Illustration: Colin Daniel

THE financial advice ombud, Noluntu Bam, has issued another determination against an adviser who put clients into a Sharemax property syndication.

She ordered Nu Era Insurance Brokers and its key individual, Anesh Maharaj, to repay a retired couple, Mr and Mrs H, the R600 000 they invested in the doomed Villa retail park in Pretoria, which currently stands abandoned, half-complete.

On the advice of Maharaj, the couple each invested R300 000 in the development in an agreement that they would receive 12.5% interest until March 2011. The rate would then drop to 11% and was guaranteed until February 2012. 

In August 2010, their income suddenly dried up, at which point they complained to the ombud.

Bam found, as in other property syndication cases, that Maharaj had transgressed the code of conduct under the Financial Advisory and Intermediary Services Act by incorrectly assessing the couple’s risk profile and incorrectly gauging the inherent risk of the investment.