Politics, hungry lawyers and media help abuse the system

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Re: Politics assists financial fraud against public

Postby admin » Tue Apr 07, 2009 6:02 pm

Iris Evans Alberta Finance and Enterprise deserves full credit for the economic situation we now find ourselves in.

After all, it was her Alberta Securities Commission that granted legal permission to "approximately 20 financial firms", to sell illegal, toxic investments to Albertans. It was her Alberta Treasury Branches that placed approximately 1/2 of all customer deposits into these same toxic investments. It was under her watch that the Treasury Branch lost 1/4 billion dollars on this investment. (to date)

It was under her supervision of the provinces securities commission that the City of Lethbridge went into this illegal product to the tune of $32 million. The University of Calgary just under $20 million. Hundreds of individual investors were nearly wiped out financially due to the investments that her department allowed into Alberta.

Alberta is a rat free province. It is unfortunate that under Alberta Finance, we lost the ability to keep financial rats out of this once prosperous province. Will Iris Evans call a public inquiry into these obvious failures, or will we shoot, shut up and shovel about the government's own contribution to the worst economic storm in a generation? Would Alberta taxpayers care if they knew that their own government is selling out their interests for political gain? The budget today will show us part of the damage.

Alberta taxpayers have had to bailout the Alberta Treasury Branch to keep it in business, providing additional funds and loans. Alberta taxpayers have had to bail out the individual investors who were facing financial ruin. Alberta taxpayers paid for the executive bonus's that ATB execs paid themselves for losing $1/4 bil. Alberta taxpayers also swallow the losses for the City of Lethbridge and University of Calgary. Now we have a new budget and Iris Evans has refused opening an inquiry to determine where we failed to protect Albertan's. She knows exactly where we failed. Unfortunately her choice to protect her job, is taking precedence over protecting Albertan taxpayers. Very enterprising of her to dodge this one. It is a breach of trust.

Larry Elford 403 328-0391

letter from Alberta Finance and Enterprise about legal exemptions to sell toxic investments posted at http://web.me.com/lelford/breachoftrust ... /Blog.html

Alberta Auditor General audit report on Alberta Treasury Branch bonus's at http://www.oag.ab.ca/files/oag/Oct_2008_Report.pdf
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Re: Politics assists financial fraud against public

Postby admin » Mon Apr 06, 2009 9:33 am

I have just now, begun to understand the connection between government, the regulators, and the financial services industry. They seem to me like a three legged stool, where each is dependant upon the other to complete the conditions for a perfect storm.

The financial services industry owns and pays the self regulatory agencies that claim to "police" the securities industry. The self regulators have made assurances to the government regulators that they will do a proper job, although based on who pays their salaries, this seems nearly impossible to imagine, and has not yet come true.

The government of the day, has a political objective or remaining in power. To do this, they must avoid embarrassment.
They do this by failing to identify, recognize (and thus protect the public) and publicize failures inside the regulatory system for which they are responsible.

Thus the entire system fails due to a group of people, who while they are in positions of authority, fail to use this authority to protect the public interest. They instead use this authority to protect, serve, and further their own narrow interests.

It would be a criminal offense of negligence if it were allowed to be looked at.
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Re: Politics assists financial fraud against public

Postby admin » Sat Apr 04, 2009 2:21 pm

April foolS on us!

Financial failure, Hundreds of millions!

Alberta Taxpayer bailout

Alberta finance agency helps cause the failure

Alberta finance supports the joke

There is a unique connection between Government Ministers who condone sale of tainted products to our consumers, and the subsequent failures of those toxic products. This story has not yet been told. It is a multi billion dollar April fools joke on the public. I report it from Alberta, yet 13 provinces and territories allowed it.

The enclosed letter from Alberta Finance tells part of the story.

1. An admission that known tainted investment products were welcomed into our province, by letting investment firms and regulators bend the law secretly. There was no notice to the public of the toxic nature of the products being dressed up for sale.

2. Admission that this caused serious problems. (Alberta Treasury Branch alone put nearly 1/2 of all customer bank deposits into this toxic product, City of Lethbridge $32 mil, University of Calgary $18 mil)

3. No regulator nor Alberta Finance will tell, “what public interest” is served by letting investment firms bend our laws.

4. After letting friends in the investment industry bend laws to violate the public interest, they will now let them “review” themselves. Millions in fees earned by selling “exemptions” to our laws in each province.

From alberta auditor general report Oct 2008
Larry Elford
403 328-0391
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=COPADl86Z0g 3 minute preview of soon to be complete doc film BREACH OF TRUST, an attempt to expose criminal violations of the public interest by an entire investment and regulatory industry.
Letter below also posted at blog page web.me.com/lelford
alberta finance 20 exemptions jpeg pg 2.jpg
alberta finance 20 exemptions jpeg pg 1.jpg
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Re: Politics assists financial fraud against public

Postby admin » Sat Apr 04, 2009 2:20 pm

I have learned that it takes more than white collar fraudsters to steal the economy of a country. Like a three legged stool, support comes from all legs of the triangle.

The first leg of course is the fraudsters, of which there is no shortage. The financial industry probably attracts the greatest quantity of financial sociopaths of any other industry.

The second leg is a willing, able and captured regulatory regime. Regulators either come from the financial industry, or are counting on their next job coming from the financial industry. In addition, they are paid by the financial industry.

The third leg of support needed to allow a financial industry and a regulatory regime to let crime succeed, is a willing, compliant, self serving political party in power. The political part is essential to let the regulators, let the financiers get away with their acts.

Politicans supposedly oversee financial regulators. The problem, and where they contribute to the perfect economic crime, and the perfect economic crime, is that the politicians refuse to allow bad practices to come to light under their watch. Bad politicians would prefer to protect their jobs, rather than protect the public. So they play the game of "see no evil", where they win, and the public loses.

This flogg topic will look at some examples where this has taken place, despite criminal codes against such negligence.

Send examples, comments, posts to investoradvocate@shaw.ca
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Politics assists financial fraud against public

Postby admin » Sat Apr 04, 2009 2:04 pm

The quiet unravelling of Canadian democracy

Muzzled MPs. A powerless cabinet. Politicized senior bureaucrats. Unaccountable parties. Canada's democracy is in trouble. To fix it we have to connect the dots
Apr 04, 2009 04:30 AM


OTTAWA–For a foreign correspondent reporting some of the world's grimmest stories, Canada in the '80s was more than a faraway home. Seen from the flattering distance of Africa, this country was a model democracy. Reflected in its distant mirror was everything wrong with what was then called the Third World. From Cape to Cairo, power was in the hands of Big Men. Police and army held control. Institutions were empty shells. Corruption was as accepted as the steeped-in-pessimism proposition that it's a duty to clan as well as to family to grab whatever has value before the state inevitably returns to dust.

By contrast and comparison, Canada was a cold but shimmering Camelot. Ballots, not bullets, changed governments. Men and women in uniform were discreet servants of the state. Institutions were structurally sound. Corruption, a part of politics everywhere, was firmly enough in check that scandals were aberrations demanding public scrutiny and sometimes even justice.

Canada today is not Africa then or now. Our wealth and health, and our communal respect for legal, civil and human rights position this favoured country on a higher plane. Still, 10 years of close observation and some 1,500 Star columns lead to an unsettling conclusion: Africa, despite popular perception, despite the Somalias and Zimbabwes, is moving in one direction, Canada in another. Read the headlines, examine the evidence, plot the trend line dots and find that as Africans – from turnaround Ghana to impoverished Malawi – struggle to strengthen their democracies, Canadians are letting theirs slip.

There, dictatorships are now more the exception than the rule and accountability is accepted as a precondition for stability. Here, power and control are increasingly concentrated and accountability honoured more in promise than practice. Canadian politicians flout the will of voters and parties. Once-solid institutions are being pulled apart by rising complexity and falling legitimacy. Scandals come and go without full public exposure or cleansing political punishment. If not yet lost, Camelot is under siege.

Laughter or disbelief would have been my '80s response to any gloomy prediction that within the next 20 odd years Canada's iconic police force would twist the outcome of a federal election. I would have rejected out of hand the suggestion that Parliament would become a largely ceremonial body incapable of performing its defining functions of safeguarding public spending and holding ministers to account. I would have treated as ridiculous any forecast that the senior bureaucracy would become politicized, that many of the powers of a monarch would flow from Parliament to the prime minister or that the authority of the Governor General, the de facto head of state, would be openly challenged.

Yet every one has happened and each has chipped away another brick of the democratic foundations underpinning Parliament. Incrementally and by stealth, Canada has become a situational democracy. What matters now is what works. Precedents, procedures and even laws have given way to the political doctrine of expediency.

No single party or prime minister is solely to blame. Since Pierre Trudeau first dismissed backbenchers as nobodies and began drawing power out of Parliament and into his office, all have contributed to the creep toward a more authoritarian, less accountable Canadian polity.

Some of the changes are understandable. Government evolves with its environment, and that environment has become more complex even as the controls have become wobblier, less connected. The terrible twins of globalization and subsidiarity – the sound theory that services are most efficiently delivered by the administrative level closest to the user – now sorely test the ability of national legislatures to respond to challenges at home and abroad. Think of it this way: Trade, the economy and the environment have all gone global while the things that matter most to most of us – health, education and the quality of city life – are the guarded responsibility of provinces and municipalities.

Politics and politicians being what they are, the reflex response is to grasp for all remaining power. Once secured, it can be used to exercise political will more easily by overruling rules and rewriting or simply ignoring laws. Power alone is effective in cross-cutting through the silo walls that isolate departments and frustrate co-ordinated policies. Important to all administrations, unfettered manoeuvring room is that much more important to minority governments desperate to maximize limited options and minimize opposition influence.

Good for prime ministers, that's not nearly good enough for the rest of us. It fuels an inexorable power drift to the opaque political centre, creating what Donald Savoie, Canada's eminent chronicler of Westminster parliaments, calls "court government." It's his clear and credible view that between elections, prime ministers now operate in the omnipotent manner of kings. Surrounded by subservient cabinet barons, fawning unelected courtiers and answerable to no one, they manage the affairs of state more or less as they please.

Prime ministers are freeing themselves from the chains that once bound them to voters, Parliament, cabinet and party. From bottom to top, from citizen to head of state, every link in those chains is stressed, fractured or broken.

One man's short political career helps explain how those connections fail. David Emerson, a respected former forestry executive and top B.C. bureaucrat, is recalled as one of Paul Martin's most competent ministers. Almost forgotten now is his corrosive effect on public trust.

In 2006, Emerson ran for re-election in Vancouver-Kingsway, winning easily as a Liberal. Weeks after promising to be Stephen Harper's "worst nightmare," Emerson was named to the Conservative cabinet in the trade portfolio he had long wanted and was well-suited for. His rationale was simple: There's no point in being in the capital if there's no real possibility of influencing the nation's course.

Emerson is an honest man and his motives genuine. But in severing the link between ballots and voter choice, he made nonsense of the electoral process.

Emerson was not alone in dripping acid on that rare winter election. But where he applied an eyedropper, then RCMP Commissioner Giuliano Zaccardelli emptied a bucket. With Liberals nursing an opinion-poll lead and Martin on track for a second minority, Zaccardelli dropped an unprecedented, still unexplained bombshell. In a private letter to the NDP, one the RCMP went to extraordinary lengths to ensure became public, the force confirmed its criminal investigation into rumoured leaks of the Liberal decision not to tax income trusts.

Conservative strategist Tom Flanagan candidly identifies that letter as the election's tipping point. Liberal scandals and ethics soared again to the top of voter minds, sending Martin tumbling and Liberals packing.

No political malfeasance was found – one bureaucrat was charged with gaining personal benefit. More remarkably, neither Zaccardelli nor the RCMP has been forced to fully deconstruct such an egregious intervention in the electoral process. To their lasting shame, all three federal parties, each to protect its interests and minimize embarrassment, chose to leave hanging the rotten odour of banana republic politics. Zaccardelli, defrocked for conflicting testimony in the Maher Arar affair, is in France, safe and quiet in an Interpol sinecure.

If Zaccardelli's intervention was wrong, Emerson's analysis was right: Being a bright, competent and energized backbencher in an increasingly ritualistic, theatrical and impotent House of Commons is an exercise in futility.

Parliament's problem is that it is patently dysfunctional. Its list of recent failures is long and instructive. It didn't notice the millions of Quebec sponsorship dollars shifting from the treasury to Prime Minister Jean Chrétien's office or the runaway costs of the Liberal long-gun registry. Starved of resources and already ineffectual, its committees became a standing joke when Conservatives secretly wrote a 200-page manual to discourage curiosity about, say, alleged attempts to buy dying Chuck Cadman's Commons vote, or the ruling party's suspect in-and-out campaign money-laundering scheme.

It's so essential for the ruling party to keep Parliament in the dark that its independent officers are now forced to struggle for the funds and freedom to do their jobs. Need proof? Liberals and Tories nurtured a cottage industry that taught how to hide public information vital to open democracy by, among other tricks, insisting on untraceable verbal reports and scribbling sensitive information on removable Post-it notes. Conservatives in opposition promised to create a budget officer to follow how Ottawa spends hundreds of billions. In power they are yanking the leash on Kevin Page, the newest watchdog.

Given those frustrations – and others ranging from voting as the party demands, not as their conscience dictates, to the growing irrelevance of the Commons as a forum for shaping public policy – it's hardly surprising that most MPs, like David Emerson, want to be where the action is – in cabinet. Except that it's not.

Strong cabinets are dusty relics. Long gone are the days when powerful regional ministers could flex their muscles with prime ministers who were merely first among equals. Under Chrétien, cabinets became little more than focus groups. Stephen Harper is going farther, making most ministers anonymous and keeping others silent when tough questions are asked.

Far more powerful than ministers are the political professionals who form a protective inner circle beholden only to the prime minister, not voters. Those appointed apparatchiks are now so entrenched that even senior ministers – Martin's deputy Prime Minister Anne McLellan was one – have trouble penetrating the barrier around "The Boss."

So who influences the prime minister, who moulds the putty of public policy? Well it's certainly not deputy ministers, those non-partisan civil servants who once took personal pride in speaking truth to power and kept resignations ready for the moment ministers crossed the line separating public interest from partisan advantage. For mandarins, Job One is no longer providing policy options, it's protecting ministers and the prime minister from political blowback. How much that's changed is measured by last year's report on the leak of a sensitive Canadian diplomatic memo suggesting Barack Obama was saying one thing publicly and another privately about renegotiating free trade.

In finding no culprit, an investigation led by the Clerk of the Privy Council, Ottawa's top public servant, pointed fingers at bureaucrats for circulating the memo too widely. But as the Star exposed at the time, civil servants didn't leak. It was political operatives in the Prime Minister's Office and in Canada's Washington embassy who recklessly jeopardized this country's interests to assist U.S. Republicans. Once again, the guilty went free.

If not Parliament, ministers or mandarins, who can hold the Prime Minister accountable? Apparently not political parties. On their way to their party's Winnipeg convention last year Conservatives, those grassroots activists who planted the seeds of the Reform movement and nurtured them until they grew into a government, were told they had become only one among many "stakeholders." Then, in a cameo convention appearance, the Prime Minister broke the news that hard times rendered the party's defining conservative framework at least temporarily null and void.

Liberals, facing a crisis of their own, responded with even more extreme pragmatism. Having reached the conclusion Stéphane Dion had to be replaced before Parliament reconvened for a critical January session, Liberals bent, folded and mutilated party rules to narrow the leadership contenders to one and anoint Michael Ignatieff interim chief. Whatever the urgency or justification, chattering-class Liberals effectively stripped the rank and file of the right and responsibility to choose a leader.

With parties pushed to the sidelines, only the Governor General remains as a political check on the prime minister. But even that control is suspect after last year's pre-Christmas coalition crisis. Here's how far outspoken minister John Baird said Conservatives were willing to go to hang on to power. "I think what we want to do is basically take a time out and go over the heads of the members of Parliament, go over the heads, frankly, of the Governor General, go right to the Canadian people."

Going over the head of the de facto head of state is a radical notion. But so, too, is the accelerating erosion of Parliament, cabinet, independent oversight and political parties. Extreme is now ho-hum in a country where the prime minister can override his own law to force an election, where accountability is little more than a campaign bumper sticker, where the police play politics and where there is no connection between scandal and punishment for those in privileged places.

Without meaningful engagement, participatory democracy is an oxymoron. Why vote if the winning candidate then switches sides? Why be a member of a powerless Parliament? Why be a minister in a cabinet without influence or a mandarin in a politically polluted bureaucracy? Why join a party to be spectator?

Responses can be found in the record low turnout of the last election. Or the dwindling number who consider federal politics relevant to real life or bother to join parties.

Fortunately, there are fixes. As Barack Obama proved in the U.S presidential campaign – and Premier Dalton McGuinty learned in Ontario when teenagers used Facebook to drive proposed drivers' licence restrictions into a dead end – the combination of motivated citizens and enabling technology is extraordinary.

If mad-as-hell voters can take back a riding, as they did in Vancouver by rejecting Emerson's adopted party, then surely MPs can recapture control of Parliament. It's possible, too, that ministers, bureaucrats and police officers can be forcefully reminded that their public duty is to the people, not to politicians. Even prime ministers can be told they are not monarchs.

Appealing as it sounds, advocacy requires effort. It's so much easier to go with the flow, to let situational democracy evolve with each reflex, stopgap, jerry-rigged response to every new policy demand and political threat. But that leads away from accountability and toward the Big Man culture that Africa is finally throwing off and has no place in Canada.

If war is too serious to leave to generals, then surely democracy is too important to delegate to politicians.
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Postby Guest » Wed Aug 03, 2005 8:26 am

The Investor Advocate
Ken Kivenko’s column is all about investor protection. Ken fights for investors’ rights and exposes violations and malpractices. He also runs an advisory business, FundBuster Analytics, assisting investors obtain restitution due to sales or broker abuses.

Hardly In The Public Interest

By Ken Kivenko | Friday, July 29, 2005

What the Limitation Act means for mutual fund investors Effective Jan 1, 2004 the Ontario Government (several other provinces have similar Acts) implemented legislation reducing limitation periods (the time within which plaintiffs must take action or lose their right to take civil action) from six years to two years. The basic limitation period under the Act is two years from the date on which the claim is discovered, or ought to have been discovered, by the person entitled to bring the claim.

An agreement (called a “tolling agreement”) to let an independent third party mediate or arbitrate the dispute will suspend advancement of the limitation period for the duration of the arbitration or mediation process, but if that process fails to resolve the dispute, the limitation period countdown resumes where it left off. A regulator such as a securities commission or the IDA would not be considered to be a mediator or arbitrator for this purpose, so complaints to them will not suspend the limitation period. Once the limitation period expires, it cannot be revived.

So, mutual fund investors now have to act much more quickly if they feel they’ve been a victim of financial assault. For unsophisticated investors, seniors, retirees, widows, non-English-speaking immigrants and others the new Act can spell economic disaster.

Consumer groups such as the Small Investors Protection Association (SIPA) and the United Senior Citizens of Ontario have been vocal in their concerns. The Canadian Association of Retired Persons has referred to the Act as a form of elder abuse. Media coverage has exposed the issue. Joe Tascona, the Conservative Party Critic for the Attorney General (Ontario) has drawn attention to the concerns and is attempting to have them rectified.

“…Yet, we all would also like to be able to live out our lives without fear that our past actions may become subject to a legal action so many years into the future that we would be discouraged from engaging in innovation and entrepreneurship…” — Ontario Attorney General Mike Bryant in a June 27 letter sent to SIPA justifying the Act

The government argues that two years is more than enough time to file a civil claim.

Here’s why it’s not:

Clients may not know the extent of their losses until late in the game.
Client statements rarely provide personal rates of return.
Book values obscure rather than illuminate portfolio performance.
Mutual fund terminology is often based on industry jargon, a foreign language to ordinary investors.
Suitable investments may temporarily mask the corrosive effects of unsuitable investments.
Some mutual fund and hedge fund managers report semi-annually.
For many reasons, a specific fund may be unsuitable for an investor. Advisers may not want to admit to responsibility for the error and therefore encourage ignoring the unsuitability, hoping a fund will recover. Principal-guaranteed investments (many segregated funds and investment trusts) encourage speculation to recover from early losses. Lucrative trailer commissions also encourage advisers to not recommend selling a losing fund. DSC- sold funds result in an early redemption penalty that further discourages selling a loser, with advisers rarely counseling no-fee switches within the fund family, or no-fee 10% annual withdrawals. These forces combine to encourage the investor to inappropriately hold on to unsuitable mutual funds. One year can easily be lost in this morass.
Behavioural finance scientists have studied retail investor behavior and concluded investors go through a multi-phase internal process before they decide to react to bad news (see Fig 1-4. below).

Investor Emotion Chart. Source: Index Funds: The 12-step Program, M.T. Hebner, 2004

Embarrassment, the fear of regret, outright psychological depression, anchoring and cognitive dissonance are all factors that may cause investors to delay facing the reality that significant losses have been incurred and to take mitigating action. This cycle of denial can and does extend to years

The stress of a life-altering event such as the loss of a hard earned retirement nest egg can be so debilitating that it can lead to depression and the inability to make a rational decision. In this mode, it’s unlikely an investor will have the emotional strength to file a claim or take civil action in a timely manner.
Once an investor concludes he can and should complain he must go through a long, extended and stressful process with the fund dealers and brokers. Some have referred to this complaint process as a quagmire as the investor struggles with how and to whom to address a complaint. Before it’s over an investor must deal with his advisor, a branch supervisor, a Vice President, a compliance officer and the firm’s ombudsman. During this complex process, documents are exchanged, there are many phone calls and meetings are held. Sometimes key documents are missing or the advisor has left the company. The brokerage firm encourages delays, with long response times and obtuse replies begging for explanations that are not forthcoming. This phase alone can take many months. Meanwhile, the Limitations Act clock keeps ticking away. Usually, the investor is told his claim is not valid, even in cases where the Courts later uphold the claim as valid.
Finally, investors who’ve encountered the firm’s convoluted dispute resolution process bring their case to the industry- sponsored Ombudsman for Banking Services and Investments (OBSI). OBSI won’t consider a case until all reasonable avenues have been pursued with the dealer/broker. The OBSI process alone can take more than a one year. An OBSI investigation is initiated unilaterally by a request from the investor and OBSI makes recommendations for settlement of the complaint. The recommendation does not have to be accepted by the firm (or the investor).A number of investors have gone on to win claims after rejecting the OBSI recommendation and engaging a lawyer It’s not yet been tested whether a complaint to OBSI would suspend advancement of the limitation period, but it appears unlikely. In any event, only 15% of cases are resolved in favor of investors (and for a fraction of actual losses), leaving civil action the last resort for investors who feel they’ve been abused.
So, by the end of this vicious cycle of events, three or four years can easily pass leaving the investor with no recourse with the oppressive Limitations Act in place. The fact that the investor complained at all suggests the investor was aware of the existence of the claim. The ability to seek compensation through the courts is lost forever. This hardly seems an Act in support of the public interest.

Perversely, the Act also has a tolling provision that bars the parties from mutually agreeing to an extended time by suspending a limitation period , in the absence of third party mediation or arbitration. On top of this, the Act could encourage some firms to deliberately stall on a settlement, hoping that the investor will run out of time.

Until such time as the Act is amended, mutual fund investors are encouraged to carefully examine their client statements, look at bottom-line account trends, ask questions, complain promptly whenever something doesn’t feel right and establish definitive timelines with firms on dispute resolution. If at any time you’re not sure of your rights or what to do, consider contacting a lawyer. This is certainly one area where professional advice can pay big dividends. Failure to do so in a timely manner could mean you get ZIP even if your restitution claim is rock solid.

Ken Kivenko P.Eng.

July, 2005

Postby Mike H. » Thu Jul 28, 2005 7:45 pm

Alberta has had a two year limit on civil actions for several years. But this means that you have two years to file a statement of claim from the time you were aware of the cause of action; not the time of the tort.

So if your advisor stole money from your account 7 years ago, but you only became aware of it today, you would have two years FROM TODAY to file your statement of claim with the court.

Once the statement of calim is filed, there is no real time limit on the litigation.
Mike H.

Postby Guest » Mon Jul 25, 2005 9:04 pm

I could be full of beans, in which case I would appreciate it if someone would set me straight. but I seem to recall changes to recent IDA rules which made the time under which an advisor remains under IDA jurisdiction increase from the previous two years to more like five years.

If true, it certainly goes against the premise of limiting or shortening clients recourse time to two years...................while the IDA needs more and more time to pursue departed brokers.

Postby Guest » Thu Jul 21, 2005 11:49 am

Financial Post

Thursday, July 21, 2005

The Small Investor Protection Association has obtained the backing of a Progressive Conservative politician in Ontario in its attempt to change the limit on how much time investors have to sue for restitution those who have wronged them.

Joe Tascona, the opposition critic to Attorney General Michael Bryant, launched a petition yesterday to strike down the two-year limit that applies to investors who lost money due to wrongdoing of the financial-services industry.

Ontario’s Limitations Act of 2002 cut the time during which such legal action can be launched to two years from six. the Act was proclaimed in January, 2004.

“There’s a lot of concern about this,” said Mr. Tascona, “and I think that once the public of all ages becomes aware of the situation, they’re going to look for some better representation and better response from the Attorney General.”

The limitations issue is the top concern facing small investors today, SIPA president Stan Buell said.

“This issue will affect victims today, will affect victims into the future,” he said. “Two years [to take civil action] is just not enough. We know that from talking to hundreds of people.”

Calling the loss of one’s savings a “lifealtering event,” Mr. Buell said that by the time an aggrieved investor gathers needed information, meets with regulators and files complaints, two years can pass.

“None of that activity stops the clock,” he said. “So people can spend a lot of time going through the complaint-handling process and find out that it’s too bad, it’s too late” to sue.

While the Limitations Act was brought in by the Conservatives, Mr. Tascona said he withheld his vote during its second and third readings and never spoke out in its support.

Mr. Buell said he turned to Mr. Tascona after not getting much response from the governing Liberals, including the Attorney General’s office.

Valerie Hopper, a spokeswoman for the Ministry of the Attorney General, said, “We’re looking at everything right now, just monitoring [the legislation], seeing what the effects are and seeing if it’s doing what it’s supposed to be doing.”

Ms. Hopper added that changing the limitation period has not been ruled out.


Politics, hungry lawyers and media help abuse the system

Postby urquhart » Tue Jul 19, 2005 10:35 am

Ontario Conservative Party, through its Official Opposition Critic for the Attorney General, held a press conference yesterday to put pressure on the Ontario Liberal Government to repeal its new two year limitation period that governs civil liability claims for breach of duty and breach of trust by financial advisors. The press conference was presented by Stan Buell of the Small Investor Protections Association (SIPA), Bill Gleberzon of 50 Plus Association (CARP) and Judi Muzzi of the United Senior Citizens of Ontario (USCO).

With SIPA, CARP & USCO presence at the press conference, there was representation of over half a million seniors. That has got to create an impression on the financial industry and securities regulators that the investing public will no longer tolerate eldery investor abuse.

That on top of a 500 turnout at the OSC Town Hall meeting on May 31, 2005.

Here is the Ontario Conservative Party Press Release.

Rights of investors being jeopardized

(July 14, 2005) Barrie – Bill 213, Justice Statute Law Amendment Act, 2002, enacted the Limitations Act, 2002, which provides for a reduction in the legal limitation period, from six years to two years.

MPP Joe Tascona, Opposition Critic to the Attorney General, is addressing this issue because of concerns that the two year limitation period in effect from January 1, 2004, is not long enough for investors seeking restitution after suffering serious financial damages due to the wrongdoing of the financial services industry. The Attorney General’s position is that plaintiff interests do not need further protection.

“The revised Limitations Act does not adequately provide for the rights of investors, particularly widows and seniors, who are endeavouring to seek justice through civil litigation”, said Tascona.

Tascona will be holding a press conference at Queen’s Park on Monday, July 18, 2005, to raise public awareness of this issue. With him will be representatives of CARP (Canadian Association of Retired Persons) and SIPA (Small Investor Protection Association).

“The problem of seniors losing their life savings due to investment industry wrongdoing is much greater than acknowledged”, said Stan Buell, President of SIPA. “Scandals such as mutual fund market timing, hedge fund collapses, corporate misdeeds, and governance failures are robbing Canadians of their life savings. Seniors seem to be targeted. Victims last recourse to obtain restitution is civil litigation, and now that right is being jeopardized by reduced limitation periods, from six years to two years.”

The press conference will be held at 10:30 Monday, July 18th, at the Media Room, Queen’s Park.


Contact: MPP Joe Tascona, Official Opposition Critic for the Attorney General, 705-715-6707
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