Tag Archives: Julius Cobbett

It’s been a year and a half since Herman Pretorius’s Ponzi collapse?

6 Jun

Author: Julius Cobbett

Publications: Twitter

Date Published: 21 May 2014

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Pretorius ponzi probe bubbles on

4 Nov

Author: Julius Cobbett

Publications: The Citizen

Date Publiched: 4 November 2013

Brokers who sold the investment products of the late Herman Pretorius were paid commission of “at least” R100m, the most recent letter from the curators of his failed investment scheme, the Relative Value Arbitrage Fund (RVAF), says.

It has been more than a year since Pretorius shot first his former business partner and then himself. The incident confirmed what some had already suspected: Pretorius had been running a massive Ponzi scheme. It has been estimated that the scheme took nearly R2.2bn from 3 000 investors.

The Financial Services Board (FSB) and the Financial Planning Institute (FPI) have launched investigations into brokers who peddled the scheme. But there has been no disciplinary action announced as yet.

Likewise the financial advice ombudsman Noluntu Bam has yet to issue a determination connected with a Herman Pretorius investment.

Earlier this year the RVAF identified Michal Calitz as one of the more prominent brokers. Calitz, who was a close friend of Herman Pretorius, received more than R15m from the scheme. Calitz is still a representative of Impact Financial Consultants CC, which is an FSB-authorised financial service provider and is listed as an FPI member.

The FPI says it is finalising charges against members in relation to the RVAF, but it will pronounce on the matter only once a December disciplinary hearing has been held.

The FPI’s Disciplinary Regulations require publication of the outcomes of disciplinary hearings, but after finalisation only, it says.

The FSB says its own investigation into the Pretorius matter is not finalised; the “FAIS supervision department is still in a process of engaging with the identified financial services providers and other interested parties”.

The RVAF’s curators are trying to trace investor money that was moved by Pretorius to the UK and Switzerland.

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Herman Pretorius brokers got at least R100m

31 Oct

Author: Julius Cobbett

Publications: MoneyWeb

Date Published: 31 October 2013

Financial Planning Institute says it is finalising charges against members.

JOHANNESBURG – Brokers who sold the investment products of the late Herman Pretorius were paid commission of “at least” R100m. This is according to the most recent letter from the curators of his failed investment scheme, the Relative Value Arbitrage Fund (RVAF). A copy of the letter can be downloaded here.

It has been more than a year since Pretorius shot first his former business partner and then himself. The incident confirmed what some had already suspected: Pretorius had been running a massive Ponzi scheme. It has been estimated that the scheme took roughly R2.2bn from 3000 investors.

Both the Financial Services Board (FSB) and the Financial Planning Institute (FPI) have launched investigations into brokers who peddled the scheme. But there has been no disciplinary action announced as yet. Likewise the financial advice ombudsman Noluntu Bam has yet to issue a determination connected with a Herman Pretorius investment.

Earlier this year the RVAF identified Michal Calitz as one of the more prominent brokers. Calitz, who was a close friend of Herman Pretorius, received more than R15m from the scheme.

Calitz is still a representative of Impact Financial Consultants CC, which is an FSB-authorised financial service provider.

Calitz is also listed on the FPI’s website as a valid member.

The FPI tells Moneyweb that it is finalising charges against members in relation to the RVAF. It says it will only pronounce on the matter once a disciplinary hearing has been held. The hearing is expected to be held in December, the exact date yet to be confirmed.

“In terms of the FPI’s Disciplinary Regulations the outcomes of disciplinary hearings will be published – however, this is done once the matter is finalised and the period for an appeal has expired,” it says.

Similarly the FSB says its own investigation into the Herman Pretorius matter is not finalised yet as the “FAIS supervision department is still in a process of engaging with the identified financial services providers and other interested parties”.

The RVAF’s curators are trying to trace investor money that was moved by Pretorius to the UK and Switzerland. The curators have appointed attorneys in both those countries to assist them trace the funds.

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Sharemax director warns against Fais Ombud complaints

24 Sep

Author: Julius Cobbett

Publications: MoneyWeb

Date Published: 24 September 2013

Dominique Haese claims investors might lose their right to investment returns.

JOHANNESBURG – Investors in Nova Group Investments have been cautioned against pursuing complaints with Fais Ombud Noluntu Bam. Investors have been warned that if they pursue their complaints, they may forfeit their rights to investment returns or repayments from the Nova Group

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Moneyweb shines at Sanlam Awards

18 Jul

Author: Julius Cobbett

Publications: MoneyWeb

Date Published: 18 July 2013

Clark and Rees honoured with three category awards.

Two Moneyweb journalists scooped three category awards at the prestigious Sanlam Awards for Excellence in Financial Journalism. Moneyweb founder Alec Hogg also received a Lifetime Achievement Award.

Moneyweb’s financial services correspondent Jeanette Clark won in the categories of Personal Finance and Infrastructure Development.

Malcolm Rees was honoured in the category for the Economy and Industry for his in-depth reporting on developments in the unsecured lending market. He was the co-winner with Business Report veteran Ann Crotty.

Julius Cobbett was also a finalist in the category for Personal Finance for his reporting on the Herman Pretorius saga.

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Apartment linked to Herman Pretorius on auction

25 Jun

Author: Julius Cobbett

Publications: MoneyWeb

Date Published: 25 June 2013

Movables included in the sale are a patio couch set, a Bosch dishwasher and an LG Exresscool fridge.

A luxury Claremont apartment which forms part of the assets of a company in liquidation and of which the late Herman Pretorius was a director, will be presented for public auction on-site by the ClareMart Auction Group on Wednesday, July 10.

“Our Group received joint instruction from the liquidators of RZT Zelpy 4005 (Pty) LTD  to proceed to auction with this premier southern suburb apartment and we are certain that this auction will achieve similar interest as our successful sale of Pretorius’ sea front home at Voelklip. The Claremont apartment will be sold together with all of its luxurious and décor appointed contents” says Executive Director, Andrew Koch.

Pretorius was known for his involvement in ……..

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Unit trust manager received R15m from Herman Pretorius

20 Jun

Author: Julius Cobbett

Publications: MoneyWeb

Date Published: 20 June 2013

Financial advisers connected to RVAF Ponzi testify in insolvency inquiry.

JOHANNESBURG – An insolvency inquiry has revealed that one-time unit trust manager Michal Calitz received more than R15m from Herman Pretorius.

Calitz was one of Pretorius’s closest friends. A rare public photo of Pretorius shows him posing with his two sons and Calitz on the golf course. Calitz and Pretorius went to the same Bible study group, which met every second Friday.

Calitz referred many investors to Herman Pretorius’s Relative Value Arbitrage Fund (RVAF), which has since been exposed as a Ponzi scheme. It has been estimated ………

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Herman Pretorius’s holiday villa fetches R16.5m

15 Apr

Author: Julius Cobbett

Publications: MoneyWeb

Date Published: 15 April 2013

Auctioned: luxury, architect-designed property, paid for by Ponzi victims.

JOHANNESBURG – The Hermanus holiday home built by the late Herman Pretorius has sold on auction for R16.5m. Pretorius was the mastermind behind the Relative Value Arbitrage Fund (RVAF), an unregulated Ponzi scheme that solicited an estimated R2.2bn from investors.

On July 26 last year Pretorius shot his former business partner before turning the gun on himself. Pretorius’s personal estate and various entities associated with him have been placed under sequestration or liquidation. One of these entities is Hentiq 1803, a private company which was the registered owner of the Hermanus beach home.

Hentiq’s liquidators, Sandra Daneel and Christian Bester, appointed ClareMart Auction Group to sell the property. The auction took place last week Friday. On Monday it issued a media release announcing the sale.

ClareMart CEO Jonathan Smiedt said: “We had an unexpected turn out of over two hundred members of the public attending the auction as well as media journalists from various publications, one of whom described the event as having a pleasant and festive atmosphere. The bidding on  the home was exceptionally fierce ………

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Moneyweb’s top ten stories of 2012

4 Jan

Mainly dominated by the events surrounding the death of Herman Pretorius

 

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Pretorius’s widow responds to curator allegations

13 Dec

Author: Julius Cobbett

Publications: The Citizen

Date Publiched: 13 December 2012

Susan Pretorius, the widow of multibillion-rand pyramid schemer Herman Pretorius, denies that she and other family members are hiding assets.

The late Herman Pretorius’s RFAV Trust owes 3 000-odd investors an estimated R2.2 billion.

The fear that assets might be hidden was raised in court papers by Rynette Pieters, joint curator of Herman Pretorius’s failed R3.1bn investment scheme, the RVAF Trust.

Pieters and her co-curators applied to the Western Cape High Court for an order to freeze certain assets and funds associated with Pretorius and his family. The application ……….

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Herman Pretorius: curators seek to freeze family assets

5 Nov

Author: Julius Cobbett

Publications: MoneyWeb

Date Published: 05 November 2012

Curators of RVAF pyramid scheme accuse family and lawyer of trying to hide assets.

Curators for RFAV Trust, the scheme run by the late Herman Pretorius, are worried that his family members might be hiding assets. The curators have asked the Western Cape High Court to grant an order to freeze certain assets and funds. They argue that these assets are the rightful property of the 3000-odd investors who placed an estimated R2.2bn in Pretorius’s investment schemes.

Joint curator Rynette Pieters says that without the order “there is a very real fear that the assets will be secreted”.

The application to freeze assets is being opposed by Pretorius’s widow, Susan Ann Pretorius, and her ………

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Curators struggle to trace Herman Pretorius’s Ponzi billions

16 Oct

Author: Julius Cobbett

Publications: MoneyWeb

Date Published: 16 October 2012

Less than R300m of estimated R2.2bn traced; family served with Anton Piller order.

JOHANNESBURG – Curators for Herman Pretorius’s investment scheme are struggling to track the billions he solicited from investors.

On July 26 Pretorius shot his former business partner Julian Williams before turning the gun on himself. Evidence emerged after his death that confirmed suspicions that Pretorius had been running a massive Ponzi scheme called the Relative Value Arbitrage Fund (RVAF).

RVAF curators estimate that the scheme received R2.2bn from about 3000 investors. At the time of Pretorius’s death, the RVAF owed an estimated R3.1bn to investors.

The difference between the amount received and owing is most likely explained by the fund’s performance ………

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SA fund manager faces big losses in Herman Pretorius fallout

3 Oct

Author: Julius Cobbett

Publications: MoneyWeb

Date Published: 03 October 2012

JOHANNESBURG – Two Mauritius-based funds, managed by a South African, face big losses as a result of the Herman Pretorius homicide. On July 26 Herman Pretorius shot dead his former business partner, Julian Williams, and then himself. It was later revealed that Pretorius had been operating a R3.1bn Ponzi scheme.

Williams was CEO of private-equity company Basileus Capital. He was also associated with JSE-listed BK One, which has its entire R200m portfolio invested in four Basileus-related companies. The homicide created problems for BK One, because Williams played a key role in its investments.

Already one of BK One’s four investments, Tor Construction, has been placed under provisional liquidation as a result of the shooting. BK One has since proposed an injection of various Basileus assets as part of a business rescue plan.

The biggest investor in BK One is a Mauritius-registered fund called ………

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Fais Ombud – A Toothless Tiger with no Real Power?

20 Sep

Author Self

Publications: RVAF MEDIA RELEASES

Date Published: 20 September 2012

As the RVAF saga draws on, the role of the FSP and Fais (ombud) is even more unclear than 3 months ago. We heard that Herman Pretorius was or was not registered with the FSB, but would that have helped?

First we saw a declaration from them, washing their hands in innocence:

Herman Pretorius: Clarity on the Financial Services Board’s investigation

FSB explains its probe into Herman Pretorius

and seems that if they do make a ruling, its not enforcable!

Rogue broker ignores Fais Ombud

JOHANNESBURG – A victim of bad financial advice is struggling to enforce a Fais Ombud ruling.

The Ombud ruled in McCarter’s favour on November 4 2010. (Click here to download a copy of the determination). Van der Merwe was ordered to pay McCarter R660 000 with interest of 15.5%, beginning from October 2008.

McCarter’s difficulties in enforcing the Ombud’s ruling may be a common theme for other victims of bad advice.

Garek broker unfazed, unrepentant

Ordered to refund three more investors, broker continues to peddle shares.

JOHANNESBURG – In the face of fresh punishment, rogue financial adviser Andre van der Merwe is unfazed and unrepentant.

What’s you’re thoughts?

Fund’s lucky escape from Herman Pretorius fallout

12 Sep

Author: Julius Cobbett

Publications: MoneyWeb

Date Published: 12 September 2012

Fund sold its entire stake in listed Julian Williams entity on the day he was shot.

JOHANNESBURG – Fund manager Ankh Analytic sold its entire stake in BK One on the day Basileus Capital CEO Julian Williams was shot.

The sale was a very lucky escape for Ankh, because BK One’s portfolio consists of four Basileus-related companies. One of these companies, Tor Construction, has already been placed under provisional liquidation in the fallout of Williams’s death. The remaining three ………

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“I am deeply sorry” – Herman Pretorius broker

4 Sep

Author: Julius Cobbett

Publications: MoneyWeb

Date Published: 04 September 2012

Death threat and a summons for New Zealand-based, FSB-registered financial adviser.

JOHANNESBURG – In May last year, financial adviser Simon Morton got a new client. She was 61 years old. The client, Betty*, asked Morton to set up an investment portfolio for her retirement.

Morton’s advice was for Betty’s husband to withdraw funds of R1 150 000 from Stanlib. Morton recommended that half this money be placed in an unorthodox “hedge fund”. The other half was to be split between an unlisted company called SA Superalloys, a junior platinum company called Wesizwe, and a “new fund” called Abante Holdings.

Needless to say, this was bad advice. All of the above ………

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Herman Pretorius’s “fund” owes R3.1bn to investors – curator

27 Aug

Author: Julius Cobbett

Publications: MoneyWeb

Date Published: 27 August 2012

New information shows the scheme to be much larger than originally thought.

JOHANNESBURG- Herman Pretorius’s unregulated Relative Value Arbitrage Fund (RVAF) has turned out to be much larger than originally thought. The fund’s curator, Lambertus von Wielligh Bester, says that records suggest that about R2.2bn was received from the public. And updated quarterly statements show that the fund owes its investors about R3.1bn.

The difference of R900m between the amounts received and owed is most likely explained ………

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Death of Julian Williams causes liquidation threat for JSE investors

23 Aug

Author: Julius Cobbett

Publications: MoneyWeb

Date Published: 23 August 2012

director James Ngculu seeks liquidation of a BK One investment.

JOHANNESBURG – Basileus Capital director, James Ngculu wants an investment of JSE-listed BK One declared insolvent. Ngculu is a former ANC member of parliament and the right-hand man of the late Basileus CEO Julian Williams.

Ngculu drafted an affidavit calling for the liquidation of road-building business Tor Construction. Tor Construction is one of four companies …..

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PwC helped Herman Pretorius sell his R1.8bn fund

20 Aug

Author:  Julius Cobbett

Publications: MoneyWeb

Date Published: 20 August 2012

Audit firm admits to “facilitating” meetings but denies recommending Pretorius’s scheme.

JOHANNESBURG – Audit firm PricewaterhouseCoopers “facilitated” investment meetings held by the late Herman Pretorius. Before his death Pretorius had been operating an unorthodox investment scheme called the Abante Relative Value Arbitrage Fund (RVAF). This fund, which took the form of a trust, was provisionally sequestrated by the Western Cape High Court on August 1. The fund is believed to owe R1.8bn to 3 000 investors.

A number of readers have contacted me claiming that PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) was involved ……..

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Basileus seeks business rescue after death of CEO Julian Williams

14 Aug

Julian Williams

Author: Julius Cobbett

Publications: Moneyweb

Date Publiched: 14 August 2012

Business rescue includes SA Superalloys which owes R140m to 500 investors.

JOHANNESBURG – Basileus Capital, a private-equity firm that employs nearly 50 people, has initiated business rescue proceedings. This comes nearly three weeks after the death of Basileus CEO Julian Williams. It is believed that Williams was shot dead by his former business partner Herman Pretorius, who committed suicide afterwards.

The initiation of a business rescue is the second act of insolvency to result from the murder. Less than a week after the ………..

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Herman Pretorius: Brokers will pay for bad advice

5 Aug

Author:  Julius Cobbett

Publications: MoneyWeb

Date Publiched: 05 August 2012

Complaints with the Fais Ombud could bankrupt financial advisers in R1.8bn scam.

JOHANNESBURG – Financial advisers who peddled the investment products of the late Herman Pretorius could pay dearly for their bad advice. Investors can lay complaints against their advisers with Noluntu Bam (pictured), the ombud for financial services providers (Fais Ombud). For more information on how to complain, visit the Ombud’s website,www.faisombud.co.za.

If the Ombud finds that bad advice was rendered, she has the power to order an adviser to refund a client as much as R800 000. An adverse finding has the same strength in law as an …………..

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Pretorius’s close friend in shock

3 Aug

Author: Julius Cobbett

Publications: The Citizen

Date Publiched: 03 August 2012

One of Herman Pretorius’s investors is a fund manager at unit trust company 4i Asset Management.

This almost beggars belief because Herman Pretorius’s …………………

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I had money with Herman Pretorius – unit trust manager

3 Aug

Author:  Julius Cobbett

Publications: MoneyWeb

Date Publiched: 03 August 2012

Statement from Maitland Fund Administrators.

JOHANNESBURG – One of Herman Pretorius’s investors is a fund manager at unit trust company 4i Asset Management. This almost beggars belief because Herman Pretorius’s investment scheme had none of the checks and balances that apply to credible investments.

Michal Calitz, a fund manager and director at 4i, is, however, more than just an investor. He was one of Pretorius’s closest friends. A rare public photo of Pretorius shows him posing with his two sons and Calitz on the golf course. They went to the same bible study group, which met every second Friday.

As an investment professional, Calitz should have been ……….

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Herman Pretorius: Court grants sequestration order

1 Aug

Author: Julius Cobbett

Publications: Moneyweb

Date Publiched: 01 August 2012

The RVAF, which owes investors R1.8bn, placed under provisional sequestration.

JOHANNESBURG – The Cape Town High Court has granted an order to sequestrate Herman Pretorius’s scheme. Pretorius was a supposed investment guru who had ran a scheme called the Relative Value Arbitrage Fund. The scheme, which took the form of a trust, had an estimated 3000 investors who are owed about R1.8bn. Pretorius allegedly shot his former business partner and then himself on Thursday last week.

Court grants RVAF sequestration order

1 Aug

Author: Julius Cobbett

Publications: The Citizen

Date Publiched: 01 August 2012

The Cape Town High Court has granted an order to sequestrate Herman Pretorius’s scheme.

Pretorius was a supposed investment guru who had ran a scheme called the Relative Value Arbitrage Fund (RVAF).

The scheme, which took the form of a trust, had an ……….

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Herman Pretorius’s R1.8bn scheme is bankrupt – lawyer

31 Jul

Author:  Julius Cobbett

Publications: MoneyWeb

Date Published: 31 July 2012

RVAF’s only remaining trustee has no knowledge of where the funds were invested.

JOHANNESBURG – Investors placed around R1.8bn in one of Herman Pretorius’s investment schemes. This figure emerged in court papers asking for the scheme’s sequestration.

Pretorius allegedly shot his former business partner Julian Williams on Thursday last week before turning the gun on himself.

Pretorius’s scheme was called the Relative Value Arbitrage Fund (RVAF). A portion of the funds raised by the scheme appear to have been invested in a trust.

On Monday an investor in the RVAF, lawyer, Morné Strydom of the firm Mostert & Bosman, brought an application to sequestrate the fund. Strydom has a personal investment in the RVAF to the value of R233 000.

The RVAF had two trustees: Herman Pretorius and Eduard Brand. After Pretorius’s death, Brand is

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FSB visited fund manager on day he died

31 Jul

Author:  Julius Cobbett

Publications: MoneyWeb

Date Published: 31 July 2012

A team of inspectors were at Herman Pretorius’s offices.

JOHANNESBURG – The Financial Services Board (FSB) visited fund manager Herman Pretorius last week Thursday, the day he died. On Tuesday morning, the FSB’s Gerry Anderson confirmed that a “team of FSB inspectors visited” Pretorius’s offices. Anderson is the FSB’s deputy registrar for financial services providers.

Earlier this month, on July 10, Anderson told this reporter that the FSB had engaged with Herman Pretorius with regard to his activities during 2011. Said Anderson: “Such engagement cannot be seen as formal investigation.

However, Anderson said that a case had been opened against Herman Pretorius after he received information fromMoneyweb: “Upon receipt of your recent information, we have opened a case on Herman Pretorius and are looking at the matter.”

The FSB’s visit indicates that Thursday must have been an extremely stressful day for Pretorius. He had scheduled a meeting that evening in Moorreesburg to address clients about the status of their investments. Pretorius also had a meeting that afternoon with his former business partner, Julian Williams. It was at this meeting that Pretorius allegedly shot Williams twice before turning the gun on himself.

Pretorius had received a number of withdrawal requests from investors in his Relative Value Arbitrage Fund (RVAF). These investors had been persuaded that the RVAF was perhaps not as safe as they had been led to believe.

It is likely that withdrawal requests were sparked by an article published by Moneyweb in June, which noted that Pretorius’s high returns had been questioned by financial advisers. See: Former hedge fund boss’s returns questioned.

Pretorius’s fund had a notice period of one month. Thus, by last week Thursday, he was probably due to pay out millions to several investors.

Pretorius gave no indication that the payment of investors would be a problem. Quite the opposite, in fact. He toldMoneyweb that he would welcome investors withdrawing their fund, because this would give him time to pursue other business interests, which included several private-equity ventures.

The invitation to investors to withdraw their funds may have been an attempt at reverse psychology. There is evidence that Pretorius had employed such methods in the past. For example, in May a financial adviser wrote the following of Pretorius’s fund: “Recently a big client withdrew his money because he was scared he might lose it. After a couple of weeks of earning nothing in the bank he wanted to re-invest it and Pretorius refused to take his money back.”

True or not, this story had clearly done the rounds among Pretorius’s broker and investor network. It would have had the effect of making them think twice before withdrawing their funds and thus permanently losing out on earning the good returns reported.

 

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Liquidator circles shooter’s investment scheme

30 Jul

Author:  Julius Cobbett

Publications: MoneyWeb

Date Published: 30 July 2012

UPDATE: Lawyer asks for postponement. Judge Burton Fourie will decide on Wednesday

JOHANNESBURG – An investor has applied for the sequestration of Herman Pretorius’s investment scheme. This comes barely four days after the ex-hedge fund boss allegedly shot his former business partner, Julian Williams, before turning the gun on himself.

On Monday Morné Strydom, an attorney at Mostert & Bosman, and client of Herman Pretorius, applied to the Western Cape High Court for the scheme’s sequestration.

Pretorius had been operating an unorthodox investment scheme called the Relative Value Arbitrage Fund (RVAF). The scheme had reported returns in the region of 20% a year for at least the past five years. If genuine, these returns would rank Pretorius among the country’s best money managers. However, the RVAF had no independent verification of returns. This did not seem to bother Pretorius’s loyal investors.

Moneyweb has in its possession two different types of statements from the RVAF. In one the scheme is labelled an “en commandite partnership”, and in another it is the “RVAF Trust”.

On Monday many of Pretorius’s investors received a letter from liquidator Lambertus Von Wielligh Bester from the firmProgressive Administration. The letter was addressed to investors in and creditors of the “RVAF Trust”, registration number IT 932/2004. This is the same registration number that appears in the top right-hand corner of investor statements in which the RVAF is labeled a trust.

Von Wielligh Bester wrote: “We wish to confirm that an application for the sequestration of this trust will be heard in the Cape Town High Court on Tuesday, July 31, 2012.

“If a sequestration order is granted, the Master of the High Court will appoint a curator to manage the affairs of the trust.”

Von Wielligh Bester offered himself as curator to investors. Absent from Von Wielligh Bester’s letter were reasons why he considers himself best suited for the curatorship position.

Von Wielligh Bester asked investors to fill out an attached requisition form which calls for his nomination as curator.

The sequestration application does not bode well for investors. Few sequestrations, liquidations or curatorships of investment schemes have happy endings. They are usually drawn-out affairs that can take years to unwind. The fees of liquidators’ or curators’ and their lawyers can seriously erode any eventual payment to investors and creditors. In some cases liquidators take legal action against investors who received interest payments and withdrawals from a scheme. The failed investment schemes Krion and MoneySkills are examples where this has happened.

UPDATE:
A further letter distributed by Von Wielligh Bester to investors states: “Our switchboard has since been swamped with telephone calls at a rate of more than 120 per hour. At times our switchboard and answering machine are unable to handle these volumes and it has become impossible for writer to immediately respond to queries and reply to messages. Please have regard to the fact that there are approximately 3 000 investors.”

The application to sequestrate was heard before Judge Burton Fourie. A lawyer representing an investor asked Judge Fourie to postpone the matter by a week to give investors time to decide whether to oppose or support the application.

Fourie will announce his decision on Wednesday morning.

 

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Julian Williams shot by former partner: Julius Cobbett – investigations journalist, Moneyweb

30 Jul

Julius Cobbett

Author:  Julius Cobbett

Publications: MoneyWeb

Date Published: 30 July 2012

A rather creepy story from Moneyweb’s ‘Cockroach’.

DOWNLOAD THIS INTERVIEW

ALEC HOGG: Let’s pick up with Mr Cobbett. Jules, it is a creepy story. It’s to do with two fellows based in the Cape – money managers. They start with Julian Williams. He is a fairly dodgy character – was involved in the initial stages of Wesizwe Platinum. Take us through the story there.

JULIUS COBBETT: Ja, it might be a bit premature to say that he’s dodgy…

ALEC HOGG: It was dodgy at that stage, everybody knows that. They went into the platteland, raised money. Mike Solomon had to come in, remember, with Wesizwe, try and formalise it, make it a little more reputable, list on the stock market, and so on. So from that side it was fairly dodgy. The guy is dead now, so…

JULIUS COBBETT: Well, he’s got a colourful history and I think a lot will come out in due course. Julian Williams, like you said, was involved with Wesizwe and he started a company called Basileus Capital, which today employs nearly 50 people. And he started a whole bunch of small companies which he then sold stakes in, some of them to a listed company called BK1.

ALEC HOGG: You were busy engaging with him – why?

JULIUS COBBETT: The focus of my investigation was an entity called The Relative Value Arbitrage Fund which, as far as I know is not a fund at all. And it’s got none of the checks and balances in place that you would expect from an ordinary investment. I was alerted to this thing by the relative of an investor earlier this year, and then later some financial advisers contacted me as well. They had clients invested in the fund, and they were concerned.

ALEC HOGG: The fund was doing what?

To read the rest of the interview

Shooting victim played a key role at JSE-listed pref share

27 Jul

Author:  Julius Cobbett

Publications: MoneyWeb

Date Published: 27 July 2012

UPDATE: With comment from BK One’s CEO Dean Richards.

JOHANNESBURG – Basileus Capital CEO Julian Williams played a key role at BK One, a company whose preference shares are listed on the JSE. Williams was shot and killed in his Cape Town offices on Thursday afternoon. See: Former hedge fund boss dies in shooting incident.

Williams was not a director of BK One, but he was instrumental in developing and managing its various investments. These investments include equity stakes in:Avalloy, a producer of specialist alloys; Pure Ocean, a farmer of salt- and fresh-water fish; and TOR Construction. BK One had also lent R33.8m to cash management company Cash Connect.

Williams was a director of each of these companies, and Basileus Capital had played a key role in their early development. BK One has sourced all of its investments from Basileus Capital.

BK One is a joint initiative between Basileus Capital andKwanda Capital. Basileus Capital focuses on investments that advance government policies, including job creation and minerals beneficiation.

Williams founded JSE-listed Wesizwe. He served as director at the junior platinum company until his removal in March last year.

 

 

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Former hedge fund boss dies in shooting incident

27 Jul

Author: JULIUS COBBETT

Publications:The Citizen

Date Publiched: 27 July 2012

Julian Williams, CEO of private- equity group Basileus Capital, was shot dead in his Cape Town offices on Thursday afternoon.

The alleged shooter was his former business partner, Herman Pretorius.

Pretorius allegedly shot Williams dead, then turned the gun on himself. eNews Channel journalist Lester Kiewit reported on Twitter that the suspect (Pretorius) had a gunshot wound to the head and was taken to hospital where he was declared dead on arrival.

Pretorius used to be involved with a hedge fund called the Abante Statistical Arbitrage.

At the time of his death he ran an unregulated investment scheme called the Relative Value Arbitrage Fund (RVAF), which many investors believed to be a hedge fund.

Pretorius had been due to attend a meeting of investors in Moorreesburg on the evening of his death. Investors were informed that the event had been cancelled because Pretorius was in a meeting with Julian Williams.

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Former hedge fund boss in dividend dispute

5 Jul

Author:  Julius Cobbett

Publications: MoneyWeb

Date Published: 05 July 2012

Argument over unlisted pref shares failing to pay their 15% coupon.

A war of words has erupted over the failure of unlisted public company SA Superalloys to pay dividends on its preference shares. The shares were sold to various investors by Herman Pretorius, who recently featured on Moneyweb for his unorthodox investment vehicle, the Relative Value Arbitrage Fund (RVAF).

In the article, Moneyweb noted that the RVAF had reported consistent returns of about 20% a year for the past five years, but that there is no obvious way to verify this performance. The RVAF does not appear to have an auditor or third party administrator, and Pretorius is not licenced with the FSB.

Many of the RVAF’s investors also hold preference shares in SA Superalloys. There are about 500 preference shareholders, mostly from Cape-based farming communities, who have invested roughly R140m into SA Superalloys.

Moneyweb can reveal that Herman Pretorius has personally lent about R40m to SA Superalloys so that it could afford to pay generous dividends to its preference shareholders.

However, the dividends ran dry this year, which has sparked some unhappiness among investors.

The SA Superalloys shares were sold by Pretorius and brokers affiliated to him as far back as 2006.

SA Superalloys is a 55% shareholder in Avalloy, a Pelindaba-based manufacturer of special alloys for, among others, the aerospace and power turbine industries.

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Former hedge fund boss’s returns questioned

14 Jun

Author:  Julius Cobbett

Publications: MoneyWeb

Date Published: 14 June 2012

Update: *responses from Momentum and the JSE MAP.

JOHANNESBURG – On the face of it, former hedge fund boss Herman Pretorius and his company, Abante, have delivered excellent returns for his investors – in the region of 20% a year for the past five years. This would rank him among the top money managers in the country.

Pretorius has an unknown number of relatively wealthy private investors. Those known to Moneyweb are typically from small farming towns such as Moorreesburg, Porterville, Hopefield, Malmesbury, Durbanville, Riversdale and Sasolburg.

But two financial advisers – whose clients have money invested with Pretorius – have asked whether his returns can be verified.

One financial adviser wrote to Moneyweb: “There are a number of red flags that go up for me with regards to Abante but nobody (as far as I know) has really scratched around.”

One of the biggest concerns for this adviser was the consistency of the investment performance. “Their performance is just too consistent. I am not aware of a single negative quarter for this fund. They seem to average anything from 20-30% per annum every year. Even through the global financial crisis.”

The investment, called Relative Value Arbitrage Fund (RVAF), also does not have the type of safeguards that apply to most hedge funds.

Pretorius is not licensed with the FSB and claims he is not required to do so. What’s more, the statements issued to investors are basic in the extreme. An example  …..

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