Benjamin Robertson of the South China Morning Post has shone a spotlight on yet another investment fund gone bad:
Porton Capital, like LM and many other collapsed funds, paid excessively large, undisclosed commissions to the financial advisers who helped distribute it.
Harvey Boulter, the CEO of Porton Capital, admitted that commissions ranged from 15 to 20%. However, like LM CEO Peter Drake, he denies that this was excessive.
Robertson’s article quotes an expert on funds like Porton who claims that a 20% commission is “very high” and that commissions normally do not exceed 5%.
Even more disturbing than the 20% commission is the fact that one investor apparently lost 90% of his investment through extra hidden charges. Porton Capital was supposed to use the investor’s money to purchase shares in a company called Enigma. However, 90% of the investor’s money disappeared. According to the article:
In 2006, an earlier Enigma investor paid 26 pence each for the shares. Company accounts show 365.3 million shares were issued at that time, raising £10.6 million (HK$124 million). The issue prices ranged from 2.1 to 4.3 pence.
It is not clear where the remaining 90 per cent of the client’s money went.
One of the Porton Capital victims, David Lewnes, was brave enough to go on the record to talk about his story. He apparently lost 50% of his investment through hidden charges. Upon speaking to the South China Morning Post, Lewnes received legal threats from Porton CEO, Harvey Boulter, who wanted to silence him.
Lewnes says he was sold Porton Capital through a Tokyo-based adviser.
As readers of Martyn Terpilowski’s LM Emails may recall, a Tokyo-based adviser named Fraser Jamieson was flogging both Porton Capital and the LM funds, despite receiving repeated warnings from Terpilowksi that both funds were “dodgy”.
In LM Email #16, Jamieson angrily told Terpilowski to “fuck off” and “spread his doom elsewhere.”
Jamieson’s clients have now suffered catastrophic losses, yet Jamieson has kept his massive commissions and is still doing business. He currently works at a financial advisory firm in Singapore called AAM and is apparently doing well.