Bedford investment guru in hot water
CONCORD — State authorities are seeking $2.4 million in restitution from a Bedford investment adviser who allegedly drew elderly customers into highly risky and confusing investments that lost money.
A news release from the New Hampshire Bureau of Securities Regulation said Nicholas B. Rowe and his company, Focus Capital Wealth Management of Bedford, sold investment vehicles called inverse and leveraged exchange traded funds, or ETFs, that “seek profits two times or even three times the movement in the stock market.”
Rowe could not be reached for comment Thursday evening.
According to Focus Capital's website, the company uses inverse trading to hedge against losses in turbulent market conditions.
“We may use inverse techniques or stops on certain positions in an effort to protect the portfolio during turbulent times. As a result of these protective strategies the market exposure may be reduced until such time as we feel it prudent to return to the risk policy of the client. These techniques may help to protect a portfolio during times of crisis,” the Focus Capital website said.
The Bureau is looking to suspend Rowe's investment license and seek a permanent cease-and-desist order, as well as an administrative fine, the news release said.
“Given that many of these customers were in retirement and do not have the ability to recoup losses that younger individuals might, these customers were particularly vulnerable to the high risks of this trading strategy,” Bureau Enforcement Deputy Director Jeff Spill said in a statement.
While the investments seek to double or triple profits, “correspondingly, when the ETF loses value, the loss in value in the customer account is also compounded over time which can result in quick and substantial decreases in customer account values,” the release said. “Here, the customers lost hundreds of thousands in account value between 2008 and 2010.”
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