Vancouver - Berkshire Investment Group Inc. announced that the Mutual Fund Dealers Association of Canada ("MFDA") has approved a settlement agreement with Berkshire arising from its failure to supervise the activities of Ian Gregory Thow, who was a financial advisor and co-branch manager and officer of Berkshire's Victoria branch office until June 1, 2005.
Prior to June 2005, Thow had represented to certain individuals, some of whom were Berkshire clients or former clients, that he would purchase certain investments on their behalf. Such investments were not approved for sale by Berkshire. The monies paid by these individuals were not paid to Berkshire and were not invested as represented by Thow. Thow resigned for cause effective June 1, 2005.
Under the terms of the settlement agreement, Berkshire has agreed to pay a fine of $500,000 and pay costs of $50,000 to the MFDA.
Berkshire has settled many claims made by its clients and former clients relating to Thow's activities. Other claims which have been alleged against Berkshire relating to Thow's activities have not been settled due to circumstances specific to each claim, such as insufficient detail of loss or lack of connection to Berkshire. Berkshire will now engage in a further round of mediations with Berkshire clients with a view to resolving these outstanding claims. These Berkshire clients will be contacted in the near future.
Manulife Securities acquired Berkshire on August 31, 2007. As is customary for transactions of this nature, the vendors (including Portland Holdings controlled by Michael Lee-Chin) continue to be financially responsible, and have indemnified Manulife, for all claims and losses relating to Thow's activities, including the MFDA settlement. Although Manulife is not responsible for the unfortunate and regrettable activities of Thow, Manulife is monitoring the status of any remaining outstanding claims. Manulife is anxious to see that any remaining claims that are determined to be legitimate are honoured and paid.
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|Berkshire Investment Group Inc.||Manulife Securities|
|Stephen Clarke||Tom Nunn|
|Contact: (905) 331-9900||Contact: (519) 594-8578|