Tag Archives: Michal Calitz

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.
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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.

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.

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.

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.

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”.

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.

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

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

Investor obtains order for R500 000 refund in RVAF scam

1 Jul

Author: Roy Cokayne          

Publications: iOL

Date Published: 1 Jul 2014

Investor obtains order for R500 000 refund in RVAF scam

Noluntu Bam, the ombud for financial advisory and intermediary services (Fais), yesterday ordered Impact Financial Consultants in Bellville and/or financial adviser Michal Johannes Calitz to repay dentist Dr Craig Stewart Inch the R500 000 he invested in the RVAF.

Bam said the RVAF was nothing short of a scam and initial reports by the joint trustees indicated that most, if not all, investors’ funds had been lost.

She said there were many areas where Calitz was remiss and in direct contravention of the Fais Act. At its simplest, if Calitz had merely requested a set of properly audited financials, the scam would have been revealed, she added.

Bam said this would have been part of basic due diligence. Not only was this elementary step omitted but deficiencies were similarly evident in the lack of any form of proper due diligence study into the fund, its underlying investments or their structure.

Inch said he had trusted Calitz because he was correctly registered as a certified financial planner, a member of the Financial Planning Institute and his company Impact Financial Consultants was correctly licensed with the Financial Services Board (FSB).

He was dismayed that Calitz had not made certain that the investment platform he would be investing his money into was legal, correctly registered and had performed all the necessary due diligences. He had also not checked that RVAF’s fund manager was FSB-licensed, there would be third party verification of returns and valid financial statements and the fund would be correctly audited.

“Calitz acted unethically by investing my money in this ‘hedge fund’. I would never have invested a cent had I known this information.”

Bam said that apart from the issue around the risk profile, the circumstances surrounding the investment were essentially not in dispute, leaving what were essentially allegations about the failure to comply with the Fais Act, including questions of due diligence, appropriateness of advice, licensing and disclosure related to licensing, whether Calitz acted in the interests of his client and the integrity of the financial services industry.

She added that there was no evidence that a need analysis was conducted on Inch and the decision to place the majority of Inch’s savings into such a high risk investment without any diversification defied logic.

Bam said the substantial sums in commissions received by Calitz could simply not be justified when considering the poor quality of advice offered to Inch. She said these commissions were only revealed in a report to creditors in June last year by the trustees of the insolvent estate of the RVAF and a letter dated August 15 last year in which attorneys acting for Calitz conceded that he had received a so-called profit share of R8.44 million.

“Yet on the objective evidence, Calitz could never have conducted even the most basic of due diligences on the RVAF. Calitz placed the funds in a scheme which did not have so much as a financial services provider number, nominee account or even audited financials.

“Schemes such as the RVAF cannot exist without professionals such as Calitz turning a blind eye to legislative requirements,” she said.

‘Hedge fund’ advice slammed

22 Jun

Author: Angelique Arde

Publications: iOL

Date Published: 22 June 2014

The Ombud for Financial Services Providers has handed down a scathing determination against a financial planner who placed R500 000 of his client’s savings in the Relative Value Arbitrage Fund (RVAF), which was a scam posing as a hedge fund.

The RVAF collapsed after the architect of the scam, Herman Pretorius, reportedly shot his former business partner and then himself in July 2012.

The determination handed down by ombud Noluntu Bam this week reveals that adviser Michal Calitz of Impact Financial Consultants in Bellville, Western Cape, earned R8.4 million in so-called share profits from the RVAF, “yet on the objective evidence he could not have conducted even the most basic due diligence [tests] on the RVAF”.

Calitz placed his client’s funds in a scheme which did not have a financial services provider number, nominee account or even audited financials, Bam’s determination states.

“Schemes such as the RVAF cannot exist without professionals such as Calitz turning a blind eye to legislative requirements,” Bam says.

Calitz holds a post-graduate diploma in financial planning and is a member of the Financial Planning Institute (FPI). This entitles him to call himself a Certified Financial Planner (CFP). He was certified to a standard above that of the average financial adviser and “must be held to that standard”, Bam says.

The ruling follows a complaint by a dentist, Dr Craig Inch, who became Calitz’s client because a friend had recommended him.

According to the ruling, Inch’s friend had told him about a hedge fund that had been performing well, and the dentist asked Calitz about it or others of a similar ilk. Calitz said he did know about it, and mentioned the RVAF.

Not knowing much about hedge funds other than that they can be risky, Inch asked Calitz to explain the fund. Calitz replied that the fund manager was a gentleman he knew very well and that the fund used a technique involving long-short strategies.

When Inch asked about the risks of losing capital due to poor decision-making by the fund manager, Calitz said that although this was possible, the fund had done consistently “very, very well” and provided a return of 20 percent a year without much deviation.

Calitz explained that hedge funds are not regulated in the way that unit trust funds are, but that this fund has “all the correct paperwork”.

Bam says the RVAF had no paperwork by way of registration or licence whatsoever, and in that regard was conducting business illegally.

With all his savings (R600 000) in a money market fund, Inch was not willing to invest his capital with a high risk of loss. But Calitz assured him that the fund was not influenced by market fluctuations. Furthermore, not only had many of his clients invested in the RVAF, but so too had he. Based on this assurance, Inch deposited R500 000 into the RVAF’s bank account on March 30, 2010, the ruling says.

On July 26, 2012, Inch instructed Calitz that he wanted to withdraw R600 000. The following morning, he heard of the death of Pretorius, “the fund manager and trustee of the RVAF”.

The RVAF is in liquidation, and the trustees have indicated that some, if not all, investor funds have been lost. Bam’s ruling says that in a letter dated November 2012, Calitz wrote: “It is presumed that Dr Inch’s funds are lost, although no definite finding has been made by the liquidators.”

Inch told the ombud he trusted Calitz because he is a CFP and his company is registered with the Financial Services Board (FSB). This led him to believe that the product he was investing in was legal and registered, that Calitz had done the necessary due diligence, that the fund manager was licensed with the FSB, that there were valid financial statements and that the fund was audited.

“This is not the case at all. Had I known this, I would never have invested a cent in this fund,” Inch told the ombud. Calitz acted unethically by investing his money in this “hedge fund”, he says.

In response to questions from Bam’s office, Calitz did not provide evidence of having done a financial needs analysis, justifying investing Inch’s savings in a hedge fund, “which is high risk”, or a record of advice, to explain what other products were considered.

Bam says while Calitz supposedly had the qualifications and experience, “he either failed to properly understand what he was dealing with, or, more worryingly, turned a blind eye in favour of lucrative commission, which he received from the RVAF” .

Bam says Calitz ignored the very legislation designed to protect his client, which led to his client’s loss, and ordered him and his company pay Inch R500 000.

Bam’s office has also referred the determination to the FPI.

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Makelaar vir diens betaal, hoor hof

7 May

Author:  JANA BREYTENBACH

Publications: Die Burger

Date Published : 07 Mei 2014

KAAPSTAD. – Al het wyle Herman Pretorius ’n onwettige beleggingskema bedryf, beteken dit nie dat “ ’n makelaar wat nou weier om sy fooie terug te betaal daarvan bewus was nie”.

Só is gister aangevoer deur adv. Alasdair Sholto-DouglasSC wat die makelaar Michal Calitz van Bellville in die Wes-Kaapse hooggeregshof verteenwoordig.

Calitz staan ’n aansoek teen wat deur die kurators van Pretorius se gesekwestreerde Rela­tive Value Arbitrage Fund (RVAF)-trust en sy Seca-trust ingedien is.

Die kurators voer aan dat Calitz R6,54 miljoen aan die RVAF-trust en byna R380 000 aan die Seca-trust moet terugbetaal.

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

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

Adv. Jannie van der Merwe, vir die kurators, het aangevoer dat die betaling aan Calitz onwettig was.

Hy het ook aangevoer dat Pretorius, sy vrou, Susan-Ann, en Eduard Brand die trustees van die Seca-trust was, en dat Pretorius en Brand die enigste trustees van die RVAF-trust was. Pretorius het, sonder om sy mede-trustees insae te gee, oor betalings besluit.

volgens Van der Merwe was dit onwettig.

Boonop was die betalings deel van ’n “onwettige beleggingskema, of Ponzi-skema”, het Van der Merwe gesê.

Sholto-Douglas het namens Calitz aangevoer dat hy ’n diens gelewer het en daarvoor betaal is.

“Dit is geld wat Calitz verdien het en waarop hy belasting betaal het.”

Volgens Sholto-Douglas grond die kurators hul aansoek op hoorsê-getuienis wat nie in dié aansoek ingedien is nie. “Die kurators steun op getuienis wat in die sekwestrasie-aansoek teen Susan-Ann Pretorius ingedien is, en dat dit hoorsê-getuienis in die aansoek teen Calitz is.”

Van der Merwe het gesê ’n regter het die getuienis in die sekwestrasie-aansoek van Susan-Ann Pretorius aanvaar en dat die aansoek dus daarop kan steun.

Indien Calitz nie die geld kan terugbetaal nie, sal daar moontlik ’n aansoek om sekwestrasie teen hom by die hof ingedien kan word, het Van der Merwe gesê.

Regter Monde Samela het uitspraak voorbehou.

Lees Artikel in Die Burger

‘Kommissie’ teruggeëis

11 Dec

Author: Marelize Barnard

Publications:  Die Burger

Date Publiched: 11 December 2013

            Net R469 000 was ‘egte wins’

             KAAPSTAD. – Herman Pretorius het R1 miljoen aan ’n makelaar geleen met slegs ’n handdruk om dié transaksie te beklink.
Boonop het Pretorius later R250 000 van dié R1 miljoen-lening aan die makelaar, Michal Calitz, gegee – ’n geskenk wat hy met nog ’n handdruk as afgehandel beskou het.En volgens ’n transkripsie van getuienis wat in ’n sekwestrasie-ondervraging deur Calitz gelewer is, het Pretorius gesê: “Ek sê vir jou ek het soveel geld gemaak . . . ek betaal vir jou ’n miljoen rand oor . . . dan kan jy dit weer vergoed vir my later (sic).”Dié inligting is vervat in ’n beëdigde verklaring van Lambertus von Wielligh Bester, een van die kurators van Pretorius se Rela­tive Value Arbitrage Fund.

Bester se verklaring is deel van ’n aansoek wat gister in die Wes-Kaapse hooggeregshof teen Calitz ingedien is om miljoene rande “kommissie” wat Pretorius aan hom betaal het, te verhaal.

Luidens die transkripsie van Calitz se ondervraging deur die kurators het hy Pretorius só beskryf: “Herman was een van daai mense . . . en agterna kom ons dit agter . . . wat hand geskud het en niks was op papier nie . . .”

Bester het in sy verklaring aangevoer dat Pretorius se Ponzi-skema ongetwyfeld een van die grootste skelmstreke van sy soort tot nog toe in Suid-Afrika was.

Die ondersoeke wat tot nou deur die kurators en ouditeurs gedoen is, het gewys dat die meeste van die beleggers boere of plattelandse inwoners is.

Bester het gesê Calitz se regsverteenwoordiger het bevestig dat beleggers verskeie klagtes teen Calitz en Impact Finansiële Konsultante by die Ombudsman van Finansiële Diensverskaffers ingedien het. Die Finansiële Diensteraad ondersoek ook Calitz en ander makelaars.

Bester voer aan dat Pretorius, ten einde te verseker dat makelaars “geesdriftig” bly en daar ’n gereelde kapitaalstroom van beleggers inkom, “kommissies of winsdeling” van tussen 5% en 7,5% van die beleggingsbedrae aan hulle betaal het. Makelaars het hul wins ontvang die oomblik wat beleggers se geld inbetaal is.

Ekstra “administratiewe fooie” is ook aan makelaars betaal.

Terwyl beleggers meer as R2,2 miljard aan Pretorius toevertrou en hy deurentyd “opbrengste” van tussen 14% en 25% per jaar op die beleggings verseker het, het die hele beleggingskema oor al die jare nie meer as R469 000 egte wins gemaak nie.

Daar word nou van Calitz en Impact Finansiële Konsultante (’n beslote korporasie waarin Calitz ’n 80%-aandeel het) verskeie bedrae aan “kommissiegelde” teruggeëis. Dit wissel van R489 000 tot R2,45 miljoen en R3,6 miljoen.

Die aansoek is tot 6 Mei uitgestel.

Lees Artikel in Die Burger

Makelaar vandag in hof gepak

10 Dec

Author: Marelize Barnard

Publications:  Die Burger

Date Publiched: 10 December 2013

KAAPSTAD. – ’n Makelaar wat beleggers na Herman Pretorius se beleggingskema verwys het, word vandag in die Wes-Kaapse hooggeregshof gepak oor die terugbetaling van miljoene rande se kommissie.Een van die kurators van Pretorius se Relative Value Arbitrage Fund (RVAF), Lambertus von Wielligh Bester, dien vandag ’n aansoek by die Wes-Kaapse hooggeregshof in teen Michal Calitz om kommisie terug te betaal.

Bester het by navraag gesê die regstap teen Calitz is die “eerste van vele” om kommissie te probeer verhaal van die makelaars wat beleggers na Pretorius se skema verwys het.

’n Ondersoek na die kommissie wat aan makelaars betaal is, is “die aspek waaraan ouditeure nou aandag gee”, het Bester gesê. “Die makelaars word nou een vir een nagegaan.

Calitz se prokureur, Jean Kotze (van Laäs en Scholtz Prokureurs), het gesê Calitz gaan vandag die aansoek in die hooggeregshof teenstaan.

“Calitz staan dit teen en ontken aanspreeklikheid vir die bedrag geld wat van hom geëis word.”

Volgens Kotze is Calitz, soos die duisende beleggers wat by Pretorius belê het, “ook deur Pretorius bedrieg” en het hy nie geweet waarmee Pretorius besig was nie.

Calitz is vroeër vanjaar deur die likwidateurs van Pretorius se RVAF Trust ondervra as deel van hul likwidasie-ondersoek.

Die Burger het vantevore berig ’n verslag is daarna deur die likwidateurs by die meester van die hooggeregshof ingedien waarin gesê is dat Calitz ’n kommissie van meer as R15 miljoen ontvang het.

Calitz het hierop beswaar teen die likwidateurs se verslag by die meester van die Wes-Kaapse hooggeregshof ingedien en aangevoer dat die bedrag aansienlik minder is.

R8,44 miljoen

Die likwidateurs het geantwoord dat dit nie die bedoeling van die verslag was nie, en het dit op rekord gestel dat Calitz in sy ondervraging te kenne gegee het dat hy ’n bedrag van sowat R8,44 miljoen van Pretorius ontvang het.

Dié bedrag sluit enige moontlike betalings uit wat verband hou met beleggings in entiteite soos SA Superalloys, Lehumo en Wesizwe.

Dit is nog onduidelik hoeveel die likwidateurs van Calitz eis omdat die aansoek hieroor volgens die hofrol eers vandag deur ’n regter aangehoor sal word.

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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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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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