5 April 2012

Who protects the investors?

When reading that the justice authorities in the Swiss canton of Ticino have completed their investigation into the bankruptcy of Sogevalor, a financial advisory firm that went out of business in 2004 (!) one has to ask who - if anyone - is really protecting investors from fraud and malpractice. Those responsible for Sogevalor's demise - and the alleged fraud that cost investors up to Sfr 130 million - have not even been charged and may well escape any formal prosecution. Even under most optimistic assumptions a court case could be a protracted procedure - especially when a lengthy appeal process is adopted. By that time quite a few of the investors - and maybe even those eventually found responsible - may no longer be in this world. The lesson from this and similar cases should be: BUYER BEWARE! Investors should only part with their money after careful investigation. A clear separation of the safekeepking (custodial) function and the investment advisory role would be the optimal solution we recommend.