Berkshire Settles with MFDA; No Impact on Manulife

    VANCOUVER, Dec. 13 /CNW/ - 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
    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.

For further information:

For further information: Media contacts: Berkshire Investment Group
Inc., Stephen Clarke, Contact: (905) 331-9900 Extension 3410; Manulife
Securities, Tom Nunn, Contact: (519) 594-8578

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