Local investment company fined $70000

A local investment company has been ordered to pay $70,000 in fines and penalties for failing to properly supervise one of its past advisers.

Professional Investments, which has been headquartered in Kingston since 1984 and has five other locations between Belleville and Ottawa, faces the penalties from the Mutual Fund Dealers Association of Canada (MFDA). The settlement hearing was released publicly on Friday. It states Professional Investments failed to supervise Patrick Caicco, who admitted in a statement of agreed facts and to the Whig-Standard to engaging in securities outside of a MFDA member.

Between May 12, 2009, and March 12, 2010, Caicco was registered as a mutual fund salesperson with Professional Investments based in Ottawa. Without initially notifying or asking permission from the local company, Caicco incorporated Advantage Wealth Building Strategies Inc. to carry out wealth coaching and wealth planning services, reads a November 2015 MFDA case summary.

Caicco said on Thursday that, at the time, he was moving out of the mutual fund game and into alternative investments. One of those investments was The Skyline Real Estate Investment Trust, between March 2008 and May 2010. Caicco referred 21 people, four of whom were clients of Professional investments, to invest a combined $1,343,449. Caicco collected one per cent in referral fees from Skyline. Caicco said that the Skyline investment was a success and that some of his clients have doubled their investments.

Things went south in 2009 when Caicco started to work with the Assaly Group. Caicco recommended that 21 people, including five Professional Investments clients, invest a combined $1,838,000 in the Assaly Groups Natures Walk Gated Community and one person to invest $171,000 in Villa Montague. Natures Walk was going to be a gated community and golf course in North Grenville while Villa Montague was a real estate investment pool to redevelop an existing retirement residence located in Smith Falls.

Investors were initially receiving returns on this investments but they suddenly stopped in February 2011. Suing The Assaly Group, the court process revealed the two projects were hopelessly insolvent and in stages of abandonment. The settlement from MFDA says there is no reasonable prospect that investors will recover the full amount of their investments.

For his actions, Caicco was banned from the MFDA and from ever working in the mutual fund business. He was also fined $50,000 and ordered to pay $5,000 in proceedings costs. Caicco said on Thursday he likely wont pay the penalties.

I havent paid the fine and probably never will because I dont have the money to pay it, Caicco said.

While Caicco didnt invest in the Assaly ventures and made three per cent in referral fees, he said he went bankrupt going after The Assaly Group.

I spent a whole year trying to fight Assaly with the lawyers, because I wanted to get them, so I didnt work for a year, lost probably $100,000 of income, and I get bankrupt and I lost all my assets, Caicco said. If [Assaly] hadnt defaulted, MFDA wouldnt have found out and I wouldnt have had to go bankrupt and my clients wouldnt have lost money.

His default set a cascading effect right across the board.

Caicco said one of the advisers at Professional Investments knew he was working in a grey area because he was transferring his mutual fund clients to him. MFDA and Professional Investments agree in the settlement that when they found out about Caiccos actions, they didnt initially report it to the MFDA. Caicco said Professional Investments had eventually suggested that he resign from the company.

Because Professional Investments wasnt adequately supervising Caicco and it failed to report to the MFDA that Caicco was working outside its domain, panelists Martin Friedland and Guenther Kleberg fined Professional Investments $60,000 and $10,000 in proceedings costs.

This is not the first time Professional Investments has been penalized by the MFDA. In December 2008, the company entered a settlement with MFDA that stated it did not establish, implement and maintain two-tier compliance structure. A compliance structure ensures investments are right for the individual investor. Investments must be approved by a manager and the companys head office.

Professional Investments was fined $10,000, was ordered to pay the $2,500 for the costs of the MFDA disciplinary proceedings, and was ordered to retain KPMG Inc. to help set up and monitor the compliance structure.

Caicco now works in mortgage investments with FMP Mortgage Investments Inc. but would like to expand further into the food services industry.

scrosier@postmedia.com

Twitter.com/StephattheWhig

Albany Realtors to collect Toys for Tots

Miliner graduated magna cum laude from VSU in 2006 with a bachelor’s degree in early childhood education. Representing Valdosta, she was crowned Miss Georgia in 2006 and went on to place as second runner-up in the 2007 Miss America pageant. She was named Miss Georgia USA later that year, making her the first Georgian to hold both the Miss America and Miss USA state titles.

Miliner currently works as an instructional coach at Miller Elementary School in Warner Robins.

“Amanda is an exemplary teacher and role model for thousands of students,” said Dr. Brian L. Gerber, VSU’s interim provost and vice president for Academic Affairs. “We are proud to welcome her back to her alma mater. We know that she will be an inspiration to our graduates. Clearly, she is an example of why VSU is the right choice for those seeking to make a positive and lasting impact on the lives of others.”

Approximately 1,400 undergraduate and graduate students will be recognized during Valdosta State’s 222nd commencement ceremonies on Dec. 9 and 10.

Attorney General offers app to help avoid scams

ATLANTA – Attorney General Chris Carr has announced the release of Basic Training, a free mobile app designed to help Georgia-based military service members, veterans and their families be more informed consumers and avoid scams and predatory business techniques.

“Unscrupulous businesses consistently use deceptive practices to take advantage of military service members, veterans and their families,” said Attorney General Chris Carr. “That is something the Georgia Attorney General’s Office will not tolerate. As a proactive measure through our Consumer Protection Unit, we are very pleased to offer the Basic Training app, which aims to support Georgia’s military community and equip them with the educational tools they need to be safe and smart with their personal information.”

The Basic Training app guides users through key consumer and financial issues, including buying a car; creating a budget and saving for a goal; recognizing and avoiding scams, fraud and deceptive practices; lowering the risk of identity theft and knowing what to do if your identity is stolen; understanding credit reports, credit scores and how to use credit cards wisely; understanding your protections under the Military Lending Act; understanding the true cost of payday loans and title pawns; improving credit and managing debt, and knowing what debt collectors can and cannot do under the law.

Basic Training was created through the efforts of the Georgia Attorney General’s Consumer Protection Unit and Georgia Watch. It is available in the app stores now and can also be downloaded directly by visiting www.consumer.ga.gov/app.

Driver Services gets grant funding for upgrades

ATLANTA — Georgia Department of Driver Services was recently awarded grant funding totalling $376,961 from the Governor’s Office of Highway Safety for ongoing support of the State of Georgia Electronic Conviction Processing System. GECPS provides a secure, electronic transmission of conviction data from Georgia courts to meet a federally mandated timeframe for posting convictions to individual driving records within 10 days of adjudication.

“This continued funding from GOHS allows us to maintain DDS’ Court Outreach efforts,” said Commissioner Bert Brantley. “The training and support DDS provides to nearly 900 courts statewide is crucial to ensuing the timeliness and accuracy of conviction data being posted to a driver’s driving record,” said Commissioner Brantley.

GECPS requires each court to submit convictions in a standard format, and then correct and resubmit any convictions containing errors. To date 887 courts (up from 869 when the project began earlier this year) have adopted the GECPS process, which is a cost-saving application for the State and DDS customers.

This grant will allow DDS to ensure that these courts have an understanding of the functionality of GECPS and help the remaining courts who file paper citations convert over to the electronic system.

For complete driver services information, including the option to view personal driving history and check for points, visit the DDS website at www.dds.ga.gov.

Personal finance checklist at age 50

In a youth-oriented culture, it is easy to feel a little over the hill by the time you turn 50. When it comes to building wealth though, your 50s are the prime of your life – a period when you have a chance to emerge from debt, enjoy your peak earning years and start to see your investments make a serious contribution to your net worth.

To take advantage of this crucial phase of your financial life, it is important to understand some key factors that can help you make the most of your 50s.

Personal finance checklist at age 50

As you look over your financial situation once you turn 50, here are some things you should attend to:

1. Shift more heavily from borrowing to saving

Early in your career, accumulated savings are likely to be modest and it seems you are taking out one loan after another: student loans, car loans, home mortgages, etc. By the time you reach age 50 though, you should have greatly reduced your debt burden. In its place, you should see a growing portfolio of retirement assets. This is the type of trend that can feed on itself: the more you retire your debt, the more of your monthly budget can go to savings rather than loan payments.

2. Estimate your Social Security benefits

The US Social Security Administration will provide you with a free projection of your retirement benefits based on your career earnings so far. While this will remain subject to change based on your subsequent earnings, by age 50 you should have enough of a track record to get a sense of what contribution Social Security will make to your retirement income. This projection can also help you start to think seriously about the pros and cons of retiring early or working longer to achieve the maximum annual benefit.

3. Reassess your retirement goals

In addition to Social Security, look at your other retirement savings and see how much income they project to provide. Knowing where you stand will help you make more concrete plans about the future, including when to retire and what kind of lifestyle to expect.

4. Use catch-up retirement saving opportunities

Looking at your projected Social Security benefits and your savings accounts relative to your goals may tell you that you have some catching up to do. Fortunately, the government gives you some catch-up opportunities in the form off additional tax-deferred retirement contributions to 401(k) or individual retirement account (IRA) plans that you can make once you turn 50. Use this as an incentive to start making extra contributions.

5. Keep your asset allocation aggressive

People often feel their investments should get more conservative as they get older, but age 50 is too soon to throttle back to a less growth-oriented asset allocation. At that age, you are probably still more than a decade away from retirement, and still have an investment time horizon of some 30 or so years stretched out ahead of you. Plus, if you are contributing heavily to your retirement plans, this positive cash flow will help smooth out some of the volatility from growth investments.

6. Update your will

If you first made a will when you started your family, you might find things are radically different by the time you turn 50. Your kids may be on the verge of adulthood and your net worth may be substantially greater, so it is a good time to take a fresh look at what provisions youve made for your survivors.

7. Dont be shy about discounts

Turning 50 makes you eligible for AARP membership. Dont let that make you feel old – just look at the discounts available, and think of it as an advantage youve earned.

8. Take advantage of senior checking accounts

Some banks offer checking accounts for older customers that have no monthly fees. Eligibility is often set at age 50, and with free checking getting harder to find these days, signing up for one of these accounts can be another advantage of getting older.

9. Survey your career opportunities

Since these can be your peak earnings years, you should assess whether your current employer is the best place to capitalize on those years, or whether you could do better somewhere else. To think more defensively, you should also take an honest look at whether your job skills need freshening up so your employer does not view you as out of date.

With proper attention to your finances, this could be your greatest decade for wealth building. After all, it is too late for procrastination and too early for slowing down. This is prime time.

More form MoneyRates.com:

Personal finance checklist for age 40

Turning 30? See this personal finance checklist

Over 40 with no retirement savings? Take these 6 steps