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.
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.