MFDA Hearing Panel Rejects Settlement Agreement with Berkshire Investment Group Inc. in relation to Ian Gregory Thow



    VANCOUVER, Oct. 22 /CNW/ - A Settlement Hearing in the matter of
Berkshire Investment Group Inc. was held today before a Hearing Panel of the
Pacific Regional Council of the Mutual Fund Dealers Association of Canada
("MFDA").
    The hearing was convened to consider whether to approve a Settlement
Agreement between the MFDA and Berkshire concerning allegations that Berkshire
failed to conduct reasonable supervisory investigations of the activities of
former Approved Person, Ian Gregory Thow and to take such reasonable
supervisory and disciplinary measures as would be warranted by the results of
its investigations, contrary to MFDA Rules 2.5.1, 2.1.1(c) and the public
interest.
    The Hearing Panel declined to approve the Settlement Agreement and made
no Order in the matter. The Settlement Agreement hearing is concluded and the
decision of the Hearing Panel is not subject to appeal. The MFDA and Berkshire
may attempt to reach a different settlement or the MFDA may issue a Notice of
Hearing under sections 20 and 24 of MFDA By-law No. 1 in respect of the events
that were the subject of the Settlement Hearing.
    The British Columbia Securities Commission conducted enforcement
proceedings against Thow, and recently found him that he had failed to deal
fairly, honestly and in good faith with clients, made misrepresentations and
perpetrated a fraud. The Commission described Thow's activities as "one of the
most callous and audacious frauds this province has seen". The Commission's
decision is available on its website, www.bcsc.bc.ca.
    Thow is also the subject of a criminal investigation by the Vancouver
Integrated Market Enforcement Team of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police.
    MFDA disciplinary panels have the power to terminate or suspend
membership, levy fines and impose terms and conditions on membership. MFDA
disciplinary panels, like many securities regulatory organizations, do not
have the power to award compensation. Clients who are not satisfied with
Berkshire's response to their complaint have two options. They can:

    
    -   Bring their complaint to the Ombudsman for Banking Services and
        Investments for review. OBSI is a free, independent service for
        resolving investment disputes. OBSI can recommend compensation of up
        to $350,000.

    -   Commence a civil action before the courts to pursue financial
        recovery in any amount.
    

    The Mutual Fund Dealers Association of Canada is the self-regulatory
organization for Canadian mutual fund dealers. The MFDA regulates the
operations, standards of practice and business conduct of its 162 Members and
their approximately 75,000 Approved Persons with a mandate to protect
investors and the public interest.





For further information:

For further information: Shaun Devlin, Vice-President, Enforcement,
(416) 943-4672, or sdevlin@mfda.ca


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