinations were made in favour of complainants against a handful of advisers.

Investor Claims

A third article reminds investors who wish to lay complaints against advisers that they would have to do so soon, as they only have three years from the time they became aware of, or should reasonably have become aware of, the occurrence of the act or omission which gave rise to the complaint. Pretorius died in July 2012.

A Double Whammy

There are two sources of hope for investors. The final restitution after the trustees managed to wind up Pretorius’s estate, and/or the Ombud finding in their favour.

In view of a recent Appeal Board decision it appears unlikely that investors will be allowed to have the best of both worlds. They cannot reclaim their investment from the broker, and get a partial payment from the estate. It appears that, until such time as a final payment is made from the estate, the quantum of the loss cannot be ascertained with certainty.

The attempt to get advisers to pay back the “commission” they received is far more complex than what it seems.

In 2012, after the death of Pretorius, the FSB issued a media release on the RVAF in which it said:

” The ambit of the FAIS Act is focused on the rendering of financial services which typically involve three parties, namely a product supplier, an intermediary and a client. Unless a financial product is involved, the FAIS Act does not apply.”

And further on: “To the extent that investors were lured into any of his projects, such investors carried the risk and obligation to enquire into the merits before parting with their money, especially where above-average returns were being offered. The loss of so much money to so many investors is a sad state of affairs but one for which the regulator is not accountable.”

The outcome of the appeal case, referred to above, should provide clarity on this matter.

Justice for All?

Another consideration noted before in this forum, but as yet unresolved by the authorities, concerns the broker’s ability to reimburse clients.

With multiple claims resulting from both the trustees and the Ombud’s determinations, the chances are very good that the brokers involved may be forced to choose the insolvency option.

This could mean that clients will receive justice, but no compensation, while those who benefitted most will walk away scot free.

Such an outcome defeats the object of the exercise, and deserves serious attention.

Stoksiel-gelukkig

21 Apr

Author: Martie Pansegrouw

Publications: Rooi Rose Tydskrif

Date Published: Maart 2015

Om te trou of nie te trou nie, of om weer te trou of nie, is soms net hoe die meetsnoere vir ons val. Dis hoe jy dit hanteer wat saak maak.
Enkellopende vroue het lankal die negatiewe etiket afgeknip.

Om enkellopend te wees beteken nie meer soos in die vorige eeu dat jy nie opsies het nie. Jy het die keuse om te weier dat jou lewe deur die status van jou verhoudings gedefinieer word. Selfs die term “oujongnooi” is lankal nie meer relevant nie. Vroue trou in die dertig, veertig, vyftig of later in hul lewe… of glad nie. Party skei en wil nooit weer trou nie, en sommiges se lewensmaats sterf en hulle kry nie weer ‘n goeie plaasvervanger nie.

Daar is hope webtuistes en blogs waarop enkellopendes hul filosofiee deel. Een van die talle gewildes is die van Mandy Hale, ook bekend onder haar blog-lesers en Twitter-aanhangers as The Single Woman™. Haar leuse is “Life, love and a dash of sass” en sy verkondig “Single is the new fabulous!”  

Failed fund claims hit R12.3m

20 Apr

Author: Roy Cokayne

Publications: iOL -The Mercury

Date Published: 17 April 2015

REPORT  
THE total amount that three financial advisers need to repay 22 investors they wrongly advised to place money in the Relative Value Arbitrage Fund (RVAF) has now escalated to more than R12.26 million. 
This follows several further determinations issued by the ombud for financial advisory and intermediary services (Fais) Noluntu Bam against these financial advisers. None of the three financial advisers have filed notices of appeal against the determinations. The fund collapsed after its manager and trustee Herman Pretorius committed suicide in July 2013 after shooting dead his business partner Julian Williams. The Fais ombud last year issued 16 determinations against financial adviser Michal Calitz and/or Impact Financial Consultants to repay investors more than RIOm. The ombud has issued a further six determinations to date this year against financial advisors to repay their investment clients a total R2.24m. Five determinations were issued ordering financial advisor Andrea Moolman and/or Vaidro Investments to repay five of her clients a total of more than R1.6m. In one further determination, financial advisers Simon Morton and Carol Louw and/or Catwalk Investments 592 cc trading as Pinnacle were last month ordered to repay a client R600 000. Bam has made similar comments in the determinations issued to date related to RVAF, including that the complaints were about being advised to invest in a scheme that was not above board. She said neither Pretorius nor the RVAF itself was licensed “in any way”, which was a clear contravention of the Fais Act. 
Risks 
In the determination made by Bam against Vaidro Investments and/or Andrea Moolman in regard to a complaint lodged by Leon van der Walt, who invested R206 000, Bam said the issues principally pertained to the failure of Moolman to understand the fund and the risks to which she was exposing her clients when advising them to invest in RVAF. Bam added that there were no financial statements for RVAF and without financial statements “or so much as a fact sheet” Moolman could not have understood the economic activity that generated the returns of the fund. She said Moolman was unable to explain why RVAF was nowhere to be found in the documentation she used in support of recommendations she made to investors. “The inescapable conclusion is that respondent (Moolman) knew nothing about the fund or its underlying investment and accordingly was in no position to advise her clients to invest in it,” she said. Bam said Moolman had breached the general code, which required that a provider must at all times render financial services honestly, fairly, with due skill, care and diligence, and in the interests of the client and the integrity of the financial services industry. She said Van der Walt was in no position to understand the “any material investment or other risks associated with the product” as required by the code.

Belvedere allegations: Money in SA unit trusts is safe

20 Apr

Author: Patrick Cairns

Publications: MoneyWeb

Date Published: 14 April 2015

CAPE TOWN – The allegations that local fund manager Cobus Kellerman could be involved in a $16 billion (R200 billion) Ponzi scheme through the Mauritian-domiciled Belvedere Management Limited has caused a lot of consternation in South Africa. Many investors have been worried that money they put into unit trusts managed by Kellerman could be at risk.

Kellerman established Clarus Capital in 2009. Until July last year, Clarus managed a number of funds administered by MET Collective Investments, including the Clarus MET Equity Value Fund and the Clarus Optimal Fund.

These funds, although they still carry the Clarus branding, are now managed by Contego Asset Management. Contego is still awaiting approval from the Financial Services Board (FSB) to change their names.

Contego took over management of these funds after signing a new investment management agreement with MET Collective Investments in 2014. Since July last year, therefore, Kellerman has not been involved in these funds in any capacity.

However, even when he was managing these funds, there was no opportunity for him to take money out of them. The South African unit trust market is highly regulated and there are always custodians that stand between the investors and the fund managers to prevent any kind of fraudulent activity.

“In the history of unit trusts in South Africa there has never been any evidence of a fraudulent act,” says JC Louw, the Asset Management CEO at Contego. “Kellerman could not have touched the money in these funds.”

Every unit trust has an appointed administrator and fund trustee. These are reflected on the fund fact sheets.

The administrator is responsible for verifying the assets held in the fund, while the trustee is a bank which holds those assets in trust. In effect, the fund manager doesn’t actually handle any money. They run the fund off a spreadsheet.

“We can’t withdraw money and the trustee bank will not pay out to a third party,” Louw says. “The custodian will only pay out to a FICA verified bank account supplied by the investor.”

It is also not possible for a unit trust to invest in any unlisted instruments, so a manager cannot divert funds into an obscure holding that they can then raid. The assets held by the fund must always be verifiable by the administrator.

“So there is no evidence whatsoever of money that has gone missing and no evidence of irregularities in South African funds whatsoever,” Louw says. “South African unit trusts are safe.”

The scale of the allegations

The allegations about Kellerman and his partners at Belvedere, Irishman David Cosgrove and Mauritian accountant Kenneth Maillard were first made in an article on OffshoreAlert. It claimed that Belvedere “appears to be one of the biggest criminal financial enterprises in history”.

It based this on Belvedere’s submission to the Mauritian Financial Services Commission that it has $16 billion (R200 billion) of assets under administration, management and advisory. OffshoreAlert suggested that all of this is at risk.

The amount of money in question is huge. It almost matches all of the assets under management in Allan Gray’s South African unit trusts, and is almost twice as much as that managed by Nedgroup Investments in its suite of unit trusts.

However, Moneyweb made enquiries at a number of large local financial advisers and none had heard of Belvedere before the rumours broke. Nor did they have any knowledge of RDL Management – the investment management and advisory arm of Belvedere of which Kellerman is the 50% owner.

This is in rather stark contrast to Herman Pretorius’s R3.1 billion RVAF Ponzi, which was widely known when he committed suicide.

This may be an indication that there is not a lot of South African money with Belvedere. It also raises questions about the allegations in general.

It takes a long time to accumulate an asset pool of that size, and Belvedere is reported to have over 120 funds. So far, however, the only claim that anybody has not been able to recover money from any of them are those from the deVere Group.

deVere is an independent financial advisory group, and seems to be the primary source of information supplied to OffshoreAlert. It claims that clients lost money in one of the fund’s administered by Belvedere: the Strategic Growth Fund.

However, no other investors appear to have come forward to claim that any money invested in any of Belvedere’s other vehicles is unrecoverable. That doesn’t mean there isn’t impropriety going on, but it does raise questions about what evidence really exists.

Kellerman was not available for comment at the time of publication.

Investment red flags

16 Apr

Author: Hanna Barry

Publications: MoneyWeb

Date Published: 14 April 2015

JOHANNESBURG – Unregulated investment schemes may be a dime a dozen in South Africa, but they’re pretty easy to spot so there’s really no excuse to get caught out.

Be wary when promised abnormally high and consistently positive returns that are guaranteed even when the market is down, cautions Marc Alves, senior case manager at the Financial Advisory and Intermediary Services (FAIS) Ombud.

“It’s very difficult to get a 10% return in the market through an established financial services provider, so if someone is offering you 2% a month or 30% per annum, be very cautious,” he says.

The JSE’s All Share Index (Alsi) returned 7.6% last year. The Top 40 Index, which holds South Africa’s largest blue chip companies, returned just 6%. Listed Property and the Financial 15 (which includes the largest banks and insurers) fared significantly better, returning around 19% and 23% respectively.

But even at the upper end, these numbers are significantly lower than the 300% annual returns promised by Zantech Trading or the 2%-a-day returns promised by Chris Walker’s Defencex. Both schemes were found guilty of contravening the Banks Act and ordered to repay investors.

“Empower yourself with sound financial planning and don’t make decisions based on pressure and emotions,” advises Alves, noting that those exploited are often people who have not provided sufficiently for their retirement or other financial needs.

“Ask about the risks and how easy it is to get your money out. A lot of these schemes are willing buyer, willing seller. It’s difficult to get your money out if there is no willing buyer,” he points out.

Make sure you understand how the investment works (could you explain it to someone else?) and where your money is going, Alves adds.

Know the laws

If a company is providing a financial service it must be registered under the FAIS Act and have a financial services provider (FSP) licence number, issued by the Financial Services Board (FSB). An unregistered FSP would be in contravention of the Act. You can check whether a company has an FSP licence on the FSB’s website by running a search on the company’s name (‘Search for FSP name’).

Herman Pretorius’s Relative Value Arbitrage Fund (RVAF) was not a registered fund with the FSB. Yet it is believed to have amassed R1.8 billion from 3 000 investors.

Fortunately, because it fell within the definition of a financial product, the FAIS Ombud was still able to pronounce on it despite it not being registered and has made numerous awards in favour of consumers. Last year alone, one financial advisor was ordered to repay more than R10.7 million to around 20 consumers who he had advised to invest in the RVAF.

However, a number of schemes set themselves up so as to fall outside the definition of a financial product. This leaves consumers with very little recourse since financial regulators can only enforce the laws they have jurisdiction over and only where these laws have in fact been broken. If a company is not registered with either the South African Reserve Bank (Sarb), FSB or National Credit Regulator (NCR), ask why.

The role of financial advisors

Financial advisors approached by clients for advice on these products must do the appropriate due diligence on the product, Alves says. “We’re not saying there’s not a place for alternative investments, but definitely advisors should do their homework and make sure that the products are sound and meet all the criteria,” says Alves.

“If you don’t understand the product yourself, if you haven’t done any due diligence and can’t answer the questions, don’t advise on it and certainly don’t earn fees,” cautions Gavin Came, a financial planner with Sasfin Wealth.

“Product providers have over time caused more damage than intermediaries, although advisors have borne the vast majority of the regulator’s wrath,” he maintains. “When investments don’t pan out, the intermediary carries the can for an ill-designed product at best and a ponzi scheme at worst,” Came says.

Beleggers kry glo iets terug

16 Apr

Author: Marelize Barnard

Publications: Die Burger

Date Published : 16 April 2015

Goeie nuus vir beleggers wat in Herman Pretorius se beleggingskemas belê het, is dat hulle wél van hul geld sal terugkry.

Die gesamentlike trustees van die insolvente boedel van Pretorius se Relative Value Arbitrage Fund (RVAF) Trust het in die jongste vorderingsverslag dié nuus aan beleggers bekend gemaak.

“Dit is duidelik dat daar wesenlike fondse vir verspreiding onder beleggers beskikbaar sal wees,” lui die verslag.

Die trustees het aangedui dat hulle binnekort aansoeke in die Wes-Kaapse hooggeregshof gaan indien vir die tersydestelling van hofbevele wat verkry is om die bates van verskeie van Pretorius se entiteite te bevries.

Die trustees het die bates bevries uit vrees dat Pretorius se weduwee, Susan-Ann, die bates vir haar sou vat.

Nou is dit nodig om die hofbevele tersyde te stel sodat daar ’n vollediger prentjie verkry kan word van die bedrag geld wat vir beleggers beskikbaar is.

Beleggers wat reeds eise ingedien het, asook nuwe eise wat deur beleggers ingedien word, sal ingevolge die Insolvensiewet deur die trustees beoordeel word vir moontlike uitbetalings.

 Pretorius se geldsake van 2004 tot 2012: ’n Opsomming van Pretorius en die RVAF-groep se finansiële situasie van 2004 tot sy skietdood in 2012 toon volgens kwitansies dat R2,5 miljard van beleggers en ander bronne ingevorder is. 

Altesaam R2,1 miljoen van dié bedrag was ten tyde van Pretorius se dood in die RVAF-rekening. 

Vir eie gewin: Pretorius het R753 miljoen van dié geld gebruik vir alles behalwe uitbetalings aan beleggers, volgens ’n opsomming van die RVAF-groep se inkomste en uitgawes wat deur forensiese ouditeurs in opdrag van die trustees opgestel is.

Goeie nuus vir beleggers wat in Herman Pretorius se beleggingskemas belê het, is dat hulle wél van hul geld sal terugkry.

Die gesamentlike trustees van die insolvente boedel van Pretorius se Relative Value Arbitrage Fund (RVAF) Trust het in die jongste vorderingsverslag dié nuus aan beleggers bekend gemaak.

“Dit is duidelik dat daar wesenlike fondse vir verspreiding onder beleggers beskikbaar sal wees,” lui die verslag.

Die trustees het aangedui dat hulle binnekort aansoeke in die Wes-Kaapse hooggeregshof gaan indien vir die tersydestelling van hofbevele wat verkry is om die bates van verskeie van Pretorius se entiteite te bevries.

Die trustees het die bates bevries uit vrees dat Pretorius se weduwee, Susan-Ann, die bates vir haar sou vat.

Nou is dit nodig om die hofbevele tersyde te stel sodat daar ’n vollediger prentjie verkry kan word van die bedrag geld wat vir beleggers beskikbaar is.

Beleggers wat reeds eise ingedien het, asook nuwe eise wat deur beleggers ingedien word, sal ingevolge die Insolvensiewet deur die trustees beoordeel word vir moontlike uitbetalings.

 Pretorius se geldsake van 2004 tot 2012: ’n Opsomming van Pretorius en die RVAF-groep se finansiële situasie van 2004 tot sy skietdood in 2012 toon volgens kwitansies dat R2,5 miljard van beleggers en ander bronne ingevorder is. 

Altesaam R2,1 miljoen van dié bedrag was ten tyde van Pretorius se dood in die RVAF-rekening. 

Vir eie gewin: Pretorius het R753 miljoen van dié geld gebruik vir alles behalwe uitbetalings aan beleggers, volgens ’n opsomming van die RVAF-groep se inkomste en uitgawes wat deur forensiese ouditeurs in opdrag van die trustees opgestel is.

Pretorius het die miljoene rande eerder gebruik om onder meer vir homself luukshede, soos ’n Aston Martin-sportmotor (R1,7 miljoen), aan te skaf asook talle eiendomme en duur juwele vir sy vrou, Susan-Ann, en hul seuns.

Aandele vir homself gekoop:Pretorius het R80 miljoen gebruik om onder meer vir homself aandele in Wesizwe Platinum te koop, luidens die trustees se verslag.

Die trustees is nog in die duister oor waarom Pretorius verskeie groot bedrae in Wesizwe belê het.

Die vermoede is dat hy daarmee wou spekuleer in die hoop dat hy daardeur sy jare lange Ponzi-skema kon verdoesel.

  Makelaars: Die makelaars wat onder meer niksvermoedende pensioentrekkers oortuig het dat Pretorius se RVAF-groep ’n veilige keuse is om hul pensioengeld in te belê, het R124,6 miljoen se betalings van Pretorius ontvang, luidens die verslag. 

Vordering word tans gemaak met eise teen die onderskeie makelaars wat uitbetalings ontvang het. Wanneer die geld ingevorder word, sal dit meer geld vir beleggers beteken.

Susan-Ann het R4,18 miljoen van haar man ontvang.

Ander betalings wat deur Pretorius gemaak is (wat nie deur die forensiese ouditeurs gespesifiseer is nie) beloop R164 miljoen.

Die trustees noem verder dat Pretorius se familietrusts intussen met welslae gesekwestreer is.

Pretorius het oor die jare verskeie trusts gestig om homself, sy vrou en hul twee seuns te begunstig.

Die bates wat deur die trusts bekom is, sluit in ’n luukse vakansiehuis in Hermanus, die Pretorius-gesin se huis in Welgemoed en twee eiendomme vir sy seuns in onderskeidelik Higgovale en Claremont – wat intussen op openbare veilings deur die RVAF-trustees verkoop is.


KLEINGELD

R2,1 miljoen

Van die R2,5 miljard wat van beleggers ingevorder is, was net R2,1 miljoen in die RVAF-rekening oor.

Due Diligence and the Financial Adviser

13 Apr

Author: Paul Kruger

Publications: Moonstone

Date Published: 9 April 2015

Section 2 of the General Code of Conduct requires that ‘a provider must at all times render financial services honestly, fairly, with due skill, care and diligence, and in the interests of the clients and the integrity of the financial services industry.’

To the best of my knowledge, this does not require that a FSP must conduct a due diligence to the same extent required when mergers and takeovers are concerned. This is a formal process involving lawyers and accountants, and goes far beyond what can or should be expected from a financial adviser.

In a recent determination, the FAIS Ombud again referred to this thorny issue involving an investment in the Relative Value Arbitrage Fund (RVAF) run by the late Herman Pretorius.

In the formulation of the complaint, the determination reads:

Complainant contends that he was not informed by respondent that what he was investing in what was actually a pyramid scheme as opposed to a legitimate investment. Had he so known, he would never have invested and accordingly holds respondent accountable for his losses.

From the information supplied by the respondent, it appears that she was equally unaware that the scheme was, in its last years, run as a Ponzi scheme. In fact, this only materialised after the death of Pretorius.

In the determination under discussion, the following information is supplied by the respondent:

[12] Specifically questioned as to the due diligence she conducted, respondent advised that having been introduced to Abante Capital she visited the premises where Herman Pretorius explained the strategies and how the risk was managed. Having been introduced to the trading team, respondent then proceeded to ascertain whether Abante Capital was registered with the FSB. In addition thereto respondent confirmed with Momentum and Old Mutual and spoke to their fund managers about Abante Capital and their use of the fund in their portfolios.

[13] Respondent goes on to state that, having a reasonable knowledge of Hedge Funds, respondent concluded that the strategy is sound and when mostly top 40 JSE companies are invested into, this should be a sound fund. According to respondent, Mr Pretorius explained that the way that this fund operated the risks are relatively low.

[14] Respondent contends that she was satisfied that persons investing in the fund were fully appreciative and aware of the risks involved, both in that they attended presentations by Herman Pretorius but also in that respondent further explained the process and operation of the fund as she understood it. In this regard a written explanation of Board Notice 5711 was provided and explained to each client.

[15] As to the basis upon which respondent deemed RVAF to be a suitable basis for her clients, respondent advised as follows:

15.1. Many clients need a higher return on their investment to ensure that they reached their investment goals, and as an adviser it was her duty to ensure that all products and all investment avenues are explored on behalf of clients;

15.2. Given the various market crises, hedge funds could both act as a defensive strategy and outperform traditional investments in a downturn;

15.3. Researching the different hedge funds available in the country, respondent’s research showed that Abante Capital was one of three hedge funds in South Africa;

15.4 In 2008 Abante Capital won a hedge fund award. With regards thereto respondent provided a Symmetry multi manager document showing the market neutral category winner as ‘Abante Statistical Arbitrage.’

[16] The portfolio was explained to clients as a hedge fund which invested in shares on the JSE. It was explained that as in any investment involving shares the risk is of a high nature, however historically the loss in downside markets is lessened when hedge trading strategies are used.

[17] In this regard respondent states that hedge funds may actually be a lower risk than traditional investments as the target is to protect capital, increase defensive strategies, and obtain absolute returns under all market conditions as explained by Herman Pretorius.

Concerning the client’s knowledge of investments, the determination states:

With regards to the investment in RVAF, complainant was given to understand that the underlying investment was comprised of shares on the Johannesburg Stock Exchange. To this end and having personally dabbled a bit in shares he understood that there were risks involved in the investment, chief amongst which was that the share market could go up or down;

The respondent’s version of the client’s profile states:

‘Mr VD Walt has a degree, a residential and commercial property portfolio, runs his own consulting practice and trades a share portfolio. He is investment savvy and understands how shares can be traded long and short for a profit in a bear market’.

Was the advisor negligent?

A recent Appeal Board ruling on this case contains the following interesting view:

What then constitutes negligence? The lack of skill or knowledge is not per se negligent. It is however, negligent to engage voluntarily in any potentially dangerous activity unless one has the skill and knowledge usually associated with the proper discharge of the duties connected with such an activity. Hence, in interpreting the meaning of “care and skill”, our authorities have held that a mandatory should always employ reasonable care and skill in exercising his or her mandate.

What is reasonable in the circumstances is measured against the “general level of skill and diligence possessed and exercised at the same time by members of the branch of profession to which the mandatary belongs. If a mandatary negligently falls to execute his mandate or he is negligent in exercising his mandate, he failed to act with “care and skill”. To act negligently means to act in a way that falls short of the standard of the reasonable person”. Hence the defendant is negligent if the reasonable person would have acted differently if the unlawful causing of damage was reasonably foreseeable and preventable.

It is difficult to see how the actions by the respondent, as outlined above, can be deemed to have been lacking in “… due skill, care and diligence…”, or negligent.



Piramideskema se eise kan begin verjaar

12 Apr

Author: Nellie Brand-Jonker 

Publications: Die Burger

Date Published : 12 April 2015

Beleggers wat geld verloor het in Herman Preto­rius se piramideskema, moet opskud as hulle nog eise wil instel teen die makelaars wat hulle oorreed het om in die skema te belê. 

Pretorius is in Julie 2012 dood nadat hy eers sy sakevennoot Julian Williams van die Basileus-groep en toe homself doodgeskiet het.

Sedertdien het dit aan die lig gekom dat beleggers R2,2 miljard in Pretorius se Relative Value Arbitrage Fund (RVAF) belê het.

Die RVAF-fonds het al sedert die vroeë 2000’s geld van beleggers gekry. Opbrengste van sowat 20% per jaar is belowe en is jare lank gelewer.

Noluntu Bam, ombudsman van finansiëlediensteverskaffers, het pas nog twee uitsprake gelewer ten gunste van beleggers wat in die RVAF-skema belê het. Dit bring die getal positiewe uitsprake op 23 te staan.

Sowat R13 miljoen moet reeds deur finansiële adviseurs terugbetaal word aan van die beleggers.

Franscois van Gijsen, direkteur van regsdienste van Finlac, wys daarop dat beleggers wat nog eise by die Fais-ombudsman wil indien, dit gou moet doen. In Julie sal dit drie jaar wees sedert die skietdood van Pretorius en dan kan die eise verjaar.

Hy help nou vier mense wat destyds in die RVAF-fonds belê het, om eise in te dien.

Oor die moontlikheid dat die eise kan verjaar, het Bam by navraag gesê die proses vereis dat ’n klagte “die ombudsman nie later moet bereik nie as drie jaar vanaf die datum dat die finansiële diens gelewer is of nie later nie as drie jaar vanaf die datum dat die klaer redelikerwys bewus geraak het of behoort bewus te geraak het dat iets fout is”.

Sy wou nie kommentaar lewer op ’n vraag of dit so is dat eise binnekort kan verjaar nie en sê: “Ons kan nie ja of nee op die vraag antwoord nie omdat elke saak op eie meriete gehanteer moet word.”

Die ombudsman het nie die mag om die verjaring van eise uit te stel nie.

Van Gijsen glo egter dit gaan moeilik wees vir beleggers om te bewys hulle het nie geweet dat iets fout is nadat die nuus oor Pretorius se selfmoord in Julie 2012 bekend geword het nie.

“As jy nie teen Julie ’n eis ingedien het nie, gaan jy die geleentheid verbeur.”

Volgens Van Gijsen het hulle ná Pretorius se skietdood in 2012 aanvanklik baie navrae gekry van beleggers wat wou weet hoe om klagte by die Fais-ombudsman in te dien. Min beleggers het egter opgetree teen die bepaalde makelaars – vermoedelik omdat hulle wag om te kyk wat uit die likwidasieproses spruit.

Die makelaar Michal Johannes Calitz wat in Stellenberg in Kaapstad woonagtig is, het in dié stadium verreweg die meeste geld terugbetaal. Daar is al berig dat sy kliënte op sy advies meer as R86 miljoen in die skema belê het. Daar is reeds 17 uitsprake teen hom om altesame R10 miljoen aan beleggers terug te betaal.

Die eerste belegger wat verlede jaar teen Calitz ’n uitspraak gekry het, het Vrydag gesê hy is nog nie die geld terugbetaal nie omdat Calitz besig is om by die Raad op Finansiële Dienste (RFD) te appelleer teen die uitspraak.

Belvedere Management: Massive Criminal Enterprise or Defamed Fund Manager?Posted on April 11, 2015 by

11 Apr

Author:  

Publications: naked capitalism

Date Published :11 April 2015

…….. Looking a little further afield in the Belvedere fund universe, we find some other nuggets.

First, Belvedere runs some onshore funds in South Africa, but a presumably rather sweaty independent audit, initiated very soon after Marchant’s article came out, says they’re fine.

Second, Belvedere man Cobus Kellerman had some wonderful investment timing when his Ankh Analytic sold out its indirect holdings in Basileus Capital on the very day its principal, Julian Williams, was shot and killed  by his former business partner Hermann Pretorius, who then shot himself.  Pretorius’ RVAF Trust then turned out to be a Ponzi. Basileus Capital got into difficulties too:

The empire of slain businessman Julian Williams appears poised for collapse, following the announcement that his Basileus Capital group has initiated “business rescue proceedings”.

Business rescue is an alternative to liquidation provided for under the updated Companies Act.

Also at risk are investors in the JSE-listed BK One, a capital-raising vehicle for Basileus.

There is a trail of related party trans­actions, comprising intercompany investments, loans and write-offs, which raise questions about how much of the cash Basileus was able to raise from investors actually made its way into the project “pipeline” of which it boasted.

Belvedere crops up in the BK One story again, benefitting handsomely from a relatively terrible BK One deal for shares in Avalloy:

The February report discloses that R52-million was used to buy shares in Avalloy from SA Superalloys and from a mysterious Mauritian investment fund called Four Elements. A further R11.6-million was spent in taking over a loan to Avalloy that Four Elements had extended. Part of the loan had been converted into shareholding, meaning BK One had bought an effective 10.5% shareholding in Avalloy at a cost of R65-million. In contrast, the Industrial Development Corporation got its 10% in effect for free – a bonus for providing a R35-million loan.

Even more curious is that an associate of Four Elements was the major subscriber to shares in BK One, accounting for nearly half of the R200-million raised. The second-biggest shareholder in BK One, with 17%, is another Mauritian entity, Two Seasons, which shares the same management team as Four Elements: Ken Maillard and David Cosgrove of Belvedere Management, Mauritius. A message left on Belvedere’s automated answering service went unanswered.

Third, Belvedere funds made (purportedly modest) investments in the very dreadful Harlequin Property scheme, famous in the UK, a  resort development company that sucked up £400Mn of investor funds and ran out of cash with hardly any of the promised development complete.

Fourth, David Cosgrove of Belvedere has some previous form:

The now exposed Belvedere Ponzi kingpin David Cosgrove is no stranger to the South African financial authorities. Just over a decade back, he single handedly collapsed JSE-listed financial services company mCubed after the Reserve Bank and SARS discovered he was helping clients to illegally ship money offshore.

Described by those who know him as a high-pressure salesman who considers laws and regulations the same way SA taxi drivers view traffic lights, Cosgrove used the institutional offshore allowance as a vehicle to prey on rich South Africans nervous about the country’s future.

When the scheme was discovered, the authorities levelled a R140m fine on mCubed, which in effect killed the business, a piece of which was later picked up by the equally corrupted Fidentia. As a result, Cosgrove is about as popular at the Financial Services Board and in SA financial circles generally, as Netanyahu would be at an ISIS gathering………..

Regstappe kom teen makelaars

8 Apr

Author: Marelize Barnard

Publications: Die Burger

Date Published : 8 April 2015

Wes-Kaapse makelaars wat miljoene rande gemaak het deur beleggers na die Ponzi-skema van wyle Herman Preto­rius te lok, weier nou om hul kommissiegeld terug te betaal.

Die trustees van Pretorius se Rela­tive Arbitrage Fund (RVAF) en Seca Trust se volgende stap is om “een vir een op die ry af” die makelaars met regstappe te dwing om die geld terug te betaal, het Rynette Pieters van Independent Trustees Dinsdag gesê.

Intussen het die ombudsman vir finansiële adviseurs en tussengangers (Fais) Dinsdag die makelaars Simon Morton en Carol Louw, voorheen verbonde aan Catwalk Investments 592 met ’n besigheidsadres in Durbanville, beveel om R600 000 te betaal aan ’n belegger wat deur hul toedoen by die RVAF belê het.

Morton, wat ’n kantoor in Durbanville gehad het, het intussen na Auckland in Nieu-Seeland geëmigreer. Louw woon in Goedemoed.

Die klaer aan wie die geld terugbetaal moet word, Nigel Andrew Freddy, noem in die klag wat by Fais ingedien is dat hy R450 000 van sy R600 000-beleggingsgeld by Allan Grey wou belê, maar dat Morton hom anders oortuig het.

Noluntu Bam, ombudsman vir finansiële diensteverskaffers, het bevind dat Morton en Louw “blindelings” aanvaar het wat oor Pretorius se RVAF aan hulle vertel is. ’n Behoorlike ondersoek na die bestuur van die RVAF-beleggings is nie gedoen nie en albei het versuim om hul plig teenoor die belegger na te kom.

Bam het verder bevind dat die belegger nie ’n ingeligte keuse kon maak nie omdat dit nie aan hom genoem is dat sy geld belê sou word in ’n entiteit wat nie gereguleer of geregistreer was nie.

Morton en Louw het as “geregistreerde finansiële diensteverskaffers versuim om die Fais-wetgewing na te kom en kan nié die skuld vir die beleggingskeuse op die belegger plaas nie”, het Bam bevind.

Morton is een van die makelaars wat ook miljoene rande kommissie moet terugbetaal – tussen R8 miljoen en R10 miljoen.

Nog ’n makelaar, Wilhelm Erwee van Moorreesburg, moet meer as R12 miljoen aan kommissie terugbetaal.

Die makelaar Michal Calitz van Impact Finansiële Konsultante in Bellville weier om R9,06 miljoen terug te betaal nadat regter Monde Samela ’n bevel daaroor in die Wes-Kaapse hooggeregshof gemaak het.

Calitz het aansoek gedoen om verlof tot appèl teen Samela se uitspraak en daar word gewag op ’n datum waarop die appèl aangehoor kan word.

Pierre du Toit van Mostert en Bosman, regsverteenwoordiger van die kurators, het gesê die volgende stap is om teen elkeen van die makelaars op te tree sodat al die kommissiegeld terugbetaal kan word.

Adviser who put clients in RVAF must repay R1.6m

4 Apr

Author: Angelique Arde

Publications: iOL

Date Published: 4 April 2015

The financial advice ombud has handed down five scathing rulings against financial adviser Andrea Moolman of Vaidro Investments in Wilro Park, Roodepoort, for advising her clients to invest in the Relative Value Arbitrage Fund (RVAF), which is in liquidation following the suicide of Herman Pretorius, the architect of the scheme. 

Although it was promoted as a hedge fund, the RVAF was a Ponzi scheme, according to the ombud. The fund reportedly owes more than R2 billion to about 3 000 investors, and the trustees of the fund have said that most, if not all, investors’ funds have been lost. 

In the first of five rulings handed down last month against Moolman, the Ombud for Financial Services Providers, Noluntu Bam, said her office had received a number of complaints from the adviser’s clients who were invested in the RVAF.

he key issues in all complaints were identical, and the essence of Moolman’s response was to renounce liability for any breaches of the Financial Advisory and Intermediary Services (FAIS) Act, the ruling states. Additionally, Moolman claimed she had carried out a due diligence on the RVAF and that her actions were in the best interests of her clients. 

All the investors who have lodged complaints against Moolman say she advised them that, not only had the RVAF won a top award in 2008, but it was part of a financial services provider (FSP) known as Abante Capital, which had been in existence for years. 

“In reality, Abante Capital was a separate legal entity and was licensed as an FSP by the Financial Services Board (FSB), while RVAF was not,” Bam says. 

There was no mention of Abante or its licence number in the contractual documents between clients and the RVAF, and client funds were transferred directly into the fund without the protection of a nominee account, the ombud says. “Furthermore, there were no financials or even so much as a fund [fact] sheet.” 

Without these, Moolman could not have understood the economic activity that generated the returns, she says. 

When, in November 2011, the first complainant heard a warning about RVAF and its lack of transparency, he took this up with Moolman. She reassured him that the fund had weathered the recession and sent him a survey of South African hedge funds. 

Bam says the survey is pertinent because it was sent to substantiate her advice, yet the RVAF was “conspicuously absent” from the survey. Moolman’s action placated her client but “provides evidence that the RVAF did not exist as a hedge fund”, Bam says. When asked to explain the glaring absence of the fund among the funds listed, Moolman’s response showed that she relied on the supposition that Abante was the fund manager. 

Bam’s rulings against Moolman refer to her determination Inch vs Calitz, which unpacks all the issues on the rendering of advice to invest in the RVAF. These relate to the adviser’s failure to understand the RVAF and the risks to which clients were exposed. 

The Inch ruling was the first of 16 rulings by Bam against financial adviser Michal Calitz, who has the Certified Financial Planner accreditation and who is a member of the Financial Planning Institute. Calitz received R8.4 million in share profits from the RVAF. 

In terms of the FAIS Act, a financial adviser must recommend products that suit your needs and your investment objectives, and the risk inherent in the product must suit your risk profile. Your adviser is also obliged to ensure that the investment that he or she recommends is legitimate, and that the person offering the investment, or acting as an FSP, is licensed. Pretorius wasn’t licensed as an FSP. 

In the five rulings, Bam has ordered Moolman to pay back more than R1.6 million to the complainants. 

Under new regulations passed last month, hedge funds will be regulated by the FSB. They must, by March next year, be regulated as collective investment schemes, offering you, the consumer, a great deal more protection. 

Although they were not regulated at the time of Moolman’s advice, any advice rendered in respect of a hedge fund was subject to the FAIS code of conduct and a notice issued by the FSB. 

In terms of this code, a hedge fund service provider must obtain a signed mandate from a client before rendering any intermediary service to the client, and the mandate must be approved by the regulator. An additional signed mandate, confirming the contents of the first, is also required. 

Bam’s ruling states: “The legislature has made every effort to require not only that a client be appropriately appraised as to the risks inherent in, and the processes and strategies followed by, a hedge fund, but that the client confirms such disclosure having taken place.” 

Bam says Moolman was out of her depth in advising on the RVAF and failed in her duties to her clients. 

“Quite simply, no adviser would have recommended this product as a suitable component of any investment portfolio had they exercised the required due skill, care and diligence,” she says.

Tighter regulation for hedge funds

14 Mar

Author: Bruce Cameron

Publications: iOL

Date Published: 14 March 2015

Hedge funds, which manage assets of more than R57 billion, mainly from retirement funds, will have to register as collective investment schemes by the end of March next year in terms of new regulations by National Treasury and the Financial Services Board (FSB).

This will result in far more protection for investors in hedge funds, which are currently unregulated. Until now, hedge fund managers have only had to register with the FSB as financial services providers.

The absence of regulation allowed things such as the massive Relative Value Arbitrage Fund scam, in which about 3 000 people invested about R2 billion in an unregulated fund posing as a hedge fund. The fund collapsed in 2013, when the person who ran it, Herman Pretorius, shot himself after killing his business associate, Julian Williams, after the FSB started a much-delayed investigation.

The regulations, which will be implemented from April 1, 2016, will require all new hedge funds to register in terms of the Collective Investment Schemes Control Act (Cisca), while existing hedge funds will have 12 months to register.

The regulations create two broad categories of hedge fund, each with different levels of regulation:

* Qualified investor hedge funds, which are limited to institutions, such as retirement funds, and very wealthy individuals who have large sums to invest. These funds are less rigidly regulated. Investors must be able to demonstrate to the fund managers that they have sufficient expertise to understand the workings and risks of hedge funds.

* Retail hedge funds, which are open to ordinary investors, although the minimum investment amounts are usually fairly high. They are more strictly regulated than qualified investor funds, and the risks they are allowed to take are more limited.

The new hedge fund regulations follow changes to regulation 28 of the Pension Funds Act four years ago that allowed retirement funds to invest significant amounts in hedge funds.

The regulations also come at a time when investors internationally are expressing greater caution about hedge funds, because of complexity, fraud, costs and poor performance. For example, in 2014, one of the world’s biggest retirement funds, the California Public Employees’ Retirement System, announced plans to start cashing in the US$4 billion it had invested with hedge funds, saying they were “too expensive and complex”.

The aims of the regulations are to:

* Provide investors in hedge funds with better protection;

* Assist in monitoring and managing systemic risk to the financial services industry;

* Promote the integrity of the hedge fund industry;

* Enhance transparency in the hedge fund industry, which traditionally has been ultra secretive; and

* Promote the development of financial markets.

The regulations state that hedge funds will be taxed on the same conduit basis as all other collective investment schemes, such as unit trust funds.

The conduit principle means that investors pay tax only when they receive returns. So any interest or dividend payments are taxed in the hands of the investor when they accrue; and income tax (if the investment is sold in less than three years) or capital gains tax apply to any gains or losses on the sale of an investment.

The regulations, in effect, accord hedge funds a special status in terms of Cisca. Unit trusts funds, which are also governed by the Act, cannot use the investment strategies and financial instruments that often form the backbone of hedge funds (see “What are hedge funds?”, below). For example, unit trust funds are not allowed to borrow to invest, nor can they use most derivatives.

But the regulations will not open the door to a “wild west”. There are strict controls, particularly in the case of retail hedge funds, on investment strategies, gearing and financial instruments.

The South African hedge fund industry grew its assets under management by R10.5 billion during 2014, ending the year with assets under management of R57 billion.

These assets are invested in 113 hedge funds, which are managed by 55 hedge fund managers (fund of hedge fund managers excluded).

‘WELCOME DEVELOPMENT’

The declaration of hedge funds as collective investment schemes by National Treasury and the Financial Services Board (FSB) is a welcome and long-awaited development, says Leon Campher, chief executive of the Association for Savings & Investment SA (Asisa).

Campher says Asisa partnered with National Treasury and the FSB for several years to regulate hedge funds, which had been pushing for clarity on product regulation.

“Generally, regulation assists with the growth and management of an industry, as it provides much- needed clarity to industry participants and investors alike. Consumers, whether they are institutional or retail, also find comfort in the fact that an independent body – the FSB – is overseeing the industry operations and structures that manage their investments,” Campher says.

He says that South African financial regulators accepted in 2007 that hedge funds needed some form of regulatory supervision. Initially, this was thought to be appropriate at only manager level, since hedge fund managers are held to higher experience standards, greater capital adequacy requirements and stricter qualifications than their “long only” peers. However, since the global financial crisis of 2008, South African and global regulators have been reviewing the situation.

REGULATIONS FOR QUALIFIED AND RETAIL FUNDS

Under the new regulations, general conditions apply to both retail and qualified investor hedge funds. For example, they are restricted in the main to using securities and derivatives that are listed on registered securities exchanges. There are also limitations on the percentage of a fund that may be invested in any one security. These limitations apply to all collective investment schemes, to reduce risk of a major loss if there was a total failure of a single underlying investment.

The specific conditions that apply to qualified investor funds include:

* They are restricted to “qualified investors”. This is someone who can invest a minimum of R1 million per hedge fund and who has demonstrable knowledge and experience in financial and business matters that enable the investor to assess the merits and risks of a hedge fund investment; or who has appointed a financial services provider who has demonstrable knowledge and experience to advise the investor about the merits and risks of a hedge fund. A qualified investor can be an individual or an entity, such as a retirement fund.

* There are limitations on investment strategies that expose an investor to a loss in excess of the value of its investment or contractual commitment to a fund.

* The fund manager must set a “value-at-risk”, which is a measure of the maximum expected loss of a portfolio over a specified period.

* Have sufficient liquidity (cash and easy-to-sell assets) that enable the manager to pay out investors within three months of an instruction to sell.

The specific requirements for retail hedge funds include:

* The fund must have sufficient liquidity to enable its manager to pay out investors within three months of an instruction to sell. A unit trust fund must pay out an investor within 48 hours, but, because of the contractual nature of derivatives, there are constraints on when the underlying investments of a hedge fund can be cashed in.

* The fund manager is limited to borrowing up to 10 percent of the value of a portfolio for liquidity purposes.

* The manager may borrow against the fund’s assets only for investment purposes, when borrowing funds for taking short positions or engaging in derivative transactions with counterparties (see “What is a hedge fund?”, below).

* Gearing (borrowing to invest) is restricted to a maximum of 20 percent of the total net asset value of the portfolio.

* Managers must report to the Financial Services Board monthly, within 14 days of the end of the month, all long and short positions in the portfolio, reflecting the market value and the effective exposure and value of each of the underlying investments.

* The fund may not invest in property, the portfolio of a fund for qualified investors or a private equity fund.

* If the portfolio includes derivatives, the manager must ensure that the fund’s exposure to derivatives does not exceed the net asset value of the portfolio.

WHAT IS A HEDGE FUND?

Hedge funds are similar to unit trust funds in that investors’ money is pooled to buy assets. The main difference is that hedge funds have more flexibility in the financial instruments and investment strategies they can use, and they can borrow money against their assets, to multiply returns (but they can also multiply losses).

Hedge funds should not be confused with hedging, which is an investment strategy to reduce potential losses.

Most hedge funds are more risky than unit trust funds. On average, they are far more expensive than unit trust funds, which reduces the returns.

Hedge funds use many different strategies to earn returns, from trading in stressed debt to finding small gaps in the prices of securities. Most of these strategies are not permitted in terms of the new regulations.

Most hedge funds, particularly more traditional ones, use what are called long-short strategies to provide superior returns, whether investment markets are rising or falling. These involve buying some securities long and selling others short.

Buying long means buying a security (bond or share) to hold on to it in the hope that it will increase in value.

Selling short is a bit more complex. The manager borrows (rents) shares from another investor and sells the shares in the expectation that the share price will drop. When the price drops, the manager buys back the shares at a cheaper price to give back to the original owner, making a profit on the difference between the selling and buying prices (less the rental).

There are many risks associated with hedge funds, which the regulations aim to reduce but do not eliminate. These include:

* Liquidity risk. It is often difficult to sell a fund’s underlying investments because of contractual or market conditions. In extreme market conditions, liquidity problems can cause a fund to collapse.

* Pricing risk. It can be very difficult to value the assets in a fund at a particular time.

* Counterparty risk. Hedge funds tend to deal with other parties when purchasing derivatives, borrowing securities and gearing (borrowing). There is a risk that a counterparty may fail to meet its commitments, which will have a knock-on effect on the fund.

* Short squeeze risk. This is the risk that the securities required for a shorting contract will not be available when required.

* Financial squeeze. This is the risk that a manager will be unable to borrow, or to borrow at an acceptable rate, frustrating the strategy followed by the manager.

* Timing risk. This is the risk that the manager simply gets it wrong.

How to lay a complaint with the FAIS Ombud

27 Jan

Author: Hanna Barry

Publications: MoneyWeb

Date Published: 26 January 2015

JOHANNESBURG – To help you navigate the world of financial services in 2015, Moneyweb has put together a guide to understanding how the complaints process of the Financial Advisory and Intermediary Services (FAIS) Ombud works. Since the FAIS Ombud handles complaints from members of the public against financial advisors and product providers it could come in handy.

1. Try make amends

Before submitting a complaint to the FAIS Ombud, you must try to resolve it with the responding party (financial advisor or product provider) within a six-week time frame. Once you’ve received the final word from the respondent and are still not satisfied, you then have six months to approach the Ombud with your complaint.

2. Fill out a form

Your complaint should be outlined in a six-page form under the How to complain tab on the Ombud’s website. You can phone the Ombud on 012 470 9080 if you need help completing the form, but it’s fairly self-explanatory. The form requires a detailed explanation of your complaint, including background, product details, as well as date-stamped phone calls and emails exchanged with the person or company you are complaining against. Supporting documentation, such as proof of your investment and any relevant correspondence you may have, should be attached to your complaint. There’s even a section that asks you to describe how you would expect your complaint to be resolved.

3. Know your limits

The Ombud has a jurisdictional limit of R800 000 per complaint and complainants must agree to forego any amount in excess of R800 000 in order for the Ombud to consider their complaint. However, it’s important to understand that one complaint can comprise a number of causes of action, which for the purposes of this rule are considered as separate complaints.

“Where a person makes an investment of R790 000 in July 2013 as a result of advice offered by their financial advisor and then in May 2014 a further amount of R1 million is invested, following the advice of the same financial advisor, the two transactions make two separate causes of action,” explains FAIS Ombud, Noluntu Bam.

“In other words, even though the person will send us one complaint detailing all the investments they made, the two transactions remain two separate causes to institute a complaint,” Bam tells Moneyweb.

If this complaint were to succeed, the full R790 000 would be awarded in respect of the first cause of action, while the second cause of action would be limited to R800 000. The complainant would ultimately walk away with R1.59 million.

Importantly, the Ombud is precluded from looking at complaints pending before a court of law. The office’s eventual determination has the effect of a civil judgment of the court.

4. Wait for an outcome

Once the FAIS Ombud has received your complaint, the office “may follow and implement any procedure which the FAIS Ombud deems appropriate, and may allow any party the right to legal representation,” an information leaflet on the Ombud’s website broadly explains.

The respondent is naturally given a chance to respond and the Ombud must first attempt to mediate a settlement between the parties. If the parties refuse to accept the Ombud’s recommendations, the Ombud will make a final determination. This could include either the dismissal of the complaint or the upholding of the complaint wholly or partially by compensating the complainant for financial harm suffered.

R10m for one advisor

Of the 9 400 odd new complaints received in the 2013/14 financial year, the Ombud settled 7 587 within the same year (including 49 determinations), returning around R30.6 million to consumers.

Of the 49 determinations made, 17 were made against Impact Financial Consultants CC and Michal Johannes Calitz in respect of Herman Pretorius’s Relative Value Arbitrage Fund (RVAF).

Excluding the annual interest accumulating from the date of determination to the date of final payment (varying between 9% and 15.5%), the total awards made to consumers in respect of this one advisor and product came to more than R10.7 million.

Investment red flags

13 Jan

Author: Hanna Barry

Publications: MoneyWeb

Date Published: 13 January 2015

If it sounds too good to be true…

JOHANNESBURG – Unregulated investment schemes may be a dime a dozen in South Africa, but they’re pretty easy to spot so there’s really no excuse to get caught out.

Be wary when promised abnormally high and consistently positive returns that are guaranteed even when the market is down, cautions Marc Alves, senior case manager at the Financial Advisory and Intermediary Services (FAIS) Ombud.

“It’s very difficult to get a 10% return in the market through an established financial services provider, so if someone is offering you 2% a month or 30% per annum, be very cautious,” he says.

The JSE’s All Share Index (Alsi) returned 7.6% last year. The Top 40 Index, which holds South Africa’s largest blue chip companies, returned just 6%. Listed Property and the Financial 15 (which includes the largest banks and insurers) fared significantly better, returning around 19% and 23% respectively.

But even at the upper end, these numbers are significantly lower than the 300% annual returns promised by Zantech Trading or the 2%-a-day returns promised by Chris Walker’s Defencex. Both schemes were found guilty of contravening the Banks Act and ordered to repay investors.

“Empower yourself with sound financial planning and don’t make decisions based on pressure and emotions,” advises Alves, noting that those exploited are often people who have not provided sufficiently for their retirement or other financial needs.

“Ask about the risks and how easy it is to get your money out. A lot of these schemes are willing buyer, willing seller. It’s difficult to get your money out if there is no willing buyer,” he points out.

Make sure you understand how the investment works (could you explain it to someone else?) and where your money is going, Alves adds.

Know the laws

If a company is providing a financial service it must be registered under the FAIS Act and have a financial services provider (FSP) licence number, issued by the Financial Services Board (FSB). An unregistered FSP would be in contravention of the Act. You can check whether a company has an FSP licence on the FSB’s website by running a search on the company’s name (‘Search for FSP name’).

Herman Pretorius’s Relative Value Arbitrage Fund (RVAF) was not a registered fund with the FSB. Yet it is believed to have amassed R1.8 billion from 3 000 investors.

Fortunately, because it fell within the definition of a financial product, the FAIS Ombud was still able to pronounce on it despite it not being registered and has made numerous awards in favour of consumers. Last year alone, one financial advisor was ordered to repay more than R10.7 million to around 20 consumers who he had advised to invest in the RVAF.

However, a number of schemes set themselves up so as to fall outside the definition of a financial product. This leaves consumers with very little recourse since financial regulators can only enforce the laws they have jurisdiction over and only where these laws have in fact been broken. If a company is not registered with either the South African Reserve Bank (Sarb), FSB or National Credit Regulator (NCR), ask why.

The role of financial advisors

Financial advisors approached by clients for advice on these products must do the appropriate due diligence on the product, Alves says. “We’re not saying there’s not a place for alternative investments, but definitely advisors should do their homework and make sure that the products are sound and meet all the criteria,” says Alves.

“If you don’t understand the product yourself, if you haven’t done any due diligence and can’t answer the questions, don’t advise on it and certainly don’t earn fees,” cautions Gavin Came, a financial planner with Sasfin Wealth.

“Product providers have over time caused more damage than intermediaries, although advisors have borne the vast majority of the regulator’s wrath,” he maintains. “When investments don’t pan out, the intermediary carries the can for an ill-designed product at best and a ponzi scheme at worst,” Came says.

Weelde met Ander se Geld

29 Nov

Almari Wessels

Huisgenoot

14 August 2014

Ons loer in die swendelaar Herman Pretorius se spogwoning met sy duur meubels, en vra die mening van twee binneversierders.

Daar is lang splete in die imposante veiligheidshek en terwyl ons vir die agent wag, kan ons nie help om solankndaardeur te loer om ‘n glimp te kry van die rykmanshuis daaragter waaroor al so baie geskryf en gegis is nie.
Die deel van die huis wat ons sien, is teleurstellend: Die gras is hopeloos te lank en die plante en bome lyk moeg en verwaarloos, glad nie wat mens in Welgemoed, een van Kaapstad se spogwoonbuurte, verwag nie.
Maar nou ja, die huis se gewese inwoners moes die afgelope twee jaar seker groter probleme as gras sny trotseer.
Die openbare veilingvan die kasarm by Van de Graafstraat 26 is een van die laastehoofstukke in ‘n opspraakwekkende drama wat op 26 Julie 2012 begin het toe die patriarg Herman Dempers Pretorius hom en sy oudsakevennoot Julian Williams in Julian se kantoor in Kaapstad doodskiet.
Die “beleggingsmagnaat” Herman is na sy dood as ‘n swendelaar ontmasker en die “fondse” waarin beleggers sowat R2,2 biljoen bele het, was toe eintlik piramideskemas.
En nou word die huis waarin Herman, sy vrou, Susan-Ann (53), en hul seuns van in die 20, Andrew en Christopher, gewoon het, opgeveil en kan die publiek vir die eerste keer sien hoe die binnekant lyk.
Susan-Ann is in Oktober verlede jaar finaal in die Wes-Kaapse hooggeregshof gesekwestreer nadat sy die aansoek hewig teengestaan het. Daarna kon die trustees van twee van haar man se “beleggingskemas”, die Relative Value Arbitrage Fund en Seca Trust, eindelik die huis laat opveil.
Die gesin se vakansiehuis op Hermanus is verlede jaar al vir R16,5 miljoen opgeveil en twee eiendomme wat Herman vermoedelik vir sy seuns aangeskaf het, ‘n huis in Oranjezicht en ‘n woonstel in Claremont, het onderskeidelik R4,9 miljoen en R3,2 miljoen gehaal.Herman en Susan-Ann het die Welgemoed huis in 22004 vir R2.5 miljoen gekoop, maar voor sy dood het Herman die waarde van die huis op R25 miljoen geraam nadat die gesin binne twee jaar sowat R13.3 miljoen aan bouwerk en binneversiering bestee het.
En vandag kom Huisgenoot kyk hoe die indrukwekkende glaspaleis wat met ander se geld gebou is, binne lyk. Ons het twee binneversierders genooi om saam te kom en hul indrukke te deel: Nico Alberts van Nico Alberts Interiors en Nicola Rossouw van House Couture Interior Design, albei van Kaapstad.
Van Buite
Mens mag nie alleen op die erf van 3200 m2 of in die huis ronddwaal nie, en die afslaer Claremart se agente kom haal mense by die elektroniese hek. Op versoek van Susan-Ann mag besoekers ook geen foto’s neem nie.
‘n Mens verstaan dadelik waarom die huis die bynaam glaspaleis gekry het: Al die glas skuifdeure en -vensters laat dit lyk of die buitemure van glas is.Die glas word afgewissel met moderne staalstruture en afrondings van sandklip versag die andersins strak en harde lyne. Die soort ontwerk is baie modern en tipies van hedendaagse Suid-Afrikaanse argitektuur, se Nico en Nicola.
Ingang en GrondVerdieping
Wanneer jy die huis deur die reuse glasdeure binnestap, is jou eerste indruk een van ‘n ontsaglike, gestroopte ruimte. Die grondverdieping is ‘n enorme dubbelvolume-vertrek met reuse glasvensters, gordyne en blindings wat twee verdiepings ver van die plafon tot by die vloer strek.
Die elegante kroonkandelaar van handgeblaasde glas hang ook twee verdiepings diep en is sowat R30 000 werd, se Nicola.
Die gordyne en blindings word met afstandbeheer oop-en toegemaak en is ontwerp om ‘n warm, knus dop vir die andersins koue en taamlik siellose omgewing geskep.
In ‘n hoek lei ‘n elegante marmer trap met glasrelings na die tweede verdieping. Die relings en raamlose glas moes ook nagenoeg R30 000 gekos het, raam Nicola.
Die meubels om die grondverdieping is gerangskik sodat dit vier afsonderlike vertrekke vorm wat inmekaarvloei en net geskei word deur afskortings wat sonder deure van die plafon tot op die grond strek.
Al die sagte meubelbedekkings is neutrale kleure, en tekstuur word verleen deur materiale wat wissel van ryk fluweel tot linne van aardse kleure, verduidelik Nico.
Die vloer is van marmer waarop spesiaal ontwerpte wolmatte in ligte skakerings plek-plek neergesit is, en teen die mure hang kontemporere kunswerke wat perfek met die kleurskema saamsmelt. Die matte is elk tussen R30 000 en R50 000 werd, skat die binneversierders.
Elke vertrek is met ‘n fokuspunt ontwerp, verduidelik Nico. Die fokuspunt van die hoof-leefvertek is ‘n lang, plat, supermoderne kaggel en die van die TV-kamer langs die kombuis is elegante, grys mure wat met materiaal oorgetrek is.
In die hoofleefvertrek staan ‘n L-vormige ontwerpersbank wat volgens hofdokumente R48 600 gekos het. Nicola raam die gesamentlike waarde van die banke en die stoele op die grondverdieping op sowat R130 000.
Twee kombuistafels wat op ‘n oop oppervlak langs die televisiekamer staan, is volgens Nicola sowat R55 000 elk werd. Die stoele is weg: Suasn-Ann het dit glo saamgeneem. “Met die stoele by sal die tafels sowat R150 000 elk werd wees.” se Nicola.
Die enorme kombuis bestaan uit drie lang, smal vertrekke met afskortings tussenin en is elke sjef se droom. Die toonbanke is met graniet afgewerk en die kaste is van kiaathout – “modern en goed afgerond”, meen Nico.
Aan die kombuis grens ‘n motorhuis met ‘n marmervloer waar die Pretoriusse se Aston Martin DB van R2,5 miljoen en ‘n Range Rover van sowat R1 miljoen waarskynlik geparkeer gestaan het.
Eerste Verdieping
Die poraal van die eerste verdieping het vloere van soliede hout. Reg langs die trap staan ‘n Barcelona-dagbed, ‘n ikoniese meubelstuk geinspireer deur die beroemde Duits-Amerikaanse argitek Mies van der Rohe.
Ons loop na die slaapkamers, wat almal volvloerwoltapyte het. Soos ‘n mens kan verwag, het die hoofslaapkamer ‘n weelderige instapkas. Die skrynwerk hier is spesiaal vir die vertrek ontwerp en met ‘n liggrys Duco-verf (‘n soort emaljeverf) afgewerk, verduidelik Nico. In die hoek van die instapkas is ‘n glasstort wat tot by die dak strek en op ‘n binnenshuise tuin afkyk.
Al die beddens in die slaapkamers het ‘n koppenent van Franse Linne en chenille wat van muur tot muur strek. Elke slaapkamer het ook ‘n en suite-badkamer met glasstorte, mmarmervloere en -mure en in die hoofslaapkamer is marmertrappies tot in die bad.
In wat vermoedelik die Pretorius-seuns se kamers was, staan rugbyballe en speelgoedbbeertjies nog op die rakke. Op die een kamer se vloer is drie lee Adidas-bokse opmekaargestapel.
Al die kamers het glasdeure wat na ‘n balkon lei van waar mens ‘n pragtige uitsig het op ‘n lang, nou swembad en die lower-groen boomtoppe van Welgemoed.
‘n Mens kan van hier af ook sien hoe verwaarloos die tuin eintlik is en die in die linker-hoek van die grasperk le ‘n verdwaalde rugbybal. Dis alles tekens van die lewe wat die ggesin eens hier op die omheinde erf gelei het.
Kelderverdieping
Nog ‘n paar stelle marmertrappe later kom ons in die kelderverdieping aan, waar die vertrekke is van waar die Pretorius-gesin hul elektrisiteit so opgejaag het. Volgens ‘n broon na aan die ondersoek het die gesin elke maand byna R40 000 aan krag bestee en as jy die wynkelder, gimnasium, sauna en rolprentkamer sien, kan jy verstaan hoekom.
Die wynkelder is van dak tot vloer van hout en die temperatuur word elektronies beheer, se Nicola. Die glasdeur daarheen is gesluit, maar jy kan sien die rakke dra nog tiientalle bottels wyn.
In die gang wat na die gimnasium en wynkelder lei, staan twee lae uitgekerfde houtbankke. Die rolprentkamer het meubels in ‘n Indonesiese styl: uitskopleerstoele en ”n lang, halfronde bank met sitplek vir maklik agt mense. Nicola skat die waarde van die meubels op sowat R80 000.
In die gimnasium is ‘n trapmeul, ‘n roeimasjien, verskeie gewigte, nog oefeninstrumente en neffens die gimnasium is ‘n piepklein sauna.
En Wat is die Kenners se Oordeel?
Die huis is vir hom koud en sielloos, is Nico se slotsom toe ons weer buite die elektroniese hek staan. Nicola stem saam – die decor is taamlik klinies en onpersoonlik, se sy, maar ‘n mens moet ook onthou dis mense se gekoesterde persoonlike besittings wat lewe aan andersins karakterlose vertrekke gee, en die is lankal hier verwyyder.

Ekstra Bronne: Die Burger, Moneyweb

Fais-wet: Wyer toesig nodig

7 Nov

Author: Ekonomiese Redaksie

Publications: Die Burger

Date Published : 7 November 2014

Verbruikersbeskerming is sterker as ooit, skryf Ian Middleton, besturende direkteur van Mast­head, maar daar is steeds gebreke.

Sedert die Wet op Finan­siële Advies- en Tussengangerdienste (Fais) in 2004 van krag geword het, het reguleerders – veral die Raad op Finansiële Dienste (RFD) – verskeie kodes en beginsels ingestel om te verseker dat elke finansiële-adviesonderneming kliënte se belange op die hart dra.

Dit sluit in die kode oor die billike behandeling van kliënte.

Voor Fais het Suid-Afrika ’n hoogs ongereguleerde finansiëledienste-omgewing gehad. Enigeen kon homself ’n finansiële raadgewer noem. Die hoofdoelwit met Fais was om mense wat finansiële raad betref, te beskerm en die professionaliteit en integriteit van die finansiëledienstebedryf te verhoog.

Die Fais-wet het standaarde vir bevoegdheid, etiek en werkwyse gestel om mense teen onbetroubare en beginsellose raadgewers te beskerm.

Raadgewers en die sleutelindividue moet gelisensieer word. Kliënte kan dus by die RFD nagaan of iemand geakkrediteer is en wat hulle by magte is om te verkoop. Adviseurs mag slegs binne hul kundigheidsveld raad gee of dienste lewer.

Raadgewers is ook onderworpe aan jaarlikse oudits en moet eksamens slaag.

Kliënte het nou ook ’n maklike, goedkoop en vinnige manier om dispute met hul raadgewer te besleg deur die kantoor van die Fais-ombudsman.

Dit bevoordeel kliënte, maar beklemtoon ook die belangrikheid van raadgewers. Deur kwalifikasies vir die bedryf amptelik te maak, het dit die beroepstatus van raadgewers verhoog.

Voldoening aan die Fais-wet verg regstreekse en onregstreekse koste – tyd en mensehulpbronne.

Dit het ’n groot las geskep vir klein raadgewende firmas en raadgewers wat alleen sake doen. Die aantal onafhanklike finansiële raadgewers het gevolglik afgeneem. Sommige het weens die reguleringshekkies uitgeval, ander het werk gaan soek by groter organisasies.

Die veranderinge was nie so erg soos in Brittanje nie waar soortgelyke regulasies jare voor Fais ingestel is.

Wat die raad van adviseurs betref, is ons in die algemeen positief.

Dit lyk dalk asof daar baie klagtes oor finansiële raadgewers is, maar dit moet in konteks gesien word.

Sowat 30 van die Fais-ombudsman se beslissings haal jaarliks nuusopskrifte, maar niks word gesê oor die miljoene kliënte wat voordeel getrek het uit die raad wat hulle oor lang- of korttermynpolisse of beleggings ontvang het nie.

Die doeltreffendheid van verbruikersbeskerming word egter verwater weens ’n reguleringsgaping.

Hoewel die RFD alle bedrywighede wat die onder die Fais-wet val, reguleer, beheer en monitor, lê baie beleggingskemas wat waarde vir verbruikers vernietig het en die opskrifte gehaal het buite die trefwydte van die RFD in ’n ongereguleerde ruimte.

Ons meen dat daar op ’n breër vlak toesig gehou moet word oor of die beloftes wat aan kliënte gemaak word, billik en bereikbaar is.

Wanneer ongereguleerde produkte aan kliënte bemark word in openbare advertensies in druk, op radio en op televisie, moet dié produkte en verskaffers gesien word as dat hulle die gereguleerde wêreld betree het en hulle moet as sodanig behandel word.

Met so ’n ingewikkelde doolhof van keuses moet kliënte seker maak dat hulle raad by ’n geakkrediteerde, gelisensieerde, professionele raadgewer kry.

As ’n kliënt so iemand raadpleeg en sy of haar raad volg, sal hulle ’n veiliger finansiële toekoms binnegaan. Niks klop daardie gemoedsrus nie.

■ Masthead help finansiëledienstemaatskappye aan wetgewing voldoen.

 

‘Wees ingelig, dan sal jy veiliger wees’

Nico van Gijsen, ’n gesertifiseerde finansiële beplanner en gereelde rubriekskrywer vir Sake, gee sy mening oor die Wet op Finansiële Advies- en Tussengangerdienste:

Die Fais-wet het myns insiens goeie bedoelinge, maar gaan in praktyk nie naastenby ver genoeg met sy doelstellings – die beskerming van die regte van mense – nie.

Mense is in die algemeen finansieel ongeletterd of minstens oningelig en naïef, veral oor langtermyn- finansiële beplanning. Die produkte is kompleks en daar is ernstige etiese probleme wat wetgewing nie oplos nie.

Die bedryf is te veel ingestel op verkope ten koste van gepaste finansiële advies. Die Fais-wet fokus ooglopend sterk op “advies”, maar is beperk in sy definisie: “Advies” is eers advies as ’n produk te sprake kom.

Dan is daar die malligheid in die beleggingswêreld. Dink maar aan die “skemas” wat verspot groot opbrengste belowe en dan bankrot speel.

Ek meen kliënte moet sterker begin staan. Hulle kan begin deur:

■ Net professioneel opgeleide finansiële beplanners te gebruik;

■ Elke brokkie advies skriftelik verduidelik te kry;

■ Nie poliskontrakte te onderteken voordat hulle dit deeglik deurgelees en seker gemaak het hulle verstaan dit nie;

■ Nie wolhaarstories oor beleggingsopbrengste te glo nie – die sakeblaaie skryf immers gereeld daaroor; en

■ Dit sal goed wees as sakeblaaie meer op persoonlike finansiële advies fokus en as mense dié blaaie lees, want dit is hoe jy ingelig raak oor jou eie finansies.

Calitz moet R8 m. betaal

17 Oct

Author: Marelize Barnard

Publications: Die Burger

Date Published : 17 Oktober 2014

Wyle Herman Pretorius se beleggingskema het “ ’n baie lae risiko en is gepas vir ’n mens wat op die punt is om af te tree”.

Dít was die raad wat die makelaar Michal Calitz van Impact Finansiële Konsultante in Bellville volgens ’n belegger verskeie kere aan hom gegee het toe hy tussen Augustus 2007 en Maart 2011 al sy aftreegeld by Preto­rius belê het.

Die belegger, Hendrik Carstens, is een van die mense wat Calitz by die ombudsman vir finansiële adviseurs en tussengangers (Fais) verkla het. Carstens het vyf keer beleggings met ’n totale waarde van R2,3 miljoen in Pretorius se Rela­tive Value Arbitrage Fund (RVAF)-trust belê en mettertyd R175 000 daarvan onttrek.

Die Fais-ombudsman, Noluntu Bam, kan slegs eise van tot R800 000 hanteer. Sy het Dins­dag beslis dat vir die een belegging van R1,9 miljoen Calitz slegs R800 000 hoef terug te betaal. Sy het egter die ander vier beleggings bygereken en gelas dat Calitz R1,19 miljoen aan Carstens moet terugbetaal.

Bam het Maandag nog ’n eis van R150 000, wat deur Jeanrich Ehlers ingedien is, teen Calitz toegestaan. Dit is die jongste van 13 suksesvolle eise teen Calitz en hy moet nou reeds meer as R8 miljoen aan beleggers terugbetaal.

Die Burger het vantevore berig dat Calitz die eise teen hom teenstaan.

Calitz voer aan dat daar geen kousale verband is tussen die skade wat beleggers gely het en sy optrede as makelaar nie. Die skade was nie sy (Ca­litz se) toedoen nie, maar die gevolg van Pretorius se bedrog.

Calitz is ook besig met ’n aansoek om verlof tot appèl teen ’n uitspraak van regter Monde Samela in die Wes-Kaapse hooggeregshof.

Dit is nadat Monde gelas het dat Calitz, sy beslote korporasie Impact Finansiële Konsultante en die maatskappy EQ Prop R9,06 mil­joen moet terugbetaal.) Vyf makelaars het reeds ooreenkomste aangegaan met die kurators van Pretorius se maatskappye en trusts en hulle het reeds R1,8 miljoen terugbetaal. ’n Verdere sowat R2,4 miljoen gaan deur dié makelaars terugbetaal word.

Kurators soek steeds Pretorius-miljoene

14 Oct

Author: Marelize Barnard

Publications: Die Burger

Date Published : 14 Oktober 2014

Die kurators van wyle Herman Pretorius se maatskappye en trusts soek steeds na die geld wat in sy beleggingskema verdwyn het.

In die jongste verslag deur die kurators se prokureurs, Mostert en Bosman, oor die soektog na geld word genoem dat die meeste van die makelaars wat kommissie van Pretorius ontvang het, reeds ondervra is.

Vyf makelaars het ooreenkomste aangegaan met die likwidateurs en hulle het reeds R1,8 miljoen terugbetaal. ’n Verdere sowat R2,4 miljoen gaan deur dié makelaars terugbetaal word.

In die gevalle waar makelaars nie vrywillig hul kommissies terugbetaal nie, is aansoeke in die Wes-Kaapse hooggeregshof teen hulle ingedien.

Een van die makelaars, Michal Calitz, is besig met ’n aansoek om verlof tot appèl teen ’n uitspraak van regter Monde Samela in die Wes-Kaapse hooggeregshof. Dit is nadat Monde gelas het dat Calitz, sy beslote korporasie Impact Finansiële Konsultante, en die maatskappy EQ Prop R9,06 miljoen moet terugbetaal.

Dit sluit in kommissie, ’n lening deur ​Pretorius en ’n geskenk van R250 000 wat Calitz aan die twee gesekwestreerde trusts van Pretorius moet terugbetaal.

Die bevel is gemaak ná ’n aansoek deur die kurators van Pretorius se gesekwestreerde Relative Value Arbitrage Fund (RVAF) en sy Seca-trust.

Lesers se mening op Facebook oor Pretorius en hul geld:

Quintin Papenfus: “Ek weet van twee gesinne wat al hulle spaargeld verloor het. Dit natuurlik by Pretorius belê. Hulle kry bitter swaar vandag. Hy het soveel mense ingeloop . . . ek twyfel of hulle ooit hulle geld gaan terug kry.”

Soekie Bester: “Ons was slagoffer van hierdie skelm mense, het uit onkunde ons jarelange makelaar geglo. Nee, ek kon nog nie hierdie mense hul gulsige luukse lewe op ander se swaarverdiende lewensgeld vergewe nie!”

Annatjie Jonker: “Ja Herman Pretorius . . . dit is ’n psigopaat wat mense so in die oë kon kyk en vertel hoe hy risiko bestuur, hoe dinge beheer word, ens., welwetende dat die alles leuens is.”

Philip Meiring: “Julle moet rondkyk daar is nog baie van Herman Pretorius se eweknieë in die rondte, hulle skroom nie om jou geld te vat nie.”

Swaer getuig oor weelde voor dood

11 Oct

Author: Marelize Barnard

Publications: Die Burger

Date Published : 11 Oktober 2014

Van die Hardekraaltjie-woonwapark in Voortrekkerweg, Bellville, tot ’n multi-miljoenrand-huis in Welgemoed – dít is die pad wat die swendelaar Herman Pretorius geloop het.

Pretorius kon nie altyd ’n Aston Martin, luukse vakansiehuis in Voëlklip, Hermanus, en juwele van honderdduisende rande vir sy vrou, Susan-Ann, bekostig nie.

Daar was ’n tyd nadat sy sake in George “verkrummel” het toe die Hardekraaltjie-woonwapark al uitweg was.

Dít was gister van die getuienis van wyle Pretorius se swaer, Srecko Antun Bilobrk, ’n Kroasiër wat hom jare gelede in Suid-Afrika gevestig het en met Susan-Ann se suster, Carol-Ann, getroud is.

Bilobrk, ’n elektriese ingenieur, het in die Bellville- siviele hof in die sekwestrasie-ondervraging oor Susan-Ann se geldsake getuig.

Bilobrk was die laaste familielid met wie Pretorius gaan gesels het voor hy op 26 Julie 2012 eers sy voormalige sakevennoot Julian Williams en daarna homself in die Icon-gebou in die Kaapstadse sakekom doodgeskiet het.

Pretorius het op die dag van die skietery van sy kantoorkompleks in die Tyger-waterfront in Bell­ville gery en onverwags by sy swaer se huis in Kampsbaai opgedaag. Pretorius het gesê hy is in die stad om Williams te kom sien.

“Hy het gesê hy het R100 miljoen aan Williams geleen om die geld van die mense in sy tuisdorp (Piketberg) te betaal. En dat die hele dorp gaan ontplof omdat die geld nie betaal is nie,” het Bilobrk getuig.

“Hy het gesê hy het ’n halfuur. Hy het koffie gedrink en was gespanne. Die mense in sy tuisdorp is nie betaal nie . . . En toe hoor ons die nuus ’n paar uur later,” het Bilobrk getuig oor Pretorius se laaste oomblikke.

Adv. Almero de Villiers, wat namens die kurators van Preto­rius en Susan-Ann se trusts optree, wou by Bilobrk weet wanneer Pretorius hom gevra het om na sy (Pretorius) se gesin om te sien.

Bilobrk het geantwoord nadat Pretorius teruggekom het van ’n vakansie in Turkye het hy “vir die eerste keer in sy lewe gesê hy voel bedreig.

Pretorius het gesê Julian (Wil­liams) is bipolêr en daartoe in staat om enigiets te doen. Hy het gesê hy voel bedreig en dat hy nou met ’n ander motor ry.

Bilobrk het hierna getuig dat Pretorius hom gevra het om na sy gesin om te sien. “Ek het gedink hy maak ’n grap.”

De Villiers het hierop aangevoer dat Pretorius se seun Andrew gesê het Pretorius het ’n sak geld vir Bilobrk gegee, waarop Bilobrk dit ontken het. “Ons het nooit enige geldelike ooreenkomste gemaak nie.”

De Villiers het Bilobrk gevra waarom hy dan maandeliks R35 000 aan Susan-Ann gee sedert haar man se dood – dit beloop al tussen R500 000 en R600 000.

“Jy moet dit kan insien dat dit lyk asof Herman Pretorius geld aan jou gegee het, wat jy nou uitdeel.”

Bilobrk het geantwoord hy verwag Susan-Ann sal die geld terugbetaal uit die polisgeld wat sy ná Pretorius se dood ontvang het. Hyself het nie ’n sak geld van Pretorius ontvang nie.

■ Pretorius het R2,2 miljard van beleggers ingevorder in ’n belegging-piramideskema.

Waar kry sy nou haar geld?
■ Susan-Ann Pretorius en haar regsverteenwoordiger, Etienne Naude, was nie gister by die sekwestrasie-ondervraging nie. Hulle het ook nie sekere dokumente en bankstate oorhandig soos wat die kurators van Susan-Ann se boedel van hulle geëis het nie.

■ Pierre du Toit van die prokureursfirma Mostert en Bosman het by navraag gesê Naude het laat weet hy oorweeg dit om ansoek te doen om ’n bevel dat hy sy bankstate moet oorhandig, te laat hersien.

■ Daar is polisgeld van R8 miljoen aan Susan-Ann uitbetaal ná haar man se dood. Die geld word in ’n trust bewaar. Sy kry maandeliks R35 000 van haar swaer om kop bo water te hou, en het nog nie van die rente of die R8 miljoen-kapitaal gebruik nie, luidens getuienis in haar sekwestrasie-ondervraging.

Weduwee juwele kwyt

10 Oct

Author: Marelize Barnard

Publications: Die Burger

Date Published : 10 Oktober 2014

Die weduwee van Herman Pretorius wat luukses van miljoene rande aangeskaf het met niksvermoedende beleggers se geld, het haar “verlore” diamantring van R400 000 aan die likwidateurs van haar boedel oorhandig.

Susan-Ann Pretorius het tydens haar sekwestrasie-ondervraging op 15 Augustus in die Bellville-landdroshof eers volgehou dat die ring weg is.

Nadat sy in kennis gestel is dat die tronk haar voorland kan wees as sy uitgevang word dat sy meineed pleeg, het Susan-Ann erken dat sy die ring met ’n diamant van 3,2 karaat het.

Dit was nadat sy aangevoer het dat die ring weggeraak het in Hermanus, waar die gesin ’n vakansiehuis gehad het.

Sy is tydens die sekwestrasie-ondervraging gevra om die ring en ander duur juwele aan die likwidateurs te oorhandig, wat sy sedertdien gedoen het.

Die juwele sluit twee horlosies in – ’n “goedkoper” Rolex van R36 400, asook ’n diamant-versierde Cartier-horlosie van R170 000 wat Preto­rius vir haar gekoop het.

Susan-Ann het eers ontken dat sy enigiets van dié horlosies weet.

Verder het sy ’n Tag Heuer-horlosie en twee deftige handsakke, ’n Tod’s en ’n Louis Vuitton, aan die likwidateurs oorhandig.

Susan-Ann en haar regsverteenwoordiger, Etienne Naude, is in Augustus deur adv. Almero de Villiers (vir die kurators) gevra oor sekere doku-mente, soos byvoorbeeld bankstate, wat hulle toe reeds ingevolge ’n dagvaarding moes oorhandig het.

Nóg Naude, nóg Susan-Ann het die dokumente oorhandig, en is beveel om dit teen vandag te doen wanneer die volgende ondervraging plaasvind.

De Villiers is bygestaan deur Pierre du Toit van Mostert en Bosman.

More rulings against Calitz up his bill to R6.8m

5 Oct

Author: Angelique Arde

Publications: iOL

Date Published: 4 October 2014

Over the past three months, the Ombud for Financial Services Providers has handed down eight more rulings against financial adviser Michal Calitz, who advised clients to invest in the Relative Value Arbitrage Fund (RVAF), a Ponzi scheme that was marketed as a hedge fund. This brings the number of rulings against Calitz to 12 and the total amount he must repay investors to more than R6.8 million.

The RVAF was “nothing short of a scam”, Noluntu Bam, the Ombud for Financial Services Providers, said in her first ruling against Calitz, which was handed down in June.

Following the collapse of the RVAF, in July 2012 Herman Pretorius, the mastermind of the scheme, shot his business partner before turning the gun on himself. The RVAF reportedly reaped in about R2.2 billion from investors.

In Bam’s first ruling against Calitz, she says Calitz conceded that he had received “profit share” from the RVAF amounting to about R8.4 million. This was contained in a report addressed to creditors, by the trustees of the insolvent fund.

Calitz, who operates from Bellville in the Western Cape, holds a Certified Financial Planner accreditation. This means he has a Post Graduate Diploma in Financial Planning and is a member of the Financial Planning Institute (FPI).

The latest rulings against him read much like the previous four. Bam holds Calitz and Impact Financial Consultants, a close corporation and an authorised financial services provider (FSP), jointly and severally liable to pay the complainants, as follows:

* Garvitte Lombard – R700 000;

* Hendrik du Plessis and Erna du Plessis – R800 000 each;

* Johannes Coetzee – R500 000;

* Hendrina Rautenbach – R701 350;

* Carolina Olivier – R360 000;

* Fiona King – R494 000;

* Loredana Hansen – R630 000; and

* Natalina Natali – R120 000.

In previous rulings, and repeated in the latest rulings, Bam says nothing in the evidence persuades her office that the complainants were aware of or could have understood the implications of what they were investing in. “In particular, there is no mention of the risks of investing in an unregulated entity, one without so much as a set of audited financials.”

Hedge funds are currently not regulated in South Africa. Hedge fund FSPs may operate, but are subject to a code of conduct.

Calitz contends that he dealt through Abante Capital, a licensed FSP, but Abante Capital is not mentioned in any contractual documentation, Bam says. A hedge fund must also obtain a signed mandate from the client and ensure that the client understands the risks.

Investors in the RVAF paid money directly to the RVAF, instead of to a nominee account, “a safety mechanism to distinguish investor funds from those of the service provider”, Bam says.

She says no adviser would have recommended the RVAF as a suitable component of any investment portfolio had they exercised the required skill, care and due diligence.

Bam’s first ruling against Calitz states that, in terms of the law, a financial adviser must carry out a needs analysis on his or her client, provide a record of advice, and make proper disclosure about product suppliers. Clients must be given details of the services the adviser is authorised to provide, and whether the adviser holds guarantees or professional indemnity cover.

Ashley Percival, an assistant ombud at Bam’s office, says the office of the ombud is finalising investigations in respect of other financial advisers who advised their clients to invest in the RVAF.

This week, Jacqui Grovè, the legal and compliance services manager for the FPI, told Personal Finance that Calitz’s disciplinary hearing is scheduled for November 10. Although the ombud’s rulings carry the weight of a High Court ruling, Grovè says an FPI member is “deemed innocent until found guilty by a competent FPI disciplinary panel of his or her peers”.

CFP vies oor rubriek

24 Aug

Author: Flippie Becker

Publications: Sake Rapport

Date Published : 23 August 2014

My kwalifikasie as gesertifiseerde finansiële beplanner (CFP) bevestig enersyds ’n minimum vlak van professionele kundigheid, maar word ook ondersteun deur ’n etiese kode waarvolgens die kliënt se belange eerste gestel word.

Ek is daarvan oortuig dat kliënte professionele, onafhanklike advies benodig om ingeligte finansiële besluite te neem. My eie finansiële welvaart is afhanklik van beleggers wat vertroue het in my dienste en produkte – daarom het ek ook ’n byltjie te slyp met die slim jakkalse agter eiendomsindikasies, valuta-spekulasie, piramideskemas en dies meer.

Sondagoggend 17 Augustus bel ’n kliënt my – hoogs ontstoke oor Nico van Gijsen se artikel “wat almal probeer swartsmeer om homself witter te laat lyk” (sy woorde).

Ek word gekonfronteer met: “Hoe kan julle toelaat dat julle en jul professie so beswadder word?”
Voorheen het ek al met Nico verskil oor die tegniese inhoud van sy artikels. Die eerste keer het hy darem ’n regstelling in die volgende Sake-Rapport geplaas. Dit is nie vir my die moeite werd om tyd te bestee om elkeen van sy artikels “na te sien” nie.

Wanneer my eie kliënt egter keelvol raak, móét ek optree.

Van Gijsen kritiseer finansiële beplanners met:

– ’n “Glimlag op die regte tyd”. Wat is fout met gemaklike verhoudinge met kliënte?

– “Oormatige kerkaktiwiteit”: Impliseer dit dat ’n beleggingsadviseur wat sy geloofsoortuigings uitleef noodwendig oneties en/of skelm is?

– “Breedsprakige uitlatings oor beleggings”: Hoe kan ek advies gee oor ’n vakgebied waaroor ek met my mond vol tande sit?

– “Kleurvolle grafieke oor hemelhoë opbrengste”: Die era van telegramme is verby – beteken ’n effe meer moderne benadering met die gebruik van tegnologie dat ek ’n onetiese of skelm adviseur is?

Die verantwoordelike adviseur gebruik juis tegnologie om prestasies in perspektief te stel en nie om wanvoorstellings te doen nie.

Enige redelike leser kan verwag dat hierdie “rubriek” praktiese raad sal gee wat help om sinvolle, ingeligte besluite te kan neem.

Die eintlike raad in hierdie verband (hoe jy jou finansiële beplanner kies) is so eenvoudig soos:
Jou betroubare konsultant of makelaar wat al die jare jou versekeringsportefeulje behartig, is nie noodwendig ’n kundige in beleggings nie. Daar is egter vele kundige beleggingsadviseurs wat die Wet op Finansiële Advies en Tussengangerdienste (Fais) in letter én gees nakom.

Kyk na bekende instansies wat jou belegging administreer, byvoorbeeld Aims, Allan Gray, Glacier van Sanlam, Investec, Momentum, Old Mutual, Stanlib, ensovoorts. Hierdie administrasieplatforms tree op as bewaarder van die onderliggende bates en is derhalwe in die eerste plek aanspreeklik vir
wanadministrasie in eie geledere. Daarby word die fondsbestuurder ook streng gekeur.

Moet nooit enige geld in die “adviseur” se bankrekening, sy firma se bankrekening, enige vreemde administrasieplatform of onbekende instansie se bankrekening inbetaal nie.

Evalueer die voorgestelde strategie en bepaal of jy so jou langtermyndoelwitte kan bereik.

Volg verwysings op van kliënte wat langer as drie jaar gelede dié stappe gevolg het.
Die inhoud van die rubriek is van weinig waarde om enige potensiële belegger te help om ingeligte besluite te neem.

Ooglopend is die doel slegs om sensasie te wek en dan doodluiters Van Gijsen se kontakbesonderhede onderaan te publiseer om sy eie persoonlike belange via Finlac te bevorder.

Dit getuig nie net van swak joernalistiek nie, maar is ook uiters onprofessioneel.

Nico sê: Ek hou ’n spieël op
Nico van Gijsen antwoord: Ek probeer nie kollegas “swartsmeer” nie.

Honderde kollegas en makelaars landwyd gebruik my rubrieke as ondersteuningsmateriaal wanneer hulle met kliënte konsulteer.

Ek kry gereeld briewe van dank en aanmoediging, veral van gerespekteerde CFP-praktisyns!

Ek kan glo dat die uitwys van wanpraktyke in die finansiële-dienstebedryf plek-plek seermaak. Dit is so bedoel. Ek grond dít wat ek sê op die klagtes van honderde lesers oor meer as 15 jaar se finansiële-rubriekskrywery.

Die waarheid ontsien niemand nie. Ek vra ook nie verskoning daarvoor nie.

Ek hou ’n spieël op. As jy nie hou van wat jy sien nie, moenie die spieël slegsê nie.

Hanlie Stadler, waarnemende nuusredakteur van SakeRapport, skryf:
Ons verwelkom hierdie debat met ope arms, want dit beteken ons lesers en mense in die bedryf kyk krities na dít wat ons skryf.

Wat interessant is, is dat Nico van Gijsen en Flippie Becker eintlik oor die basiese dinge saamstem: Daar is vrot appels in die finansiële-dienste- bedryf wat nié in beleggers se belang optree nie. Becker gee puik raad oor hoe jy die vrot appels uitken – ons hoop lesers neem dit ter harte.

Die konteks van Van Gijsen se rubriek was Michal Calitz, ’n gesertifiseerde finansiële beplanner (CFP), maar een van die vrot appels in die bedryf. Hy het as agent van Herman Pretorius opgetree.
Die punt is dat ’n kwalifikasie mense nie vrywaar nie.

Net soos daar skelm dokters, prokureurs en MBA-gekwalifiseerdes is, is daar skelm CFP’s. ’n Kwalifikasie is ongelukkig nié ’n waarborg van etiese gedrag nie.

Wat die aanklag betref dat ons Van Gijsen bevoordeel deur sy besonderhede onderaan te plaas: Ons plaas in beginsel ons rubriekskrywers se besonderhede onderaan sodat lesers kan vasstel of hulle is wie hulle sê hulle is.

Hy gee ’n enorme hoeveelheid gratis raad aan lesers. Hy verdien ook geen kommissie op beleggingsprodukte wat hy aanbeveel nie (Finlac het ’n kostestruktuur waardeur hy vir sy tyd vergoed word en nie ’n kommissiestruktuur nie), en daarom is ons gemaklik daarmee om hom as rubriekskrywer te gebruik.

Die debat oor die spesifieke rubriek is nou afgesluit, maar lesers bly welkom om my te kontak oor Sake-Rapport se inhoud. My e-pos-adres is hanlie.stadler@media24.com.

Miljarde soos Warren Buffett

22 Aug

Author: Gert Coetzee

Publications: Volksblad

Date Published : 16 August 2014

DRIE klein varkies het vir hulle huisies gebou. Die eerste een oorhaastig met strooi en flentermateriaal, en die tweede effe langsamer met stokke en plank. Nommer drie het eers vasgebyt in minder gerieflike toestande om duursame materiaal vir sy blyplek te vergader en toe ’n stewige woning gebou.

En toe die groot, slegte wolf – in die gedaante van inflasie – kom . . . Een van die puik finansiële fondsbestuurders op Volksblad en Jenwil se welvaartseminaar – in die Naval Hill-planetarium, ’n grootliks onontdekte Bloemfonteinse juweel – het dié storie ter illustrasie van die realiteite van beleggingsgroei vertel.

Kortom, ontbeer eers bietjie luukshede om ’n deeglike grondslag vir die aanvangsgroei van jou neseier te lê. Hoe langer die tydperk van jou belegging, hoe beter gaan jou vesting finansiële storms kan weerstaan. En ’n kleiner bedrag wat oor 30 jaar belê word, lewer dieselfde opbrengste as ’n veel groter belegging oor 20 jaar.

Met die treurmares van African Bank (Abil) se inploffing en baie hoopvolle beleggers se pynlike verlies van aftreegeld in die swendelryk van die afgestorwe “sakeman” Herman Pretorius vars in die geheue, moes meer mense eintlik die welvaartseminaar bygewoon het.

Dit is jammer beleggers het weens geldmarkfondse se Abil-blootstelling ’n verlies gely, juis omdat geldmarkfondse veronderstel is om veilig te wees. Eintlik is dit diegene wat vinnige, maklike kitsopbrengste najaag wat gewoonlik hul vingers verbrand. Iets wat te goed klink om waar te wees, ís te goed om waar te wees, soos Rothea van Biljon van Jenwil op die seminaar gesê het.

Dink aan daardie jong tannie op die TV wat danksy ’n “gewaarborgde” opbrengs van 18% op 54 ’n lady of leisure kan wees.

Van die fondsbestuurders – van Sanlam Beleggingsbestuur, Glacier van Sanlam, Prudential, Allan Gray, Coronation en Sanlam Privaat Welvaart – op die seminaar is legendes in die bedryf. Hul fondse klop inflasie en die Johannesburgse aandelebeurs se algemene indeks deurentyd.

Dit wil gedoen wees met ander wolwe soos stagflasie, wisselvalligheid, waardevermindering en negatiewe wêreldtoestande wat dreig.

Met mense wat vandag 80, 90 en selfs 100 jaar oud word, en langer afgetree is as wat hulle gewerk het, is die groot uitdaging om hul geld so te belê dat ná hul maandelikse gebruik én inflasie dit nie in waarde krimp nie, maar op hul oudag minstens dieselfde geldwaarde sal hê.

Die fondsbestuurders se deeglik geïllustreerde voorleggings bevestig aandele bly die beste langtermyn-beleggings. Mits beleggers waagmoed het om nie hul geld te onttrek as die mark wipplank ry nie. Op kort termyn bring dit hoër risiko mee, en is diversifikasie – in effektetrusts, staatseffekte, eiendom, buitelandse fondse en, ja, die geldmark – raadsaam vir verskansing.

Die aandele-indeks trek by meer as 51 000 punte. Gaan dit oor ’n jaar op 60 000 staan of dalk tuimel tot by 18 000 waar dit in 2008 gaan draai het? Of deur die bodem val soos in 1929 se berugte Swart Dinsdag of 1988 se Swart Maandag? Ons weet nie. Beleggingskundigheid berus nie op die luukse van nabetragting nie.

’n Leek kan met ’n gelukkige geldskuif van een risiko-klas na ’n ander die mark dalk een keer klop, maar nie twee keer nie. Beleggings is nie ’n dobbelspel nie.

Vir dié geldleek klink basics en dissipline na die wenresep, soos in die lewe, ook vir beleggings.

En kry vir jou ’n kundige, betroubare adviseur wat nes jy oor jou swaarverdiende geldjies voel.

Laastens, of dalk eerstens, moet ’n mens jouself seker afvra wat welvaart is en wat jy daarmee – vir jou en andere – sou wou bereik.

Soos Warren Buffett wat net met die kleinste moontlike geldstukkie van ’n telefoonhokkie sou bel, maar later miljarde dollars aan Bill en Melinda Gates se stigting geskenk het.

‘Watter geheime draaie ry hy?’

19 Aug

Author: Marelize Barnard

Publications: Die Burger

Date Published : 19 August 2014

KAAPSTAD. – Watter geheime draaie het wyle Herman Pretorius gery voor hy op 26 Julie 2012 eers sy voormalige sakevennoot en daarna homself in die Kaapse middestad geskiet het?

Dít is een van die tergende vrae wat ontstaan het toe Susan-Ann Pretorius, weduwee van Pretorius, Vrydag deur die kurators van haar gesekwestreerde boedel in die Bellville-landdroshof ondervra is.

Op vrae hoe sy deesdae geldelik oor die weg kom, het sy geantwoord dat haar swaer maandeliks R30 000 aan haar gee.

Susan-Ann het Vrydag getuig dat die dag waarop haar man gesterf het, hy aan haar swaer gesê het indien daar iets met hom gebeur, moet die swaer na Susan-Ann en die Pretorius-egpaar se twee seuns omsien.

Pretorius het die dag waarop hy sy eertydse sakevennoot, Julian Wil­liams, in sy kantoor in Kaapstad geskiet het, ’n vergadering met ondersoekers van die afdeling vir finansiële adviseurs en tussengangerdienste (Fais) in sy kantoor in die Tyger-Waterfront in Bellville gehad.

Pretorius het aangedui dat hy na die badkamer gaan, maar het in plaas daarvan weggery van sy kantoor.

Wat gebeur het in die tydperk tot hy Williams geskiet het, is onseker. Dit blyk wel uit Susan-Ann se getuienis dat hy ’n gesprek met haar swaer gehad het.

Sedert Pretorius se dood is ’n lewenspolis van R8 miljoen aan die Penta-trust uitbetaal, wat belê is en waaruit Susan-Ann nog nie geld gebruik het nie.

Op ’n vraag van adv. Almero de Villiers, wat namens die kurators van Preto­rius en Susan-Ann se trusts optree, of sy nie van die R8 miljoen gebruik nie, het Susan-Ann gesê sy kry R30 000 per maand van haar swaer.

Dit is onduidelik wat van Pretorius se testament geword het.

De Villiers het Susan-Ann Vrydag uitgevra of sy kort ná Pretorius se dood na die bank gegaan het om in die veiligheidskassies in ’n kluis na sy testament te gaan soek. Gevra of sy die testament daar gekry het, het sy “nee” geantwoord.

RVAF adviser ordered to repay R4.25m to clients

18 Aug

Author: Roy Cokayne

Publications: iOL

Date Published: 18 August 2014

THE TOTAL amount financial adviser Michal Johannes Calitz and his financial advice consultancy have been ordered to date to repay investors for advising them to invest in the Relative Value Arbitrage Fund (RVAF) has risen to more than R4.25 million.
This follows an eighth determination and order being issued against them by ombud for financial services providers Noluntu Bam. In the latest determination, Bam ordered Calitz and/or Impact Financial Consultants to repay widow Hendrina Rautenbach R701 350.
The RVAF is in liquidation. It collapsed after the fund’s manager and trustee Herman Pretorius committed suicide in July last year after shooting dead his business partner.
Rautenbach claimed she and her late husband had one meeting with Calitz prior to investing the first R600 000.
They subsequently made four further investments in the RVAF totalling a further R890 000 plus £25 000 (R442 115) in what Rautenbach believed was the UK or international component of RVAF. The various investments made in RVAF totalled R1.17m but Rautenbach subsequently withdrew R473 350.
Rautenbach recalled being advised by Calitz that Pretorius was a clever investor with an excellent track record and had a team of highly qualified people who invested in a variety of shares in the stock market.
Rautenbach and her late medical doctor husband ended up investing more than half of their retirement savings in the RVAF. She denied ever being advised that they were investing in a hedge fund or that it was not registered with the Financial Services Board (FSB).
“Calitz, as an FSB-registered financial broker, should not in the first place have invested any of our capital with a non-registered financial fund. We trust Calitz to invest our hard-earned retirement capital in safe, gilt-edged investments producing an income on which we would/could rely in our retirement years,” she said.
Calitz claimed that at no stage was Rautenbach brought under the impression that the investment would be in shares on the JSE or in unit trusts but it was explained that the RVAF was a hedge fund and that it was not regulated by the FSB.
He added that the option to invest in hedge funds was explained to Rautenbach’s husband and was not in contradiction with his risk profile.
However, Bam said nothing in the documents that Rautenbach and her late husband were required to retain persuaded her office that they were even aware or could have understood that they were investing in a hedge fund.
Bam referred to a previous determination, which dealt with the key issues pertaining to the rendering of advice to invest in the RVAF. These included Calitz’s failure to understand the RVAF, the risks he was exposing his clients to when advising them to invest in this fund and the material deficiencies in the RVAF application forms.
Bam stressed that no adviser would have recommended the RVAF as a suitable component of any investment portfolio had they exercised the required due skill, care and diligence and in rendering financial advice, Calitz had failed to act in accordance with the Financial Advisory and Intermediary Services Act.

Investors need to wise up to Ponzi schemes

18 Aug

Author: DAWIE DE VILLIERS

Publications: Citizens Alert ZA

Date Published : 17 August 2014

Investors need to wise up to Ponzi schemes – Sharemax and directors schemed to defraud public, says Fais ombud

With many South Africans – and retirees, in particular – struggling to make ends meet, they become easy pickings for fraudsters operating get-rich-quick investment scams, also known as Ponzi schemes.

In their search for high returns on investments, South Africans seem to repeatedly entrust their hard-earned savings to operations which, at best, have short-term track records and, at worst, knowingly sell promises that they are unable to deliver on.

Investors buy into these promises without fully understanding how these operators achieve their alleged returns.

Over the past five years, the following schemes – which have had traumatic consequences for unsuspecting investors – come to mind: Fidentia, Leaderguard, Sharemax, King Group, and the Herman Pretorius saga.

There is a golden thread running through this list: each one promised a return far superior to that of the financial market, at a very low risk. In hindsight, such promises were too good to be true. But why do we continue to move from one such scandal to the next?

Spotting a Ponzi or pyramid scheme is relatively easy. Here is a checklist to arm yourself against fraudsters:

1. Insist on proof that the investment vehicle is registered with the Financial Services Board (FSB).

If it isn’t, and your money gets lost, you have no avenues of recourse open.

2. Compare the interest rates on offer with the global and local investment landscape (for example, interest rates and economic growth rates).

If the national interest rates are at 5 or 6 percent, and someone is offering you a guaranteed return of 30 percent, it is likely to be a fraudulent scheme. Having realistic expectations of investment returns is the cornerstone of any sensible investment strategy.

3. Be wary of consistent returns.

By their very nature, financial markets are fluid instruments fluctuating daily.

If a scheme offers consistent, guaranteed returns and it is not underwritten by an insurer or bank, it is most likely not invested in secure financial instruments and should, therefore, be closely scrutinised.

4. Look carefully at the track record of the institution and individual offering the investment opportunity.

And this means not just taking their word for it. Contact the FSB, contact the editor of the personal finance section of the newspaper, and ask reputable brokers for their opinion. In an economic downturn, your best bets are very well-established investment houses with solid track records and healthy cash reserves.

Don’t be fooled by professional-looking documentation or reporting.

5. Practise steps 1 to 4 above, no matter who you hear about the scheme through.

Unfortunately, many unsuspecting investors are introduced to Ponzi schemes through intermediaries, such as friends and family, and this provides them with a comfort factor. This does not mean they are safe. It is possible that those family and friends will equally become victims.

6. Don’t be comforted if the scheme has paid out regularly to those family or friends.

This is a classic characteristic of a Ponzi scheme. In order to appear legitimate, they pay out, as promised, for a period of time to allow word-of-mouth to market the scheme on their behalf. Then, when there are enough investors, they pull the plug and make off with the money.

7. Trust your instincts. Common sense and gut feel can be great defences against falling for Ponzi schemes.

Ask yourself why you have been given an opportunity to make fabulous returns on your investment. Why have you been so lucky to get this unbelievable opportunity to multiply your wealth? What’s so special about you?

8. Be extremely wary of “opportunities” to invest your money in franchises or investments that require you to bring in subsequent investors to increase your profit or recoup your initial investment.

No legitimate investment house employs this strategy – in short, it is a very big clue that something dodgy is brewing.

Whatever your reason for investing, it is vital to have a goal, a timeline and reasonable expectations.

By investing in regulated investment products – such as unit trusts or mutual funds – you are investing in products that have an enormous amount of governance.

Before investing, you must be sure that you are trusting your funds to a person, people or an institution that has shown that it can consistently deliver returns over an extended period of time.

Long-standing institutions with proven track records are often the wisest choice.

Please contact an accredited financial adviser to discuss these collective investment schemes.

* De Villiers is chief executive officer, Sanlam Structured Solutions.

Background

Named after Charles Ponzi, an Italian immigrant to the US who convinced New Yorkers to invest in coupons yielding fabulous returns in the aftermath of World War I, most Ponzi schemes have the following modus operandi: investors are wooed by fantastic returns, with the older investors in the scheme getting paid from the proceeds of the newer investors. But the scheme only lasts as long as it attracts new investors.

South Africans in search of high returns have also been caught out. Names that spring to mind include Barry Tannenbaum – who fleeced billions from wealthy individuals in 2009 – Masterbond, Ovation, Fidentia and, most recently, Herman Pretorius.

Hoe ken jy ’n geldhiëna uit?

17 Aug

Author: Nico van Gijsen

Publications: Rapport

Date Published : 17 August 2014

Met oëoopmaaktyd Maandagoggend tref twee berigte my: die African Bank-drama en die Herman Pretorius-debakel.
Die eerste is die gevolg van swak, persoonlik meen ek roekelose, sakebesluite; die ander ’n onderduimse geldmaakslenter.
Die twee het heelwat gemeen. Albei is nalatig of roekeloos met kliënte se geld. En albei kan lei tot finansiële verlies of selfs permanente ellende.
Hoe beskerm jy jou neseier teen swak besluite by die bank? Of, in die geval van Pretorius-agtige beleggingsfoefies, teen geldhiënas wat meer in hul eie sak belang stel as in jou welvaart?
Die makelaar oor wie die Pretorius-berig eintlik gaan, Michal Calitz van Impact Financial Solutions, het glo miljoene rande se kommissie verdien uit sy vriend Pretorius se slenterskema.
Calitz, ’n professionele finansiële beplanner met die gerekende CFP-titel, is deur die ombudsman vir finansiële adviseurs en tussengangerdienste gelas om enkele van sy talle slagofferkliënte hul geld terug te betaal.
Ek en baie ander professionele finansiële beplanners vertrou die Instituut vir Finansiële Beplanning (FPI) sal ook optree om sy lede en die vertroue van hul kliën­te in die instituut te beskerm.
Ek maak dié punt, want ek kry gereeld die vraag: Wie kan ek vertrou met my geld? In die lig van die geval Pretorius/Calitz kán ek die vraag nie onomwonde antwoord nie. Dit smeer af aan almal.
Maar kom ons probeer. Eers banke. Wie onthou vir Saambou? Die feit is, banke kán in die moeilikheid kom.
Vir jou as belegger is die gevaarlig die veel hoër rente-opbrengste wat aangebied word. As groot banke soos Absa, First National Bank (FNB), Standard Bank of Nedbank rente-opbrengste van so 5% adverteer, hoe kry ’n klein, niksseggende ou bankie dit reg om dubbeld soveel rente aan beleggers te bied?
Hy leen jóú geld aan mense wat reeds ’n slegte skuldnaam het. Hoërisikoleners. Die troosprys vir dié risiko wat jy loop, is die hoër rente-opbrengs – totdat alles in duie stort.
En laat ek waarsku: Daar is nóg rente-trane en ellende op pad. Hou maar dop.
Die gevaarligte met makelaars, of sogenaamde beleggingsraadgewers, is moeiliker om raak te sien: ’n glimlag op die regte tyd, oormatige kerk-aktiwiteit, breedsprakige uitlatings oor beleggings en kleurvolle grafieke oor hemelhoë opbrengste het ek al by dié geldhiënas teëgekom, alles om naïewe en goedgelowige – en ja, dikwels gierige – beleggers van hul spaargeldjies te ontneem.
Die een vraag wat van jou ’n maklike beleggingsprooi maak, is: “Watter opbrengs kan jy vir my kry?” Dis soos bloed vir ’n hiëna.
Maak liewer eers seker dat die persoon aan wie jy jou sake wil toevertrou, werklik as jou agent optree.
Vra die logiese vrae: Weet hy of sy wie ek is, wat my omstandighede is, wat my behoeftes is? Indien nie, hoe kan hy of sy aanbevelings doen? Daar móét mos ’n ander agenda wees.
As jy iemand aanstel, laat hy of sy die raad skriftelik gee, met ’n rede vir elke aanbeveling en hoe dit in watter behoefte van jou voorsien. Dit is hoe jy jouself kan beskerm.
Moenie blokkie-en-kruisie-advies aanvaar nie. Dit is nikswerd snert.
Nico van Gijsen, CFP is besturende direkteur van Finlac en ’n lid van Fisa.

Lesers kan navrae aan hom stuur by Raad met jou Rande, Posbus 8422, Johannesburg 2000 of nico@finlac.com. Twiet: @Nicovangijsen

‘Ek was net ‘n huisvrou

17 Aug

Author: Marelize Barnard

Publications: Rapport

Date Published : 16 August 2014

Vrydag was ’n baie lang en baie moeilike dag vir die Kaapse miljoenêr-huisvrou en weduwee, Susan-Ann Pretorius (53).

Buiten dat sy gepeper is met vrae oor geld wat sy van haar ontslape piramideskema-swendelaarman sou gekry het, moes sy ook ’n ring met ’n diamant van 3,3 karaat, ’n Tag Heuer-horlosie, asook haar Tod’s- en Louis Vuitton-handsakke aan die kurators van haar man se gesekwestreerde trusts oorhandig.

Op 26 Julie 2012 het ondersoekers van die afdeling vir finansiële adviseurs en tussengangerdienste (Fais) haar man, Herman (55), ondervra by sy kantoorkompleks in die Tygerwaterfront in Bellville.

Herman het homself verskoon en gesê hy gaan toilet toe, maar het in sy Aston Martin-sportmotor geklim, na sy eertydse sakevennoot, Julian Williams, se kantoor in die Kaapstadse middestad gery en eers vir Williams en daarna homself doodgeskiet.

Sedertdien het dit aan die lig gekom dat beleggers R2,2 miljard in Herman se piramideskema belê het.

Nou moet Susan-Ann al die vrae beantwoord. “Ek het niks te doene gehad met die besigheid nie,” het ­Susan-Ann Vrydag gesê toe adv. Almero de Villiers (vir die kurators) haar ondervra het.

“Ek het die huissake behartig. Ek het ons kinders (Christopher en ­Andrew) grootgemaak . . .na die tuin omgesien . . . kos gekook. Ek was nie net ’n lui huisvrou nie.”

Volgens De Villiers probeer die kurators vasstel of en hoe sy baat gevind het by betalings as trustee van sommige van Herman se trusts of as ’n beguns­tigde.

“Kan ek net iets sê? Ek is seker maar dom. Sedert 1991 het ek niks te doene gehad met my man se besigheid nie.”

Volgens haar het sy het nooit rede gehad om te glo hy is nié die man saam met wie sy 31 jaar lank was nie.

“Dit is alles goed wat nou uitkom,” het sy Vrydag gesê.

Op Herman se begrafnis op 1 Augustus 2012 in die NG kerk Welgemoed het dr. Braam Hanekom, wat die diens behartig het, gesê Herman het vroeër aan hom genoem hy het ’n toekomsvisioen gehad dat hy “baie mense gaan seermaak”.

Herman, wat graf toe is met die geheim van wat hy met die miljarde rande in beleggersgeld gedoen het, het nêrens vir sy onderneming, Abante Capital-groep, behoorlik boekgehou nie.

In die meeste gevalle het hy nie skriftelike ooreenkomste gesluit nie.

In twee gevalle het hy sommer R30 miljoen beleggersgeld uitgeleen met mondelinge ooreenkomste.

Groot bedrae wat hy van beleggers ontvang het, is nooit in ’n bankrekening gedeponeer nie. Net ’n breukdeel van beleggers se geld is deur batebestuurders belê en bestuur.

Herman het wel spogeiendom en -besittings aangeskaf – volgens ’n e-pos wat hy kort voor sy dood geskryf het, was dit in daardie stadium R126 miljoen werd.

Dit het ingesluit:

* ’n Aston Martin DBS ter waarde van R2,5 miljoen (ná Herman se dood vir R1,7 miljoen verkoop);
* ’n Vakansiehuis in Voëlklip, Hermanus (in April 2013 vir R16,5 miljoen opgeveil);
* ’n Kantoorkompleks in die Tygerwaterfront (intussen opgeveil);
* ’n Marmer-paleis in Welgemoed wat in Susan-Ann se naam geregistreer was en Vrydag opgeveil is vir R12,8 miljoen (selfs die motorhuis van dié spoghuis het marmerteëls);
* Twee eiendomme vir sy seuns in Higgovale en Claremont in Kaapstad (intussen opgeveil);
* ’n Vakansiehuis op Malgas naby Swellendam.

Ringe, sakke

Susan-Ann het Vrydag eers ontken dat sy nog in besit is van ’n ring met ’n diamant van 3,3 karaat. Sy het eers aangevoer dat dit by hul vakansiehuis in Hermanus weggeraak het, maar tydens ondervraging het sy erken sy het dit steeds. Sy moes dit daarna aan die kurators oorhandig.

Vir Susan-Ann se 50ste verjaardag het Herman vir haar ’n armband van R105 000 gegee. Sy moes dit ook aan die kurators oorhandig. Ook haar Tag Heuer-horlosie, asook haar Tod’s- en Louis Vuitton-handsakke.

Maar van ’n diamant van 1,7 karaat ter waarde van R98 900 wat Herman gekoop het of ’n Rolex- en Cartier-horlosie ter waarde van R170 000 weet sy niks.

“Miskien het hy dit vir iemand anders gekoop. Ek weet nie,” het Susan-Ann Vrydag gesê.

Al wat oor is in die luukse Pretorius-woning

17 Aug

Author: ANIKA MARAIS

Publications: Beeld

Date Published : 16 August 2014

KAAPSTAD. – Susan-Ann Pretorius is haar huis gister binne net drie minute kwyt.

Pretorius, weduwee van die swendelaar Herman Pretorius, se luukse huis in Welgemoed, Bellville, is gistermiddag deur ClareMart opgeveil.

Die hamer het ná net drie minute op R12,8 miljoen (kommissie ingesluit) geval nadat ’n plaaslike bieër die huis namens ’n oorsese koper gekoop het. Die koper en die bieër wou anoniem bly.

Die huis – met onder meer sewe slaapkamers, ’n gimnasium, ’n rolprentteater, ’n sauna en ’n wynkelder – is teen ’n “goeie prys” verkoop, het die afslaer, Jonathan Smiedt, hoof van ClareMart, gesê.

“Ons navorsing toon dat daar tussen R15 miljoen en R20 miljoen aan die huis bestee is. En dit was agt jaar gelede, onthou. As dié huis in die Atlantiese kusgebied gestaan het, sou ons dit vandag vir R25 miljoen tot R30 miljoen verkoop het.

“Vir die woonbuurt waarin die huis geleë is, is dit egter ’n goeie prys. Nie ’n winskopie nie, maar ’n goeie prys.”

Ongeveer 30 mense het gister as moontlike kopers by die veiling geregistreer, maar net vier het uiteindelik gebie.

Die huis was voor die veiling oop vir besoekers om deur te stap.

Sandra Simpson, ’n belegger wat geld in Pretorius se piramideskema verloor het, het die veiling bygewoon.

Ek het hard vir die geld gewerk wat ek by hom belê het. En ons het hom almal vertrou. Hy was vriendelik en vreeslik met sy Bybel onder die arm.
Sandra Simpson, ’n belegger wat geld in Herman Pretorius se piramideskema verloor het.
​“Dit is walglik om te sien hoe skaamteloos en sonder enige skuldgevoel ons geld gesteel en op dié huis uitgegee is. Ek was ses maande depressief nadat ek my geld verloor het.

“Ek het hard vir die geld gewerk wat ek by hom belê het. En ons het hom almal vertrou. Hy was vriendelik en vreeslik met sy Bybel onder die arm,” het sy vertel.

Twee vroue wat naby aan die drieverdiepinghuis in De Graaffstraat 26 woon, het ook na die huis kom kyk.

“Ja, die huis het ’n mooi uitsig, maar dis darem baie koud. Dit lyk nie gemaklik om hier te woon nie,” het die een vrou gesê.

“Die huis pas glad nie in die omgewing nie. Dit staan lelik uit. Die dag toe hulle die huis begin bou het, het ek aan my tuinman gesê: ‘Wat gaan hier aan? Bou hulle nou ’n 7-Eleven hier oorkant?’ ” het die ander vrou vertel.

Die huis het gister net enkele artikels gehad wat daarop dui dat Susan-Ann Pretorius tot onlangs nog in die huis gewoon het. Sy moes aan die begin van die maand uittrek en kon net ’n bed en ’n yskas saamneem.

In die studeerkamer het ’n pienk leesbril, wat oor die toonbank gekoop kan word, voor die rekenaar gelê. In die snippermasjien langs die lessenaar het versnipperde papiere, wat soos bankstate lyk, uitgepeul.

In die gimnasium het haar handgeskrewe oefenprogram en oefenhanddoek agtergebly. Sy het ook ses botteltjies bloekomolie in die sauna vergeet.

Die verkoop van die huis sal vroeg volgende week deur die trustees bevestig word.

Weduwee sal haar ring gee

17 Aug

Author: Marelize Barnard

Publications: Weduwee sal haar ring gee …nadat sy gesê het dit is weg

Date Published : 16 August 2014

Susan-Ann Pretorius gister buite die Bellville-landdroshof waar sy vrae beantwoord het in ’n sekwestrasie-ondervraging. Sy het in die ondervraging ingestem om ’n ring van R400 000 aan die likwidateurs te oorhandig nadat sy eers aangevoer het dat dit ’n paar jaar gelede weggeraak het. Foto: Lulama Zenzile
KAAPSTAD. – “Ek het nie die ring nie . . . Dit was nie die ring nie.”

En toe Susan-Ann Pretorius hoor sy kan tronk toe gaan vir meineed: “Ja, ek het die ring. Ek sal dit vir jou bring. Dit sal nie vir my enige geluk bied nie.”

Gister was ’n moeilike dag vir Pretorius, weduwee van die swendelaar Herman Pretorius.

Terwyl sy in ’n sekwestrasie-aansoek in die Bellville-landdroshof met vrae gepeper is oor juwele van honderdduisende rande wat ná Pretorius se dood soek geraak het, is haar spoghuis ’n paar kilometer verder in Welgemoed, Bellville, opgeveil.

Sy het in die ondervraging deur adv. Almero de Villiers (vir die kurators) eers volgehou dat haar troupand – met ’n diamant van 3,2 karaat en ’n waarde van R400 000 – ’n paar jaar gelede by die gesin se vakansiehuis in Voëlklip, Hermanus, weggeraak het.

De Villiers het gevra watter ring sy op haar man se begrafnis gedra het, waarop sy geantwoord het dat dit ’n namaaksel was.

De Villiers het dit weer gestel dat Pretorius die geleentheid het om te antwoord of sy steeds in besit van die ring van R400 000 is.

Hy het genoem dat ’n persoonlike assistent van Preto­rius reeds getuig het dat sy (Pretorius) die ring op haar man se begrafnis gedra het.

Sy het weer geantwoord sy het nie die ring nie. Die ring wat sy op die begrafnis gedra het, was ’n namaaksel.

De Villiers het hierna aangevoer dat juweliers ingeroep sal word om te sê of dit die ring aan haar vinger is wat op begrafnisfoto’s gesien kan word. As dit dieselfde ring is, sal sy in hegtenis geneem en tronk toe kan gaan weens meineed.

Hierna het Pretorius bevestig dat sy steeds die ring het en dit sal oorhandig.

Gister se sekwestrasie-ondervraging het bly draai om duur juwele en waar dit tans kan wees.

Pretorius het bevestig dat sy ’n armband ter waarde van R105 000 by haar man gekry het vir haar verjaardag. Sy het ook ’n Tag Heuer-horlosie wat sy aan die likwidateurs sal oorhandig.

Ek het nie die ring nie . . . Dit was nie die ring nie.
Susan-Ann Pretorius
​Sy het egter ontken dat sy enigiets weet van ’n diamant van 1,7 karaat wat R98 800 werd is, ’n Cartier-horlosie van R168 000 en ’n “goedkoperige” Rolex-horlosie van R36 400.

Sy het gister ook twee waardevolle handsakke, ’n Tod’s en ’n Louis Vuitton, saam met haar na die ondervraging gebring om aan die likwidateurs te oorhandig.

Die ondervraging is tot 10 Oktober uitgestel.

Pretorius se regsverteenwoordiger is Etienne Naude. De Villiers is bygestaan deur Pierre du Toit van Mostert en Bosman.

Susan-Ann Pretorius se huis vir R12.8 m opgeveil

16 Aug

Author: ANIKA MARAIS

Publications: Die Burger

Date Published : 15 August 2014

KAAPSTAD. – Die bod is Vrydagmiddag op R12.8 miljoen op Susan-Ann Pretorius se ontwerpershuis in Welgemoed toegestaan.

Die ​spoghuis is om 12:00 deur ClareMart opgeveil, nadat Pretorius vroeër vanjaar finaal gesekwestreer is.

’n Plaaslike bieër het namens ’n internasionale koper die huis gekoop. Die koper wou anoniem bly.

Die veiling was binne net drie minute afgehandel.

Die huis is gebou met die geld van beleggers wat R2,2 miljard by Herman Pretorius, Susan-Ann se man, belê het.

Talle ​belangstellendes het op 3 Augustus saamgedrom om die huis van nader te besigtig voor die veilig op 15 Augustus.

Makelaar moet sy Pretorius-miljoene terugbetaal

15 Aug

Author: Marelize Barnard

Publications: Die Burger

Date Published : 14 August 2014

KAAPSTAD. – Die makelaar Michal Calitz, wat beleggers gelok het om meer as R86 miljoen by die swendelaar Herman Pretorius te belê, moet miljoene rande aan kommissiegeld en ‘n “kontantgeskenk” terugbetaal.

Regter Monde Samela het in die Wes-Kaapse hooggeregshof uitspraak gelewer in ‘n aansoek deur die kurators van Pretorius se gesekwestreerde Relative Value Arbitrage Fund (RVAF) en sy Seca-trust.

Die kurators het ‘n aansoek by die hooggeregshof ingedien dat Calitz R6,54 miljoen aan die RVAF en nagenoeg R380 000 aan die Seca-trust moet terugbetaal.

Verder is geëis dat Impact Finansiële Konsultante (’n beslote korporasie waarin Calitz ’n 80%-aandeel het) ook sowat R2,1 miljoen aan die twee trusts moet terugbetaal.

In die beëdigde verklaring van Lambertus von Wielligh Bester, een van die kurators, en hofdokumente wat in die aansoek ingedien is, word genoem dat Calitz tussen 28 Februarie 2005 en 31 Mei 2012 meer as R6 miljoen in betalings ontvang het uit die RVAF as wins of kommissie omdat hy beleggers na Pretorius verwys het.

Van die Seca-trust het hy R377 155 ontvang.

Pretorius het ook net minder as R1 miljoen aan Calitz geleen. Van dié geld is R750 000 aan Pretorius terugbetaal deur Calitz se kommissiegeld van die lening af te trek. Pretorius het die res, R250 000, as ‘n geskenk aan Calitz gegee en hy het dit aanvaar.

Die kurators het aangevoer die betalings was deel van ‘n onwettige beleggingskema, of Ponzi-skema.

Calitz het op sy beurt aangevoer dit is geld wat hy vir dienste wat gelewer is, betaal is en waarop hy belasting betaal het.

Samela het gelas Calitz moet die geld – met rente bygereken – terugbetaal.

Pretorius-makelaar moet opdok, beveel hof

15 Aug

Author: Marelize Barnard

Publications: Die Burger

Date Published : 15 August 2014

KAAPSTAD. – Dit is onaanvaarbaar dat finansiële raadgewers toegelaat word om regulasies te oortree in ruil vir kommissie.

Dít was gister die bevinding van regter Monde Samela in die Wes-Kaapse hooggeregshof toe hy gelas het dat die makelaar Michal Calitz miljoene rande se kommissie en ’n geskenk moet terugbetaal wat hy by Herman Pretorius gekry het.

Samela het uitspraak gelewer in ’n aansoek deur die kurators van Pretorius se gesekwestreerde Relative Value Arbitrage Fund (RVAF) en sy Seca-trust. Hy het gelas dat Calitz, sy beslote korporasie Impact Finansiële Konsultante, en die maatskappy EQ Prop R9,06 miljoen moet terugbetaal. Dit sluit in kommissies, ’n lening deur Pretorius en ’n geskenk van R250 000 wat Calitz aan die twee gesekwestreerde trusts van Pretorius moet terugbetaal.

In die beëdigde verklaring van Lambertus von Wielligh Bester, een van die kurators, asook hofdokumente wat in die aansoek ingedien is, word aangevoer dat Calitz tussen 28 Februarie 2005 en 31 Mei 2012 meer as R6 miljoen uit die RVAF ontvang het as wins of kommissie omdat hy beleggers na Pretorius verwys het.

Van die Seca-trust het hy R377 155 ontvang.

Pretorius het ook net minder as R1 miljoen aan Calitz geleen. Van dié geld is R750 000 aan Pretorius terugbetaal deur Calitz se kommissie van die lening af te trek. Pretorius het die res, R250 000, aan Calitz geskenk en hy het dit aanvaar.

Samela het verder gelas dat rente op dié bedrae ook deur Calitz betaal moet word. Die kurators het aangevoer dat die betalings deel van ’n onwettige beleggingskema, of Ponzi-skema, was.

Calitz het op sy beurt aangevoer dat dit geld was wat hy betaal is vir dienste wat gelewer is en waarop hy belasting betaal het.

Samela het in sy uitspraak gesê daar is nie behoorlike finansiële state gehou vir die RVAF en Seca Trusts nie. Die trusts is ook nie geregistreer as finansiële instellings, ’n bank of onderneming wat finan­siële dienste lewer nie.

 

M O D E R N A R C H I T E C T U R A L LY D E S I G N E D

14 Aug

CATALOGUE-EMAIL-VERSION-26_VD_GRAAF_WELGEMOED

RVAF adviser faces R3.5m repayments

13 Aug

Author: Roy Cokayne

Publications: iOL

Date Published: 14 August 2014

THE OMBUD for financial services providers has issued a seventh order against financial adviser Michal Johannes Calitz along with his consultancy, increasing to more than R3.5 million the total amount to date that they have been ordered to repay to investors for giving advice to invest in the Relative Value Arbitrage Fund (RVAF).

In her latest determination, the ombud, Noluntu Bam, ordered Calitz and/or Impact Financial Consultants to repay Johannes Matthys Coetzee R500 000.

Bam previously ordered Calitz and/or Impact Financial Consultants to repay Loredana Hansen from Durbanville, Cape Town R630 000; Garvitte Lombard of Ferndale, Johannesburg R700 000; Dr Craig Stewart Inch of Mpumalanga R500 000; Martha Jooste R165 000; Dr Johannes Hartshorne from Cape Town R460 000; and Robert Whitfield-Jones R600 000.

The RVAF is in liquidation. It collapsed after the fund’s manager and trustee, Herman Pretorius, committed suicide in July last year after shooting dead his business partner.

Coetzee said he was introduced to Calitz by a friend in 2007 and Calitz had invested his pension fund monies in unit trusts and a money market fund in February 2008.

He said Calitz had advised him a year later to disinvest R500 000 and place it into the RVAF Trust when Coetzee visited Calitz to discuss the performance of his unit trusts and money market fund.

Coetzee said he had relied exclusively on the advice and recommendation of Calitz when making this investment, stressing that he had no prior knowledge of the RVAF and neither the risks nor the product were explained to him.

He contacted Calitz on July 12, 2012 because of negative publicity surrounding the fund but was assured by Calitz that there were no risks and that there was no need for him to retrieve his investment.

Coetzee added that he had e-mailed Calitz on July 20, 2012 with an urgent request for the financial adviser to provide him with written feedback on the allegations against the RVAF and advice on the continuation of the investment but did not receive a response.

He said that Calitz did not properly apply his mind when advising him to switch a substantial amount of his investment to RVAF and as a professional adviser should have properly investigated and assured himself of the credibility of the fund.

Coetzee stressed that Pretorius was taking in millions of rand in investments but was not registered with the Financial Services Board, the RVAF never produced any financial statements, was not audited and did not have any third party verification of returns.

Calitz claimed he discussed alternative investments, such as hedge funds, and the workings of a hedge fund with Coetzee in 2008, regular statements were sent to Coetzee, there was no reason to believe the investment was not above board, and the option to invest in hedge funds was not in contradiction with Coetzee’s risk profile.

Bam in her determination referred to a previous determination, which dealt with key issues pertaining to the rendering of advice to invest in RVAF.

These included Calitz’s failure to understand the RVAF, the risks he was exposing his clients to when advising them to invest in this fund and the material deficiencies in the RVAF application forms.

Bam stressed that no adviser would have recommended the RVAF as a suitable component of any investment portfolio had they exercised the required due skill, care and diligence and in rendering financial advice, Calitz had failed to act in accordance with the Financial Advisory and Intermediary Services Act.

Makelaar sê verlies is nie sy skuld nie

13 Aug

Author: Marelize Barnard

Publications: Die Burger

Date Published : 12 August 2014

KAAPSTAD. – Die rede waarom beleggers die geld verloor het wat hulle by die oorlede swendelaar Herman Pretorius belê het, was die gevolg van Pretorius se bedrog en “nie die optrede van ’n makelaar nie”.

Dít is die verweer van die makelaar Michal Calitz van Impact Financial Consultants teen wie die ombudsman vir finansiële adviseurs en tussengangers (Fais) die laaste tyd ’n rits besluite geneem het.

Die Fais-ombudsman het Calitz gelas om van sy kliënte se geld wat by Pretorius belê was, terug te betaal.

Calitz het aangedui dat hy dié beslissings gaan betwis. Hy sal dus geen geld in dié stadium terugbetaal nie.

Jean Kotzé, Calitz se prokureur van die prokureursfirma Laäs en Scholtz, het gister gesê ingevolge die regulasies van die Fais-ombudsman het Calitz 30 dae tyd nadat ’n beslissing gelewer is om aan te dui of hy appèl wil aanteken.

“Calitz voer aan dat daar geen kousale verband is tussen die skade wat beleggers gely het en sy optrede as makelaar nie. Dit was nie Calitz se toedoen nie, maar die gevolg van Pretorius se bedrog,” het Kotzé gesê.

“Die skade wat deur beleggers gely is, is ook nie die gevolg van professionele nalatigheid of Fais-regulasies waarby daar nie gehou is nie.”

Volgens Kotzé is daar van die kliënte wat klagtes by die Fais-ombudsman ingedien het wat steeds sy dienste as makelaar gebruik.

“Dit wys hulle besef die skade wat hulle gely het, is te wyte aan Pretorius se bedrog en nie Calitz se betrokkenheid nie.”

Die moontlikheid bestaan dat dié beleggers hoop dat Calitz se versekering die eise teen hom sal dek.

Beleggers het op advies van Calitz meer as R86 miljoen in Pretorius se skema belê.

Calitz het ook ’n aansoek in die Wes-Kaapse hooggeregshof teengestaan waarin die kurators van Pretorius se gesekwestreerde Rela­tive Value Arbitrage Fund (RVAF)-trust en sy Seca-trust geëis het dat hy diensgeld wat aan hom betaal is, moet terugbetaal.

Die kurators het ’n aansoek by die hooggeregshof ingedien dat Calitz R6,54 miljoen aan die RVAF-trust en byna R380 000 aan die Seca-trust terugbetaal.

Calitz het op sy beurt aangevoer dat hy geregtig is op al die betalings aan hom. Volgens hom is dit geld wat in die normale verloop van sy sake met Pretorius se Abante-groep aan hom betaal is.

Regter Monde Samela het in Mei vanjaar uitspraak voorbehou.

Makelaar moet vyf se R2,4 m. teruggee

11 Aug

MARELIZE BARNARD
Die Burger
10 Augustus 2014

KAAPSTAD. – “Daar is geen risiko nie. Ek het van my eie geld ook daar belê.”

Michal Calitz, eienaar van Impact Financial Consultants, het volgens ’n belegger in wyle Herman Pretorius se piramideskema haar met dié woorde oortuig om haar aftreegeld by Pretorius te belê.

Die belegger, Martha Jooste, is een van vyf beleggers wat suksesvolle eise by die ombudsman vir finansiële adviseurs en tussengangers (Fais) ingedien het om Calitz te dwing om hul beleggings terug te betaal.

Calitz moet R2,4 miljoen en rente aan dié vyf terugbetaal.

R165 000: Die ombudsman, Noluntu Bam, het in haar uitspraak in Jooste se aansoek uitgewys dat Jooste ’n klerk was met ’n halfdagwerk. Sy het al haar geld (R165 000) in Oktober 2004 in Pretorius se Rela­tive Value Arbitrage Fund (RVAF) belê vir haar aftrede. Volgens Jooste is sy nooit raad gegee oor die RVAF as verskansingsfonds nie. Calitz het haar glo wel gerusgestel dat daar geen risiko was nie en dat hy van sy eie geld daarin belê het.
R460 000: In nog ’n aansoek is Calitz gelas om R460 000 plus rente aan Johannes Hartshorne te betaal. Hartshorne se vrou het by Calitz navraag gedoen oor die RVAF en Pretorius, waarop Calitz haar verseker het dat Pretorius ’n man van integriteit was. Maar in die twee weke voor Julie 2012 toe Pretorius eers ’n oudkollega en daarna homself doodgeskiet het, het Calitz vir Hartshorne gebel en gesê hy is ongemaklik met die situasie by die RVAF. Calitz het in daardie stadium sy kliënte gewaarsku om eerder hul beleggings te onttrek, of Pretorius te gaan spreek. Dit was te laat.
R600 000: Bam het gelas dat Calitz aan Robert Whitfield-Jones R600 000 met rente moet betaal vir twee beleggings – van onderskeidelik R350 000 en R250 000 – wat op sy aanbeveling in die RVAF gemaak is.
R500 000: Calitz moet ook R500 000 plus rente van 15,5% per jaar aan Craig Inch terugbetaal. Inch het jare lank pensioengeld bymekaar gemaak en dit op Calitz se aanbeveling in die RVAF belê.
R700 000: Calitz moet ook R700 000 aan Garvitte Lombard terugbetaal.

Beleggers het op advies van Calitz meer as R86 miljoen in Pretorius se skema belê.

Susan-Ann se huis van R13,3 m.

7 Aug

Author: Marelize Barnard

Publications: Die Burger

Date Published : 07 August 2014

Binneversiering alleen is etlike miljoene rand werd, meen kenner

KAAPSTAD. – “Projek Van De Graaf – Nuwe huis in Welgemoed”.

Dié droomhuis van Susan-Ann Pretorius in Welgemoed wat aanstaande week opgeveil word, het die tjeks laat loop na ’n internasionaal bekende argitek, ’n net so bekende binneversierder, en die meesterbouers wat die argitektoniese wonder gebou het.

Aan die meesterbouers Bos en Punt is tussen 23 Februarie 2005 en 25 Oktober dieselfde jaar nege tjeks uitgemaak met bedrae van tot R1,6 miljoen elk.

Die internasionale argitekfirma Stefan Antoni Olmesdahl Truen Architects (SAOTA) het die Welgemoed-gesinshuis vir wyle Herman Pretorius en sy vrou, Susan-Ann, ontwerp.

Hiervoor is nog tjeks uitgemaak – onder meer een vir R148 000.

Die binneversiering is behartig deur Antoni Associates.

Dit is onbekend wat die dubbel erf in Welgemoed oorspronklik gekos het alvorens die drieverdiepinghuis daarop gebou is.

Luidens hofstukke wat by die Wes-Kaapse hooggeregshof ingedien is in die sekwestrasie aansoek teen Susan-Ann, is genoem in die tydperk van 23 Februarie 2005 tot 16 Januarie 2007 is R13,3 miljoen betaal aan die bouers en ontwerpers vir die projek.

Geld wat volgens die likwidateurs van Pretorius se besigheidstrusts as deel van ’n bedrogspul van beleggers se geld oorbetaal is om vir die Pretorius-gesin se luukse lewe te kan betaal.

’n Lys van 115 aankope vir die binneversiering van die huis is vantevore as deel van die aansoek by die hooggeregshof ingedien.

Met Susan-Ann se sekwestrasie is gelas dat sy uit die huis moet trek.

Sy het dit blykbaar Saterdag gedoen, ’n dag voor die huis Sondag as skouhuis oopgestel is vir belangstellende kopers.

Die huis is Sondag weer as skouhuis oop vir die publiek. Dit word op 15 Augustus met meubels en al op die plek opgeveil.

Wat sê ’n kenner:

Jacques Paulsen, van Paulsen Designs, se kommentaar nadat hy ’n paar foto’s van die huis gesien het:

  •  “Hierdie gesinswoning – met al sy luukse bykomstighede en binneversiering gedoen tot in die fynste besonderhede en gedetailleerde kontemporêre styl – is beslis met ’n baie fyn oog beplan . . .
  •  Tydloos, maar tog van pas sodat dit nege jaar later nog steeds kan kers vashou by die tipiese wonings van dieselfde kaliber aan die Atlantiese kus se eksklusiewe woonbuurte.
  •  Die argitektuur spreek vanself. Die vloei van die vertrekke verleen die idee dat hierdie huis ontwerp is met die oog om te onthaal en ook vir gesinsbyeenkomste.
  •  Die kuns is definitief en spesifiek beplan om die argitektuur te komplementeer.

Dit is ’n fyn balans waar die argitektuur en die binneversiering in perfekte harmonie is.

  •  Na my mening sal ’n huis van hierdie standaard se binne-ontwerp en -versiering in vandag se ekonomie jou in die omgewing van R3 miljoen tot R4 miljoen kos.”

(Dit sluit die struktuur, swembad, gimnasium, motorhuis met marmerteëls, ontwerpte tuin en goeie adres uit).

 

 

 

 

The Late Herman Pretorius’ Welgemoed Family Home to Go Under ClareMart‘s Hammer

5 Aug

Author: Property Wheel

Publications: Property Wheel

Date Published: 04 August 2014

The luxury fully furnished designer family home belonging to the wife of the late Herman Pretorius, who was implicated for his involvement in various hedge fund investment schemes, will be presented for public auction by the ClareMart Auction Group on site in Welgemoed on Friday, August 15 at 12 noon. This final auction of Pretorius linked properties is that of 26 Van De Graaf Street, which forms part of the Insolvent Estate of Mrs Susan Ann Pretorius and is instructed by Progressive Administration.

“Our Group has been instructed to sell various properties associated with Pretorius, his family and his companies and began the process of winding up the various matters in 2013, starting with the much publicized auction of the family’s Voelklip beach house in Hermanus. We then proceeded to auction with a Claremont apartment in Liquidation which was associated with Pretorius and his RZT Zelpy 4005 (Pty) LTD company, and we are now finally to dispose of the Welgemoed estate, to be vacated by Mrs Pretorius at the end of July” says Group Chief Executive Officer, Jonathan Smiedt.

The multi-level fully automated and integrated four bedroom home is situated atop the Welgemoed crest and offers spectacular views from almost every vantage point and was architecturally and interior designed by a leading South African based firm. “The Avant-garde villa styled modern masterpiece boasts a marble entrance hall with water feature which leads on to an open plan living area comprising two lounges and two dining areas” says Smiedt. The state of the art fully fitted kitchen which is to be sold equipped with all the Siemens appliances is complimented by marble counter tops.

For entertainment there is a home theatre with a large flat screen audio visual system, complete with Bose surround sound speakers and the unique residence boasts a wine cellar. Fitness and leisure pursuits are catered for by an equipped gymnasium with sauna as well as an outdoor extra length rim flow swimming pool. “The pool is located on a wraparound marble patio which is complimented by a bathroom and which enjoys an open braai area” says Smiedt. Upstairs is accessed via a glass and marble staircase and comprises three en-suite bedrooms as well as a fourth master bedroom with dressing area all of which lead on to a wraparound balcony with views of the immaculately landscaped gardens and mountains beyond.

Further features of this singular home which has an estimated replacement value in excess of R20million, include an en-suite flatlet and for convenience there is a storage area, a double garage and all-call air phone with speakers. “Security has been given paramount importance and the residence is protected by electric fencing and an alarm system with CCTCV” adds Smiedt.

The luxurious and exclusive property as well as all of its tasteful, sophisticated and well-appointed furnishings, fixtures and fittings will be on show on Sunday, August 3 from 2pm to 5pm and Sunday, August 10 from 2pm to 5pm. The auction will take place on-site on Friday, August 15 at 12 noon and for information contact Andrew Koch or Twane Scholes on 021 425 8822 or visit http://www.claremart.co.za

More woes for hedge fund adviser

4 Aug

Author: Angelique Arde

Publications: iOL

Date Published: 03 August 2014

The Ombud for Financial Services Providers has handed down another ruling – the fifth so far – against financial adviser Michal Calitz, who advised a number of his clients to invest in the Relative Value Arbitrage Fund (RVAF), which turned out to be a scam.

Calitz was paid R8.4 million in share profits from the RVAF before it collapsed in July 2012, the month the master-mind of the scheme, Herman Pretorius, committed suicide. The RVAF collected an estimated R2.2 billion from about 3 000 investors.

In the latest ruling, ombud Noluntu Bam ordered Calitz to repay Garvitte Herman Lombard R700 000.

According to the ruling, Calitz alleged that he did not introduce Lombard to the RVAF. He claimed that another of his clients who had invested in the scheme had. He also claimed that he told Lombard that the RVAF was an unregulated hedge fund, and that the fund manager, Abante Capital, was registered with the Financial Services Board. He contested that Lombard was satisfied with the risk and that the funds invested constituted about 10 percent of Lombard’s portfolio. The RVAF investment was to diversify the client’s portfolio.

In the latest ruling, ombud Noluntu Bam ordered Calitz to repay Garvitte Herman Lombard R700 000.

According to the ruling, Calitz alleged that he did not introduce Lombard to the RVAF. He claimed that another of his clients who had invested in the scheme had. He also claimed that he told Lombard that the RVAF was an unregulated hedge fund, and that the fund manager, Abante Capital, was registered with the Financial Services Board. He contested that Lombard was satisfied with the risk and that the funds invested constituted about 10 percent of Lombard’s portfolio. The RVAF investment was to diversify the client’s portfolio.

But in her determination, Bam refers to her first ruling against Calitz and the “key issues”: his failure to understand the entity and the risks to which he was exposing his clients, whose funds were transferred directly into the RVAF “without even the protection afforded by a nominee account”.

“Quite simply, no adviser would have recommended this product as a suitable component of any investment portfolio had they exercised the required due skill, care and diligence,” Bam says.

Lombard relied on Calitz’s advice, and Calitz failed to act in accordance with the Financial Advisory and Intermediary Services Act.

Calitz is the owner of Impact Financial Consultants, an authorised financial services provider in Bellville, Western Cape. He is a member of the Financial Planning Institute and is an accredited Certified Financial Planner.

Beleggers bekyk Pretorius se huis

4 Aug

Author: Marelize Barnard

Publications: Die Burger

Date Published : 04 August 2014

Foto: liza van heerden

KAAPSTAD. – Die swembad is nou groen en die gras is lank, maar die miljoenêrshuis se motorhuis het steeds die marmer­teëls waarop wyle Herman Pretorius sy Aston Martin kon trek.

Die ontwerpershuis van Susan-Ann Pretorius in Welgemoed, wat met die geld gebou is van beleggers wat R2,2 miljard by Pretorius belê het, is gister vir die publiek oopgestel. Die huis word op 15 Augustus deur ClareMart opgeveil nadat Susan-Ann gesekwestreer is.

’n Egpaar wat R1,7 miljoen by Pretorius belê het, was van die mense wat na dié moderne huis kom kyk het.

“Dit is maar deel van ’n mens se manier om dinge te verwerk. Dit is regtig ’n hartseersaak en tragies dat jy mense met jou hele lewe vertrou en dan gebeur dít,” het een vrou gesê terwyl sy voor die groot elektroniese hekke gewag het vir die afslaers om ’n volgende groep mense in die huis toe te laat.

“ ’n Mens belê vir jou oudag, en dan is daar boggerol.”

Mense kon tussen 14:00 en 17:00 die miljoenêrshuis besigtig. Sommige mense agter in die ry het omgedraai toe die wind snerpend geraak het.

Die huis het drie vlakke met ’n uitsig oor Welgemoed. Selfs uit die bad in die hoofslaapkamer is daar ’n uitsig op die Bolandse berge.

In die gimnasium is daar verskeie hoogs elektroniese oefenmasjiene en die een muur is net spieëls. Daar is ’n platskerm-televisie teen ’n ander muur.

Die fliekkamer het losstaande leermeubels. Hier het daar gister ’n DVD van Tiger Woods gelê. In een van die twee motorhuise is verskeie gholfstelle. Vier stelle word saam met die huis en inhoud opgeveil.

Van die huisware wat Susan-Ann opgeëis het en nie op die veiling is nie, sluit in ’n marmerlessenaar, ’n driestuk-sitkamerstel, ’n 46-duim-platskermtelevisiestel, 12 eetkamerstoele, ’n cappuccino-maker, ’n dubbeldeur-yskas, ’n koningingrootte bed, wasmasjien en tuimeldroër in.

Die huis is ook volgende Sondag tussen 14:00 en 17:00 op skou voor dit later vandeesmaand opgeveil word.

 

26 VAN DE GRAAF STREET, WELGEMOED

2 Aug

AUCTION DATE: FRIDAY, 15 AUGUST, 2014 AT 12H00
WEBREF: 8023

http://www.claremart.co.za/auction/26-van-de-graaf-street-welgemoed

ARCHITECTURALLY DESIGNED MODERN MULTI LEVEL HOME WITH SPECTACULAR VIEWS & LANDSCAPED GARDENS
INSOLVENCY
EXTENT: 3238m²
Marble entrance hall with water feature
Open plan fully fitted kitchen with Siemens appliances
Marble counter tops
2 x Lounges
2 x Dining areas
Wrap around Marble patio
Bathroom
All call air phone with speakers
Outside Braai area
Long narrow rim flow pool
Glass & Marble stair­case
Double Garage
Wine Cellar
Theatre room with large flat screen & Bose surround sound speakers
Gymnasium & Sauna
Storage area
En-suite flatlet
All Suite Upper level with 3 En-suite Bedrooms
Master suite with dressing area, walk in bathroom
Wrap around balcony accessible to all bedrooms
Alarm
CCTV
Electric Fencing
Pipe music facilities
Landscaped gardens

http://www.claremart.co.za/auction/26-van-de-graaf-street-welgemoed

Kan Pretorius-slagoffers van banke eis?

1 Aug

Author: Die Burger leser

Publications: Die Burger – Briewe Kolom

Date Published : 1 August 2014

Na aanleiding van ’n leser se verwysing (DB, 25.07) na die Herman Pretorius-debakel:

’n Vraag wat by my op­gekom het, is of beleggers wat geld by Pretorius belê het, ’n eis om skadevergoeding teen sekere banke kan instel.

Dit is nou die banke by wie hulle geld inbetaal het ten gunste van Pretorius – as daardie banke nie destyds sy besonderhede, soos vereis ingevolge die Fica-wetgewing ten tyde van die opening van sy bankrekening, na behore gekontroleer het nie.

Willem Smit

Durbanville

Stilte oor Herman Pretorius verbaas

25 Jul

Author: Sê Maar Net – Tygerberg

Publications: Die Burger – Briewe Kolom

Date Published : 25 Julie 2014

Almal skryf briewe en SMS’e aan Die Burger oor “Die Stem” wat “daardie man wat praat in plaas van sing” op ‘n fees gesing het. Dit gaan my verstand te bowe dat niemand tot dusver geskryf het oor die “skatryk” Herman Pretorius van Welgemoed nie. Dis nou hy wat soveel mense uit hul spaargeld geswendel en toe homself en sy vennoot doodgeskiet het.
Nou sien ek in die koerant sy huis word op 3 Augustus op ‘n veiling verkoop. Ek moes twee keer lees verlede Dinsdag, 15 Julie, net om seker te maak dat ek reg lees dat die vrou R13 miljoen se verbeterings aan die huis aangebring het. Dit skrei ten hemel!
Het niemand wat hier uit hul geld verkul is, iets te sê nie – hulle of hul familie of vriende hier in Bellville?
Ek vra maar net, want eintlik ken ek nie iemand wat só verkul is nie, want ons mense is maar skugter met ons ou geldjies – nie so geldgierig om gou ryk te word nie.

Sê Maar Net
Tygerberg

Ponzi king’s estate bringing in millions – but not enough

22 Jul

Sunday Times
20 July 2014
Nashira Davids

http://www.timeslive.co.za/sundaytimes/

About R20-million could be added next month to the kitty being accumulated to compensate 3000 investors who lost a total of R2.2-billion in Herman Pretorius’s Ponzi scheme.
The Cape Town mansion he shared with his wife, Susan, will be auctioned on August 15. With decor reportedly worth R13-million, it is expected to sell about the same as his Hermanus beach villa, which brought in R17.8-million last year.
zpretorius, from the tiny Western Cape village of Piketberg, rose to become a high-flying businessman with a fleet of luxury cars, at least two mansions and millions in his bank account.
But the good life came to a sudden end when he shot dead his business partner, Julian Williams, reportedly after an argument over money, and then turned the gun on himself.
Since then, the full extent of his scam has come to light and the trustees of the fund he ran have been trying to find his assets.
It is not an easy job, because books and other records were not properly kept and no financial statements were compiled, making it difficult to reconstruct business transactions.
What the trustees did uncover was a life of opulence paid for with money invested in his Relative Value Arbitrage Fund Trust.
Much like her husband’s investors, Susan “lost everything”, her lawyer, Etienne Naude, said.
Susan, who is the registered owner of the Welgemoed house, was sequestrated in October last year.
Naude said his client “is saddened about having to lose that house as well”.
According to the auctioneers ClareMart, the cost of the land and the construction of the home totalled about R20-million.
“There have been countless queries from potential buyers,” said a spokesman for the group.
The house has a marble entrance hall, marble counter tops and wraparound marble patio.
It has its own theatre, gymnasium and sauna, and boasts an excellent view and landscaped gardens.
Pretorius’s estate was sequestrated in the High Court in Cape Town last year.
Judge Owen Rodgers found that Pretorius had “attractedlarge sums from gullible members of the public (many of them from country towns in the Western Cape) by promising above average returns of 14% to 25% per annum – the time-honoured method originally made famous in the 1920s by Mr Charles Ponzi”.
Rodgers noted that Pretorius had no income apart from that derived from his investment scheme and that his wife had not worked since 1991.
But they had 10 properties, reportedly worth R116.9-million, and six cars, including an Aston Martin DBS and a Range Rover.
Rodgers remarked that Pretorius’s wife had said that she and her adult sons “know very little about the investment business and cannot be held accountable if it should transpire that Mr Pretorius acted unlawfully”. Other properties sold include: A luxury three-bedroom apartment in Claremont that fetched R3.3-million; A luxury beach villa in Hermanus – featuried on the cover of House and Leisure magazine in 2012 – scooped up for R17.85-million; Vacant land in Hermanus, auctioned for R 863 840; and “A-Grade” office space at the TygerWaterfront with 51 parking bays, sold for R14.9-million.
They also owned a property in Oranjezicht, vacant land in Wesfleur and a holiday home in Malgas were also on the list of sales.
Piet Serdyn, 73, of Moorreesburg, said he lost all his retirement savings when he invested with Pretorius shortly before his suicide.
He has little hope of getting any of his money back.
All we, as investors, can do is sit and wait. There is nothing we can do about it.

Hedge fund scam: more rulings

21 Jul

Author: Angelique Arde

Publications: iOL

Date Published: 20 July 2014

Michal Calitz, the financial adviser who was paid R8.4 million in share profits from the Relative Value Arbitrage Fund (RVAF), which was, in fact, a scam, has been ordered to compensate two more clients who lost money after he advised them to invest in it.

The RVAF collapsed after Herman Pretorius, the mastermind of the scheme, shot his business partner and committed suicide in July 2012. The scheme collected an estimated R2.2 billion from about 3 000 investors.

In the two latest rulings by the Ombud for Financial Services Providers, Calitz has been ordered to repay Dr Johannes Hartshorne R460 000 and Martha Jooste R165 000.

This brings to four the number of rulings by ombud Noluntu Bam against Calitz (Personal Finance reported recently on the previous two rulings, and the reports can be viewed at http://www.persfin.co.za).

Calitz is the owner of Impact Financial Consultants, an authorised financial services provider with offices in Bellville, Western Cape. Calitz is a member of the Financial Planning Institute (FPI) and an accredited Certified Financial Planner.

Bam’s latest rulings show that in the weeks leading up to Pretorius’s death, Calitz advised both Hartshorne and Jooste to disinvest from the RVAF – “but by that stage it was already too late”.

In both cases, Calitz had been an adviser to the complainants for many years.

Hartshorne contends that Calitz never told him that neither the RVAF nor Pretorius were registered with the Financial Services Board (FSB) and that there could be potential risks.

“On the contrary, Calitz told [Hartshorne’s] wife that Pretorius was a person of integrity and that the RVAF was performing well.”

Hartshorne also told the ombud that Calitz did not carry out a risk assessment on him.

Jooste complained that Calitz assured her that there was no risk of investing in the RVAF and that he had invested some of his own money in the fund, which “was managed by professional people with industry experience”.

Jooste’s R165 000 was her entire investible capital and had been sitting in an Absa money market investment account before Calitz persuaded her that the RVAF was her best option.

In response to both complaints, Calitz claims to have explained to his clients the workings of a hedge fund and that these instruments are not regulated but that investment manager Abante Capital through which the investments were channelled was registered with the FSB.

But in both determinations, the ombud says the key issues, as with previous rulings against Calitz, pertain to the rendering of advice to invest in the RVAF – principally, Calitz’s “failure to understand the entity and the risks to which he was exposing his clients”.

She reiterates that no adviser would have recommended the RVAF as a suitable component in “any” investment portfolio had they exercised the required due skill, care and diligence.

The FPI responds

Jacqui Grovè, the legal and compliance services manager for the FPI, says that when the news broke about the RVAF, the FPI launched an enquiry to find out whether any FPI members might have been involved in the scheme.

By the end of last year the FPI had evidence of the possible involvement of two members, she says.

“Our investigation was made difficult by the fact that, despite our best efforts, we could not find sufficient verifiable evidence with respect to these members. We then took a decision to await the results of the ombud’s investigation.”

The release of the financial advice ombud’s determinations has provided the FPI with [the] information [needed] to proceed with disciplinary action, Grovè says.

“We are now proceeding as speedily as possible, having regard for due process, with finalising hearings. We shall publish the results of these hearings.”

Although the ombud’s rulings carry the weight of a high court ruling, Grovè says an FPI member is “deemed innocent until found guilty by a competent FPI disciplinary panel of his or her peers”.

She says the institute’s purpose is to benefit the public by ensuring that its members can be trusted always to put their clients interests’ first.

Pretorius-weduwee se spoghuis gou opgeveil

15 Jul

Author: Marelize Barnard

Publications: Die Burger

Date Published : 15 Julie 2014

KAAPSTAD. – Susan-Ann Pretorius, weduwee van die swendelaar Herman Pretorius, se ontwerpershuis met sewe slaapkamers, ’n wynkelder, gimnasium, sauna, private bioskoop en “marmer net waar ’n mens kyk” gaan in Augustus opgeveil word.

Dié miljoenêrshuis in Welgemoed en sy “internasionaal ontwerpte inhoud” is met Pretorius se swendelaarsinkomste gebou en ingerig. Beleggers het R2,2 miljard by Pretorius belê.

Nadat Susan-Ann in die Wes-Kaapse hooggeregshof gesekwestreer is, het die trustees van Pretorius se Relative Value Arbi­trage Fund (RVAF) en Seca Trust die afslaers ClareMart gekry om die huis op te veil.

Altesaam 11 bedrae wat aan Bos & Punt-bouers vir bouwerk aan die eiendom betaal is, wissel van R34 200 tot R1,6 miljoen elk. Altesaam R13,3 miljoen is binne twee jaar aan bouers en binneversierders betaal.

Susan-Ann was te alle tye die geregistreerde eienaar van die ­eiendom in Van de Graaffstraat in Welgemoed.

Die weelde word gewys in foto’s waarmee die veiling geadverteer word. Die veiling is op 15 Augustus op die perseel. Die eiendom en inhoud word as ’n eenheid opgeveil.

Jonathan Smiedt, uitvoerende hoof van ClareMart, het gister gesê die huis is eksklusief ontwerp en is “dié huis om in te woon” in die noordelike voorstede.

“Dit is nie jou alledaagse huis nie. Elke hoek en muur is met ’n spesifieke doel ontwerp en afgewerk.

“Die mure is afgewerk deur Marmoran, ’n onderneming wat bekend is vir sy dekoratiewe muurafwerking. Die geoutomatiseerde stelsel sluit in ’n verkoelde wynkelder, en daar is pragtige groot marmerteëls.”

Wanneer Smiedt die huis beskryf, gebruik hy die woorde “duur . . . duur . . . duur” in elke sin.

Die private bioskoop het ’n reuseskerm en sitplek vir sowat 50 mense. Langsaan is die geoutomatiseerde wynkelder.

Dan is daar nog die marmerstoep reg rondom die huis, die ontwerperstuin en die uitsig.

’n Lys van altesaam 115 aankope vir die binneversiering van die huis is vantevore as deel van die aansoek om Susan-Ann se sekwestrasie by die hooggeregshof ingedien.

Dit sluit in ’n sitkamerbank van R59 353, nóg een van R33 375 en ’n koffietafel van R17 800 vir een van die sitkamers.

Nog ’n sitkamerbank vir die Pretorius-gesin se gesinskamer het R48 600 gekos. Twee tafels, een van R35 283 (vir ’n eetkamer) en ’n ander van R45 157 (vir ’n braaikamer), is ook op die lys van aankope.

Met Susan-Ann se sekwestrasie is gelas dat sy al die meubels in die huis moes agterlaat en slegs basiese huisware, soos haar bed en ’n yskas, verwyder.

Die eiendom en inhoud kan op 3 en 10 Augustus deur voornemende kopers besigtig word.

Hedge fund scam: second ruling

13 Jul

Author: Angelique Arde          

Publications: iOL

Date Published: 13 Jul 2014

The Ombud for Financial Services Providers has handed down another ruling against financial planner Michal Calitz of Impact Financial Consultants in Bellville.

Calitz earned R8.4 million in so-called share profits from the Relative Value Arbitrage Fund (RVAF), which purported to be a hedge fund but was, in fact, a scam.

The RVAF collapsed after its architect, Herman Pretorius, shot himself in July 2012. The fund is in liquidation, and its trustees have indicated that some, if not all, investor funds have been lost.

Both of Bam’s rulings against Calitz are the result of complaints by clients who invested in the RVAF on his advice.

The latest ruling states that, acting on Calitz’s advice, Robert Whitfield-Jones invested two amounts in the RVAF: R350 000 in March 2009 and R250 000 in February 2012. The money for both investments came from Whitfield-Jones’s unit trust fund investments. Calitz told his client that he could earn a better return if he invested in the RVAF.

Whitfield-Jones says he knew nothing about the risks associated with investing in a hedge fund and trusted Calitz to render the best advice, particularly because they had a relationship that went back several decades.

Holding Calitz accountable for his loss of R600 000, Whitfield-Jones turned to Bam for compensation.

In her determination, Bam refers to her previous ruling against Calitz in which she found that, “on the objective evidence, he could not have conducted even the most basic due diligences on the RVAF”.

The issues pertain to Calitz’s failure to understand the RVAF and the risks to which he exposed his clients when he advised them to invest in it, she says.

“Quite simply, no adviser would have recommended this product as a suitable component of any investment portfolio had they exercised the required due skill, care and diligence,” Bam says.

Whitfield-Jones, as a client of a registered financial adviser, relied on Calitz’s advice when he made the investment. When rendering financial services to clients, the financial services provider is required to act in accordance with the Financial Advisory and Intermediary Services Act and its code of conduct. Calitz failed in this regard, Bam says.

She ordered him and his company, jointly and severally, to pay Whitfield-Jones R600 000.

Calitz holds a postgraduate diploma in financial planning and has the Certified Financial Planner accreditation. He is a member of the Financial Planning Institute (FPI), which has its own code of conduct.

The FPI has yet to discipline any of its members who advised clients to invest in the RVAF. In October 2013, the FPI said it was expecting to hold disciplinary hearings in December. The outcomes of the disciplinary hearings would be published once the appeal period had expired. But to date no outcomes have been published. Personal Finance has had no response to questions put to the FPI’s legal and compliance services manager.

Pretorius: Makelaar moet geld teruggee

10 Jul

Author: Marelize Barnard

Publications: Die Burger

Date Published : 10 Mei 2014

KAAPSTAD. – ’n Makelaar wat beleggers na wyle Herman Pretorius se beleggingskema gelok het, moet R500 000 plus rente terugbetaal aan een van dié beleggers.

Die ombudsman vir finansiële adviseurs en tussengangers (Fais), Noluntu Bam, het ’n bevel gemaak dat die makelaar van Bellville, Michal Calitz, en sy beslote korporasie, Impact Finansiële Konsultante, die R500 000 en rente van 15,5% per jaar moet terugbetaal.

Die klaer in die saak, Craig Inch, het jare lank pensioengeld bymekaargemaak en dit op Calitz se aanbeveling in Pretorius se Rela­tive Value Arbitrage Fund (RVAF) belê.

Inch se geld was vantevore in die geldmark belê en hy het dit nooit oorweeg om dit in ’n verskansingsfonds te belê nie.

Volgens Inch se weergawe in sy aansoek by Fais het Calitz hom verseker dat dit ’n stabiele fonds is en Inch se geld is op 30 Maart 2010 by RVAF inbetaal.

Hy wou op 26 Julie 2012 sy geld onttrek, maar het ’n dag later uitgevind dat Pretorius dood is.

Preto­rius het op 26 Julie 2010 selfmoord gepleeg nadat hy ’n oudkollega, Julian Williams, doodgeskiet het.

In die Fais-ombudsman se uitspraak word genoem dat Calitz aangevoer het dat hy nie verantwoordelikheid kan aanvaar vir wat blyk die “doelbewuste poging van een persoon was om beleggers te bedrieg nie”.

Verder word genoem dit is kommerwekkend dat Inch se geld reeds op 30 Maart 2010 in die RVAF Trust se bankrekening inbetaal is, terwyl ’n ooreenkoms daaroor eers op 7 April onderteken is. Die belegging is gemaak “voor enige dokumente onderteken is”.

Bam het verder gesê daar is geen bewyse deur Calitz gebied dat die ware risiko aan Inch verduidelik is nie.

“Nóg Pretorius nóg die RVAF was gelisensieer . . . Calitz moes geweet het dat die Fais-wetgewing nie nagekom is nie.”

Verder is daar geen behoorlike boekhouding of rekords deur Pretorius gehou nie. Dit is ’n belangrike kwessie wat Calitz nie kan verduidelik om te bewys dat hy ’n behoorlike ondersoek na die RVAF se sake gedoen het nie.

“Dit is duidelik dat Calitz blindelings aanvaar het wat aan hom gesê is oor die RVAF, want hy het beslis nooit die moeite gedoen om navraag te doen oor die finansiële state wat nooit bestaan het nie,” lui Bam se uitspraak.

Are industry regulators preserving the integrity of the industry?

9 Jul

Author: Jonathan Faurie

Publications: FANews

Date Published: 9 Jul 2014

Are we as an industry being protected by the regulator? We often receive determinations sent to us by the office of the Financial Advisory and Intermediary Services Ombudsman (FAIS Ombud), and there is a common thread in most of the determinations. There are certain advisers in the industry who seemingly have a blatant disregard for the Financial Advisory and Intermediary Services (FAIS) Act and they think that they can get away with defrauding clients.

Predictably they do not always get away, as the Ombud have an open door policy for the public to raise any concerns that they have regarding an adviser. The Ombud then investigates the claim and if it is found that the adviser is guilty a fine will be imposed. But is this enough? This is the question we are left with to reflect on after reading a recent determination handed down by the FAIS Ombud.

Negotiating a normal client interaction

Dr Craig Inch (complainant), a dental practitioner, was seeking an investment plan that would best suit his needs and help grow his savings. After recommendation by a college, the complainant arranged a meeting with Michal Calitz (respondent) to discuss the possible investments which would be best for the complainant.

During the original discussion, a number of unit trusts were discussed and it was recommended that the complainant look into these unit trusts. A follow-up meeting was arranged and the respondent made mention of a hedge fund that the complainant’s college, who was a client of the respondent, had spoken of. The fund was doing well and the complainant asked the respondent if he knew of any other funds which operated in a similar manner. The respondent recommended the Relative Value Arbitrage Fund (RVAF).

The complainant was hesitant to invest in a high risk fund as he was thinking of investing his whole life savings into this fund and could not afford to lose it. In the complainants version to the Ombud, he said that he made this very clear to the respondent. He asked the respondent to explain the RVAF in more detail to which the respondent explained that the fund took long positions in stocks which were expected to increase in value and short positions on stocks which were expected to decrease in value.

The complainant then asked about the performance of the fund to which the respondent assured him that the fund’s performance was in the region of twenty percent per annum.

The plot thickens

The respondent apparently told the complainant that a hedge fund was not regulated in the same way as a unit trust portfolio. The respondent then assured the complainant that the RVAF fund did have all of the correct paperwork and documentation. During the investigation of the Ombud, it was clear that this was not the case.

With regards to the fee structure, the complainant was told (as he remembers it) that he did not have to pay a fee and instead that twenty percent of the profits generated from the fund would be used as a fee.

The complainant obviously felt uneasy about the investment because he once again mentioned his reluctance to invest in a high risk vehicle as he would be investing his whole life savings of R600 000. He asked the respondent how much he should invest and the respondent recommended the complainant invest R500 000. The complainant was assured about the stability of the fund and that it was not influenced by market fluctuations. The respondent reiterated that many of his clients invested in the fund and that he was also an investor in the fund.

When the complainant wanted to withdraw R600 000 from the fund, he emailed a letter of intent to the fund, to which he was informed of the death of Herman Pretorius who was a fund manager and a trustee of the fund.

Opening a can of worms

Unlike many other recent determinations, the respondent did respond to the allegations made to the Ombud.

In his defence, the respondent said that the complainant asked about the RVAF and not the other way around. In the record of advice there was also no indication that the respondent mentioned to the complainant that hedge funds are not regulated in the same way as unit trust funds.

Two articles on a prominent media site unsettled the respondent and prompted him to withdraw all of his client’s savings out of the RVAF. However, he did not mention what particular aspects of the articles made him withdraw the funds.

The respondent further adds that he cannot accept responsibility for what seems to be one person’s deliberate intention to defraud investors.

Unearthing a long list of infringements

The list of aspects of the FAIS Act which the respondent infringed on in this case was very extensive and took up twenty pages in the Ombud’s determination, which can be read here.

One of the most important aspects of the FAIS Act which the respondent contravened was the poor selection of the vehicle in which the funds were invested. During the Ombud’s investigation it was found that there was no financial needs analysis done. The respondent did not present a range of options which could have been invested in other than the RVAF and the complainant never received any documentation that the RVAF was the fund that his capital was invested in. There was also a significant grey area on who the respondent was representing.

Was justice served?

Upon the death of Herman Pretorius, the RVAF went into liquidation and all of the capital invested in the fund was lost. However, the complaint was upheld by the Ombud as it ruled that the capital should never have been invested in this fund in the first place. The respondent was instructed to pay the complainant R500 000 and interest at a rate of fifteen point five percent per year.

What is the role of the Financial Services Board (FSB) in this debacle? Despite the fact that Calitz should have been dealt with by the regulator long before this determination took place, the issue is what will happen to Calitz now? The ruling of the Ombud can hardly be described as a slap on the wrist, but if he is allowed to continue practicing, is justice being served? In all fairness, the FSB should suspend Calitz and never allow him to practice again.

Editor’s Thoughts:
The financial services industry operates on public perception. If the public thinks that one adviser is fraudulent, they may paint a lot of other advisers in the industry with the same brush. The FSB has a duty to fight for the reputation of the industry. Is it fulfilling its role? Please comment below, interact with us on Twitter at @fanews_online or email me your thoughts jonathan@fanews.co.za.

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