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Fisher complains about Money Managers

By Chris Hutching

Friday 1st August 2003

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Niche New Zealand equities fund manager Carmel Fisher believes Money Managers franchise manager Alan Anderson misrepresented her company on Radio Pacific's The Money Show a couple of weeks ago and is complaining to the Advertising Standards Complaint Board about his comments.

"I don't want to be seen as bashing someone but it's hard to build investor confidence right now and this was coming from someone within the industry whom I believe said some things that were inaccurate and inappropriate," she said.

Her company, Fisher Funds Management and its $109 million NZ Growth Fund launched in 1998 have been strong performers until recently, prompting a reweighting of the portfolio. This included dumping disappointing stocks such as Baycorp Advantage in favour of Infratil and Turners & Growers.

The unfavourable comments were allegedly made in response to a caller asking about persevering with her investment in Fisher Funds. Mr Anderson queried the success of the fund and advised the caller to use New Zealand Funds ­ the same manager used by Money Managers.

While the Fisher Funds' performance has dipped over the past 12 months it has still provided some of the best returns over a three-year period at 8.28%, giving it second place for that time period in rankings by FundSource.

According to Fisher's website, since inception until June 30, 2003 the fund has posted an after tax and fees absolute return of 99.37% against 43.85% for the NZSE40 Gross Index. NZ Funds' performance is difficult to compare because it does not make its findings available to research houses such as FundSource.

Earlier this year the complaint board ruled Money Managers' radio show is an ad rather than an editorial programme and therefore any complaints come under its jurisdiction rather than the Broadcasting Standards Authority.

* Meanwhile, the High Court and Court of Appeal have awarded Auckland financial planners Roger Moses and Gary Stevens costs after they successfully defended themselves against criminal charges related to alleged breaches of the Securities Act and Securities Act (Contributory Mortgage) Regulations. The charges were laid in the Auckland District Court by the registrar of companies in early 2001 after irregularities were uncovered in the management of Reeves Moses MortgageCare, a contributory mortgage broker of which they were directors.

The High Court awarded them $20,000 while the Court of Appeal has awarded $6000 plus other costs they incurred in addition to travel and accommodation costs of their lawyer. A ruling is also pending from the District Court on an application for costs.

The District Court dismissed most charges early in the proceedings and later acquitted the pair on all the remaining charges. The District Court rulings were subsequently upheld by the High Court and then the Court of Appeal.

The former manager of the Reeves Moses MortgageCare mortgage book, Peter van Nieuwkoop, was subsequently convicted on criminal charges.

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