South Africa’s FSB Assists Mauritius, Guernsey Regulatory ProbeNeo Khanyile and Renee Bonorchis
South Africa’s Financial Services Board said it’s helping regulators in Mauritius and Guernsey investigate the affairs of Cobus Kellermann, a Cape Town-based money manager.
“The regulators in the foreign jurisdictions have asked us to assist them in tracking particular investments” made into South Africa, Caroline da Silva, the deputy executive officer of the Pretoria-based regulator, said by phone on Friday. “We haven’t received the final inspection report yet so we don’t even know the details. We would look and see where they are involved with local investment schemes. That’s where our jurisdiction starts and ends.”
The FSB’s announcement comes after OffshoreAlert, a Miami-based website, reported on March 17 that Kellermann is allegedly involved in irregularities tied to Belvedere Management Ltd., a fund administrator based in Ebene, Mauritius. Kellermann, a South African, and David Cosgrove are equal partners in Stonewood Holdings Ltd., Belvedere’s controlling shareholder. Regulatory actions are being taken worldwide regarding Belvedere, the Financial Service Commission in Mauritius said on Friday, citing the OffshoreAlert article.
Kellermann and Cosgrove deny any wrongdoing, Johan Theron, their lawyer, said by phone from Cape Town on Friday. “We will cooperate fully with the relevant authorities if necessary,” he said in an e-mailed response to questions.
Kellermann has received a letter from the Guernsey Financial Services Commission informing him of an inquiry and is prohibited from revealing anything about the investigation, Theron said in the e-mail. Dale Holmes, a spokesman at the Guernsey regulator, wasn’t immediately reachable as he was out of the office and didn’t respond to an e-mailed request for comment. Cindy Bernardotto, a regulatory assistant, didn’t immediately respond to an e-mailed request for comment.
The FSC in Mauritius last week revoked the license of two funds listed as being under Kellermann’s management and administered by Belvedere. Four Elements PCC and Lancelot Global PCC were placed into the care of PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP, the Ebene-based regulator said on March 24.
Belvedere won’t appeal the decision, Theron said.
“In the course of a routine visit, when explaining how Lancelot and Four Elements operated, the authorities raised concerns that they would not be able to trace all the underlying beneficial owners/investors in the funds,” he said. The FSC wasn’t satisfied with certificates from other institutions verifying the beneficial owners and wanted to find out who they were themselves, which Belvedere didn’t find practical, Theron said.
The FSC banned the funds from accepting new business after they failed to address shortcomings in their operations, the Mauritius regulator said in a statement on its website on Friday. “The FSC Mauritius reiterates that it is closely monitoring the matter and will take necessary measures to safeguard the good repute of the jurisdiction and the interest of the public,” it said.
The FSB hasn’t received any complaints from South African investors regarding Kellermann and there isn’t local money at risk, the regulator’s Da Silva said.
“In assisting with the inquiries of the international regulators, we’ve been engaging Mr Kellermann,” she said. “In discussing things with Mr Kellermann, we will also look at the companies locally in which he’s involved.”
Kellermann is tied to five authorized South African financial-service companies, including Contego, RSA Multi Asset Management (Pty) Ltd., Multivest Financial Planning (Pty) Ltd. and Pensionation Investments SA (Pty) Ltd., which are all regulated, the FSB said in a statement on its website Thursday.
“What we need to do is wait and see what they outcome of the international regulators’ inspection is,” Da Silva said.