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The financial advice ombud has issued a second determination against a brokerage and two of its brokers, ordering them to compensate a Pretoria pensioner who invested in a hotel property syndication that has since been liquidated.
Noluntu Bam, the Ombud for Financial Services Providers, held Stephanus Johannes van der Walt, together with Barend Petrus Geldenhuys and Huis van Oranje Finansiele Dienste, jointly liable to repay 75-year-old Jeanne Peens R125#x202F;000, which she invested in the Blaauwberg Beach Hotel project between 2009 and 2010.
According to the ombud#x2019;s ruling, Peens is one of thousands of investors who invested in Purple Rain Properties, trading as Realcor.
Realcor was an authorised financial services provider that sold one- and five-year debentures (an investment in a long-term loan), as well as various classes of shares, to build the hotel.
Realcor was liquidated before the hotel was completed.
Bam#x2019;s ruling says Realcor targeted the elderly and those making provision for their income in retirement, offering them monthly interest payments and dividends of more than 10#x202F;percent. This was despite the fact that the hotel had not been built and there was no #x201C;legitimate economic activity to generate the cash flows#x201D;.
Realcor used various subsidiary companies, including Midnight Storm Investments, Grey Haven Richees and Ipobrite, to obtain funding from the public. The investment was publicised as safe and guaranteed, with minimal risk that investors would lose their capital, because it was in property.
In April 2008, in response to allegations that Realcor was raising money unlawfully from the public, the South African Reserve Bank ordered an inspection of Realcor, which was conducted by PricewaterhouseCoopers (PWC).
The Reserve Bank found that Realcor was conducting the business of a bank without being registered as one.
It prohibited Realcor from raising further deposits and took steps to have investors#x2019; money repaid, appointing PWC as the managers to supervise Realcor for the Reserve Bank.
Attempts to put the company under business rescue failed, and its main creditor, First National Bank, filed for liquidation, according to the ruling. The incomplete building was eventually sold for about R50#x202F;million, but investors did not receive a liquidation dividend, the ombud says.
Brokers who sold Realcor Investments took the matter to court, asking that PWC be held liable for investors#x2019; losses and contending that the Reserve Bank#x2019;s intervention had caused Realcor to collapse, the ruling says.
But the court found that the Reserve Bank had not taken over the daily operations of Realcor and it remained under the control of its directors until it was liquidated, the ombud#x2019;s ruling says.
The ruling states that Peens contacted Van der Walt and Geldenhuys in response to a radio advertisement.
They saw her and she signed the investment forms and a record of advice the same day.
Bam says the record of advice Van der Walt and Geldenhuys produced shows that the financial products they considered for Peens were Realcor, the PIC property syndication and the Sharemax property syndication. They suggested Realcor, because it had the highest expected returns.
She says the basis on which Van der Walt and Geldenhuys considered the three property syndications to be suitable for Peens is #x201C;inconceivable#x201D;, given that she had experience only of investing in listed investment companies.
Van der Walt and Geldenhuys told the ombud that Peens did not want to provide them with the information they required to determine her financial needs.
But Peens told the ombud this was a lie, and she had not known that the advisers should have assessed her capacity to take on the risk and her tolerance for the risk before selling her the investment.
Bam says the brokers appeared to be #x201C;oblivious#x201D; to their responsibilities in terms the code of conduct under the Financial Advisory and Intermediary Services (FAIS) Act. The code states that, before giving you advice, an adviser must:
#x2022; Take reasonable steps to obtain information about your financial situation, your experience with financial products and your investment goals;
#x2022; Analyse the information gathered; and
#x2022; Identify financial products that are appropriate given your risk profile and financial needs.
The ombud says getting you to sign a record of advice does not exempt an adviser from carrying out the investigation he or she is, by law, obliged to do.
She says Van der Walt and Geldenhuys did not demonstrate the lengths they went to get the required information from Peens, despite the fact that she made three separate investments into Realcor.
Bam says Peens#x2019;s complaint #x201C;bears striking similarity#x201D; to a complaint that came before her office in 2012 from a pensioner couple who Van der Walt and Huis van Oranje advised to invest in Realcor. In that case, Bam ordered Van der Walt and Huis van Oranje to repay R695#x202F;000 to the couple, and she says the record of advice was a replica of that given to Peens.
She says Peens believed she was investing in a hotel, but the hotel was incomplete, and it is not clear what steps Van der Walt and Geldenhuys took to explain how the incomplete hotel would generate the promised returns.
Bam says Van der Walt and Geldenhuys contravened the FAIS Act and its code of conduct, because they did not act in Peens#x2019;s interests when they recommended a highly risky investment in an unlisted property syndication, even though her circumstances indicated that the product was not suitable.
She says they failed to act honestly, fairly, with due care, skill and diligence, as required by the FAIS Act, when they recommended an inappropriate financial product.
Bam says Peens would not have invested in Realcor if she had known about the high-risk nature of the investment, its structure, funding model and possible mismanagement, as well as the commission Van der Walt and Geldenhuys earned.
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Equiteq has named David Jorgenson its CEO. He succeeds Paul Collins who will become Chairman of the board. Jorgenson joined Equiteq two years ago as Global Head of Mamp;A. Other changes at Equiteq include: Nicodemo Esposito was promoted to MD, Head of Mamp;A and Strategic Advisory North America, while Alex White has joined Equiteq as MD, Head of Mamp;A and Strategic Advisory Europe.
Strategic advisory and mergers and acquisitions firm to the consulting and IT services sector, Equiteq, has made several key appointments across its US and UK offices to broaden its global leadership team. Equiteq operates from offices in London, New York, Singapore and Sydney.
New York based David Jorgenson, who joined Equiteq two years ago as Global Head of Mamp;A, succeeds Paul Collins as CEO of Equiteq. Jorgenson has advised business owners, shareholders and C-level executives on every aspect of growth and value realization during his 20-year career as a technology consultant and investment banker. He is an expert in every aspect of corporate financial advisory from valuation, strategic financial advisory, public and private equity and debt financing, exit planning, Mamp;A strategy and execution.
Collins, who will take on a new role within Equiteq as Chairman of the Board of Directors, commented:
"Following expansion into North America and Asia-Pacific, Equiteq is closing a record number of deals and will benefit from a new team to take it forward. David is a very experienced advisor in the professional services and IT services space and is uniquely suited to lead Equiteq in its next phase of growth."
Jorgenson, has made two new appointments: Nicodemo Esposito, has been promoted to Managing Director, Head of Mamp;A and Strategic Advisory North America and Alex White, previously Head of Private Equity at BDO Corporate Finance, joins Equiteq as Managing Director, Head of Mamp;A and Strategic Advisory Europe. Jean-Louis Michelet will continue to lead the Asia Pacific region as Managing Director, Head of Mamp;A and Strategic Advisory Asia Pacific.
"Equiteq has developed a unique business model combining deep industry expertise with premier transaction capabilities. I am very excited about the opportunity to develop our global execution model and continue delivering outstanding outcomes for our clients."
About Equiteq (www.equiteq.com)
Equiteq is a consulting sector Mamp;A specialist. The company works with consulting firm shareholders, helping them to achieve their business objectives and exit strategies. Equiteq's services are designed to deliver great returns for its clients, by accelerating revenue, profit and equity value growth, and ultimately realizing that value in a trade sale or other type of liquidity event.
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FORT WORTH, Texas--(BUSINESS WIRE)--First Command Financial Services, Inc. announced today that it has won the Most Valuable Employers (MVE) for Military award by CivilianJobs.com.
The annual MVE recognition is intended to help military-experienced job seekers and veterans identify the top employers to target for civilian careers.
"We are honored to be recognized as a top employer of transitioning military and veterans," said Scott Spiker, CEO of First Command. "This ranking highlights a military-focused hiring strategy that dates back to our company's founding in 1958. Recruiting military veterans and spouses as the next generation of First Command Financial Advisors is an ideal way to meet the growing demand for face-to-face financial advisory services delivered in the communities where our service member clients live and work. Today's military families are facing unique personal finance challenges, and they are seeking the help of knowledgeable and trustworthy financial advisors to coach them in the pursuit of long-term financial security."
First Command employs nearly 500 financial advisors, about 71 percent of whom come from the ranks of veterans and military spouses.
"I congratulate the employers recognized as MVEs today and further thank all of them for their commitment to our country's veterans and military personnel," said Tim Best, CEO, Bradley-Morris, Inc., parent company of CivilianJobs.com. "This year's list of Most Valuable Employers for Military winners is a testament to the variety of companies and industries that make it an annual goal to hire transitioning military and veterans. These companies truly embrace and value the level of talent that is ingrained in each military-experienced job seeker."
The 2016 Most Valuable Employers (MVE) for Military was open to all US-based companies. The winners were selected based on surveys in which employers outlined their recruiting, training and retention plans that best serve military service members and veterans. In addition to being recognized in the May issue of Military Transition News, CivilianJobs.com's worldwide military base newspaper, winning employers will also be displayed on the CivilianJobs.com website.
About First Command
First Command Financial Services and its subsidiaries, including First Command Bank and First Command Financial Planning, assist American families in their efforts to build wealth, reduce debt and pursue their lifetime financial goals and dreams--focusing on consumer behavior as the first and most powerful determinant of results. Through knowledgeable advice and coaching of the financial behaviors conducive to success, First Command Financial Advisors have built trustworthy, lasting relationships with hundreds of thousands of client families since 1958.
The CivilianJobs.com Most Valuable Employers (MVE) for Military serves to help military-experienced job seekers identify the top employers to target for civilian careers. MVEs are selected annually based on those employers whose recruiting, training and retention plans best serve military service members and veterans. The MVE recognition is produced by CivilianJobs.com, where Americas military connects with civilian careers. CivilianJobs.com, with parent company Bradley-Morris, Inc. (BMI), the largest military-focused recruiting firm in the US, together deliver the largest military-to-civilian footprint available to companies seeking to recruit and hire from the military talent pool. BMI is based in metro-Atlanta, Georgia.
About Military Transition News (MTN)
Published since 2005, Military Transition News is a bi-monthly multi-media publication (print / email / web) featuring practical information for job seekers, including resume and interviewing tips, transition planning and strategy recommendations, company profiles, and advice from transition experts. MTN is distributed to military bases worldwide via military transition classes, through Military Transition Offices (TAP and ACAP), military hospitals, USO centers and email distribution.
First Command Financial Services, Inc., is the parent of First Command Financial Planning, Inc. (Member SIPC, FINRA), First Command Advisory Services, Inc., First Command Insurance Services, Inc. and First Command Bank. Financial planning services and investment products, including securities, are offered by First Command Financial Planning, Inc. , a broker-dealer. Financial planning and investment advisory services are offered by First Command Advisory Services, Inc., an investment adviser. Insurance products and services are offered by First Command Insurance Services, Inc., in all states except Montana, where as required by law, insurance products and services are offered by First Command Financial Services, Inc. (a separate Montana domestic corporation). Banking products and services are offered by First Command Bank. In certain states, as required by law, First Command Insurance Services, Inc. does business as a separate domestic corporation. Securities products are not FDIC insured, have no bank guarantee and may lose value. A financial plan, by itself, cannot assure that retirement or other financial goals will be met. First Command Financial Services, Inc. and its related entities are not affiliated with, authorized to sell or represent on behalf of or otherwise endorsed by any federal employee benefits programs referenced, by the US government, or the US armed forces.
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TA Associates said May 23 it closed an investment in 10bis. Financial terms weren't announced. Tel Aviv-based 10bis is a B2B and B2C online food ordering marketplace and payment platform. Goldfarb Seligman served as legal counsel and NOAH Advisors provided financial advisory services to 10bis. Primes, Shiloh, Givon, Meir provided legal counsel services to TA Associates.
TA Associates Announces Investment in 10bis
BOSTON, May 23, 2016 - TA Associates, a leading global growth private equity firm, today announced it has completed an investment in 10bis, a leading B2B and B2C online food ordering marketplace and payment platform in Israel. Financial terms of the transaction were not disclosed.
In the B2B market in Israel, 10bis operates a leading online food marketplace that allows businesses to provide employee meal benefits programs. The 10bis platform is integrated into a company's human resources and accounting systems, with employees' allowances made available through a dedicated 10bis account. Employees can make restaurant purchases via the 10bis mobile app or website, or by using a 10bis card in person at participating restaurants. Individuals also can use the 10bis platform to order personal meals from the comfort of their home. 10bis clients include both leading Israeli companies and large multinational corporations. In 2015, 10bis entered the B2C market with the launch of its direct-to-consumer offering. The rapidly growing platform provides quick and easy access to thousands of restaurant menus, reviews and ratings, while offering discounts, special promotions and other benefits. 10bis processes more than one million orders per month across a network of more than 3,500 restaurants in 20 cities in Israel. Founded in 2000, 10bis is headquartered in Tel Aviv.
"With its highly scalable, easy-to-use, multi-channel technology platform, 10bis has become the leading B2B and B2C food marketplace and payment provider in Israel," said Naveen A. Wadhera, a Managing Director at TA Associates who will join the 10bis Board of Directors. "10bis is the only business of its type serving both the corporate and personal end markets, and is highly regarded by customers and restaurants alike. We are very pleased to partner with the dynamic and talented 10bis management team and to collaborate on the company's continued profitable growth."
"We are delighted to welcome TA Associates to our company and to our Board, in what we anticipate will be a significant new chapter in the evolution of 10bis," said Tomer Fefer, Co-CEO, 10bis. "We will continue to focus on adding new clients and restaurants to our platform, as well as making further inroads into the consumer market. With the assistance of TA, our first institutional investor, we plan to continue our growth, including hiring additional staff, and to increase the breadth of our offering."
10bis values the Israeli B2B food ordering market at approximately $1.8 billion, and the B2C ordering market, largely consisting of transactions by phone, at $2.3 billion. Statista estimates annual restaurant spending in Israel at $8 billion, and predicts food and drink-related ecommerce will see a robust 19.3% compound annual growth rate from 2015 to 2020.
"While 10bis has become a leader in the B2B food ordering market, a significant portion of the addressable B2B market has yet to be captured," said Nurit Shaked, Co-CEO, 10bis. "In addition, while Israel has a well-established meal ordering culture, only a small percentage of B2C activity is today conducted online. Given our proven technology and broad and diverse restaurant network, we believe 10bis is well positioned for continued meaningful B2B growth and to capture a significant portion of the burgeoning B2C online ordering market."
Goldfarb Seligman served as legal counsel and NOAH Advisors provided financial advisory services to 10bis. Primes, Shiloh, Givon, Meir provided legal counsel services to TA Associates.
10bis is a leader in online and mobile food ordering from restaurants in Israel. The company’s cutting-edge technology allows customers to easily eat at or order from more than 3,500 restaurants. 10bis serves both private customers and thousands of corporations in Israel, representing hundreds of thousands of employees. 10bis was founded in 2000 and is headquartered in Tel Aviv.
About TA Associates
TA Associates is one of the largest and most experienced global growth private equity firms. The firm has invested in more than 460 companies around the world and has raised $24 billion in capital. With offices in Boston, Menlo Park, London, Mumbai and Hong Kong, TA Associates leads buyouts and minority recapitalizations of profitable growth companies in the consumer, business services, financial services, healthcare and technology industries. More information about TA Associates can be found at www.ta.com.