Finally MFSA have appointed an International firm of accountants and business advisors, Mazars, to review client files and establish if the Bank of Valletta (BOV) had performed proper due diligence to ensure that investors in the Property Fund were eligible to invest therein.
However, Finco Treasury Management Ltd. (FINCO), the company that has steadfastly represented investors in the Fund, described the methodology announced by the MFSA as ‘vague and incorrect’.
Mr. Bonello, representing the investors said ‘’that it ought to be emphasised that very often BOV Client Fact Finds put together investments held by one spouse only with investments held by the other spouse only, and yet again with investments held jointly with the other spouse, which is not in line with the Experienced Investor definition requirements’
Mazars will be reviewing BOV client files and client fact finds but Finco insist that “such Fact Finds merely show the market value of all investments held as at the date of the Fact Find. Value of investments as of the date of the Client Fact Find is altogether different from the value of eligible investment transactions carried out in the previous five years.”
After such a lengthy wait, it is hoped that the correct terms of reference are put in place to ensure a just and fair exercise that will lead to due compensation to the investors. Finco have expressed their concern that as a result of the wrong methodology, many investors may be denied their due compensation even though a correct method of calculating eligible investment transactions would yield below US$50,000.
It appears from Finco’s Press Release that Finco had already relayed their concerns to MFSA back in June and yet the MFSA have chosen to ignore these representations again in MFSA’s Media Release of the 4th September. MFSA should not attempt to abuse their statutory immunity from legal action, especially since this does not apply in circumstances of bad faith.
It is very unfortunate to even contemplate that a public authority entrusted with the protection of investors and one that should set the standards in corporate governance should harbour bad faith. The continued lack of reply to the accusations of Evarist Bartolo that the MFSA’s Chairman and Director General are betraying the mission of MFSA by allowing misleading Prospectuses in place increases the public’s distrust in the same Chairman and Director General and the increased conviction that such accusations are indeed founded.
The difference between perseverance and obstinacy is that one comes from a strong will, and the other from a strong won't. The campaign carried out in favour of investors is a strong desire to obtain justice for the many that had trusted the bank with their savings. It should not be marred by an obstinate no, to try and justify the Bank’s stand throughout this saga.