Investors Scrutinizing the Regulators

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Securities Regulation In CanadA

Fox Guarding the Hen House




The Ian Thow Affair

Berkshire Securities Inc.

..Berkshire has adopted the approach that it was in the dark about what Thow -- who constantly told clients he had a close relationship with Lee-Chin -- was doing and, hence, is not responsible. However, it has made settlements with some of Thow's clients, including some who invested with Thow on the understanding that the money would be used to buy shares in National Commercial bank of Jamaica, an entity controlled by AIC.

Provided a line of credit or loan from which funds were procured and transferred to Thow and his numbered companies.

In 2002 the AIC Group, led by Jamaican-Canadian billionaire Michael Lee-Chin, acquired 75% of the shares in the National Commercial Bank. Backed by AIC Limited - Canada's largest privately held mutual fund company.

Ian Thow

Michael Anthony Lee-Chin

Michael Lee-Chin:

A portfolio of sun, sand and sea

Ian Thow, left, and Michael Lee Chin pose in front of Thow’s executive jet in an undated photo.

National Post, Panel frowns on Berkshire settlement. 24 October 2007


Notice of Hearing

29 June 2006


17 October 2007

BCSC enforcement staff originally accused Thow of defrauding dozens of clients out of as much as $30 million in a variety of non-existent investment schemes. For the purposes of the hearing, however, they narrowed it to 26 clients, who invested $8.7 million and lost about $6 million. Of this amount, forensic accountant James Blatchford traced $5.4 million and found that Thow didn't spend any of it as he said he would.

17 October 2007

Penalty Decision

20 December 2007


Ian Gregory Thow files for bankruptcy (Full Profile)


The regulators' approach can be characterized as "too little, too late," enforcement actions were too slow to be effective and rules haven't been followed. As one frustrated investor asked yesterday: What good have the regulatory bodies done?

- National Post, Thow a useful teaching tool, 20 June 2007


IDA / OSC's inaction

31 August 2007

The snail-like response by the regulators to the Berkshire/Thow issue reminds me of a story relayed a couple of months ago by a senior executive at a bank-owned dealer. The executive said it fired an employee for what amounted to money-laundering. A week or so later, the employee turned up at another bank-owned dealer.

The executive called the regulators, in this case the Investment Dealers Association and the Ontario Securities Commission.

"We can't get them to do anything," the executive said. "They are just not interested."

If this seasoned executive can't get anybody involved, readers can reflect on what chance the average punter has.



Re: Berkshire Investment Group Inc.


13 December 2007


Thow saga continues unresolved

08 January 2009

Financial adviser Thow's victims still suffer

25 November 2008

Agencies remain mum on Thow whereabouts

01 October 2008

Financial fugitive Ian Thow spotted in Seattle

12 September 2008

Where is Ian Thow?

28 August 2008

Fraudster Thow missing

August 2008

Police still on lookout for elusive Thow

22 July 2008

Thow mocks our white collar crime enforcement

07 July 2008

Ex-Thow clients upset:  RCMP (IMET) plays up Berkshire

04 July 2008

Extradition of Thow takes time

27 June 2008

RCMP should wait until arrest to celebrate

28 June 2008

Crown charges Thow with 25 counts of fraud

27 June 2008

Thow's life creates myriad questions

27 June 2008

Berkshire denies any legal responsibility

05 March 2008

ASC Seeking Permanent Cease Trade Order Against Ian Gregory Thow

05 March 2008

Thow wants fine slashed: He also asks for appeal costs

19 February 2007

Thow appeals record fine

16 February 2007

Police still examining Ian Thow files: No decision on whether to lay charges

14 February 2007

Mediation starts in Thow case

06 February 2008

Thow hangs over MFDA, Berkshire

Mid-January 2008

Thow's shady clients no excuse for poor investigation: MFDA

08 January 2008

MFDA no match for Berkshire

22 December 2007

Ian Thow fined $6 million for securities fraud

21 December 2007

Ex-fund salesman slapped with $6-million fine

21 December 2007

Bilked investor left wondering about Berkshire

15 December 2007

No bite in MFDA ‘mauling’

15 December 2007

Thow's lifestyle the issue not mentioned

15 December 2007

Berkshire reaches settlement over Thow

14 December 2007

Berkshire to pay $500,000 in Thow affair

14 December 2007

Berkshire hearing a litmus test

06 December 2007

MFDA News Release re: Second notice of Settlement Hearing

29 November 2007

MFDA issues second notice of settlement hearing in Berkshire case

29 November 2007

Thow receiving threats, his lawyer says

08 November 2007

Media push for access to details on Thow's life

02 November 2007

B.C. seeks missing millions

01 November 2007

Fraudster Ian Thow had four aircraft, five luxury cars

01 November 2007

Thow court probe 'will be continued'

31 October 2007

Thow claims 'another story' in downfall

30 October 2007

RCMP pass Thow's file to the Crown

26 October 2007

Thow ordered to Seattle court

25 October 2007

Panel frowns on Berkshire settlement

24 October 2007

Berkshire's Thow settlement proposal rejected

23 October 2007

Mutual Fund Dealers still pondering how to deal with Berkshire

23 October 2007

Mutual Fund Dealers Association rejects proposed agreement with Berkshire Investment Group

23 October 2007

MFDA rejects settlement with Berkshire

23 October 2007

Thow's misdeeds laid bare in hearing testimony

18 October 2007

Thow committed fraud, B.C. watchdog rules

18 October 2007

Thow committed fraud, B.C. watchdog rules

17 October 2007

Thow ‘preyed on clients,’ panel declare

18 October 2007

Thow case ruled among B.C.'s worst fund frauds

18 October 2007

Thow got help with his scam

17 October 2007

Ex-Berkshire salesman Thow cited in 'callous and audacious' fraud: $30M gone?

17 October 2007

BCSC finds Thow perpetrated ‘one of the worst fraud's' in B.C. history

17 October 2007

Thow victims try to forget the experience

06 October 2007

Berkshire accused of legal piling on

05 October 2007

Berkshire to face hearing in Thow disaster

05 October 2007

Lee-chin in the land of the Thow affair

17 September 2007

A cautionary note on advisors

10 September 2007

Loose end in Manulife's Berkshire buy

05 September 2007

Former Thow jet to medevac patients around globe

04 September 2007

Hiding in plain sight

31 August 2007

Progress on Thow case is glacial

30 August 2007

Thow called 'predator'

13 July 2007

Thow dragged back to court to supply answers

30 June 2007

Manulife buys Berkshire and its baggage

27 June 2007

D'Alessandro sweeps clean

27 June 2007

Thow affair a useful teaching tool

20 June 2007

Thow must talk, U.S. court rules

16 June 2007

Lessons of the Thow affair

16 June 2007

Thow hearing ends on emotional note

15 June 2007

Accountant unravels Thow's money trail

08 June 2007

Thow paid bills with clients' money

07 June 2007

Creditors give money to Ian Thow

02 June 2007

Witness breaks down at Thow hearing

01 June 2007

Thow issue crystallizes for Lee-Chin

01 June 2007

Ex-clients reveal what they lost to rogue broker

31 May 2007

Thow a no-show at securities hearing

30 May 2007

Island couple lulled into false sense of confidence

30 May 2007

Accused advisor likely a no-show

28 May 2007

Day of reckoning unlikely

26 May 2007

MFDA completes Berkshire investigation

02 May 2007

Thow slapped with seizure writ by Transport Canada

26 April 2007

Thow paperwork piling up at RCMP

20 March 2007

An uphill battle for restitution

28 February 2007

Legal pains for MFDA

24 January 2007

Swindled survivors hang on

11 November 2006

Thow investors square off with Scotiabank

29 July 2006

Ian Thow Affair

29 July 2006

Broke, but far from broken

22 July 2006

Counselling ordered for Thow

18 July 2006

BCSC gives notice of a hearing into alleged fraud by Ian Thow

18 July 2006

Thow client sues bank, official over loans for investments

15 January 2006

'So this thing isn't dying down up there?'

15 January 2006

RCMP team probes market fraud

15 January 2006

The company Thow left behind

15 January 2006

Thow's Saanich house sold

02 January 2006

Berkshire response disappoints creditors

08 December 2005

Thow investors see sliver of hope

21 November 2005

Bold mom gets a hearing

10 November 2005

Investing Scandal - Ian Thow

26 September 2005

Like a thief in the night

19 September 2005

Embattled investment adviser surfaces in Seattle

16 September 2005

Thow files for bankruptcy in Washington

13 September 2005

Thow creditors reject settlement

13 September 2005

Thow exit speeds up investigation

10 September 2005

Receiver seeks arrest warrant for Ian Thow

10 September 2005

Stockbroker probed by RCMP slips into the U.S. at night

09 September 2005

Thow slips out of the country

09 September 2005

Thow's mystery millions

05 September 2005

Victoria broker nailed for misleading client

05 September 2005

Secret donor fails to bail out ruined dealer

02 September 2005

Ian Thow offers $12.5-million deal to creditors

24 August 2005

Mystery surrounds Thow payback plan

24 August 2005

Commission failed to act on complaint: investor

13 August 2005

Berkshire asks for clients' trust

11 August 2005

The Ian Thow affair

05 August 2005

More legal guns trained on Ian Thow, Berkshire Investment Group

01 August 2005

'He put us under his spell': Investors describe dealings with Thow

30 July 2005

Creditors line up at Thow hearing

29 July 2005

Campbell a part of Thow saga

27 July 2005

Storm clouds are gathering

18 July 2005

Disabled clients' money went to booze, cocaine

16 July 2005

It's a small world after all

14 July 2005

Ex-clients cite victory as court orders Ian Thow's assets frozen

14 July 2005

The strange dealings of Phillip and Ian Thow

13 July 2005

Police open file on investment adviser

12 July 2005

Berkshire distances itself from accused rogue advisor

08 July 2005

Former adviser not licensed to sell stock

07 July 2005

Investment executive's charmed life unravels

06 July 2005

Lavish style draws clients

05 July 2005

Investors describe dealings with Thow

05 July 2005

Philanthropist in missing-funds lawsuit

01 July 2005

Investment adviser left 'bad taste'

01 July 2005

Ex-manager's clients turn to the courts

30 June 2005

Mysterious exit for Berkshire's Thow

29 June 2005

Executive leaves Berkshire, faces investigation

25 June 2005

Thow to head brokerage

21 November 1998

Investors' manager resigns

24 October 1998