Financial adviser's status suspended

Barry Kloogh
Barry Kloogh
Dunedin financial adviser Barry Kloogh has had his status as an authorised financial adviser suspended for three months.

Mr Kloogh is being investigated by the Serious Fraud Office and the Financial Markets Authority, but no charges have been laid against him.

His Dunedin office and other locations around the city were searched by investigators in May, and investors were told the authority was working to secure and preserve client funds.

Following the raids, few details have been disclosed by either the SFO or the authority, which have said to comment further could compromise the integrity of their investigation.

By law a firm or individual giving financial advice needs to be licensed by the Authority, and registered.

Mr Kloogh is the sole adviser listed as being suspended on the Financial Service Providers Register; two others have had their status terminated.

Mr Kloogh's suspension began on June 7, and expires on September 5.

To suspend an adviser, the FMA must first write to them advising of the proposed suspension, and allow the adviser a right of reply.

Advisers are required to abide by a code of conduct, which sets minimum standards of ethical behaviour, conduct and client care, competence, knowledge and skills.

It is not known how many people are affected by the investigation into Mr Kloogh, but the Otago Daily Times has been contacted by several anxious investors, and has also spoken to lawyers representing multiple interested parties.

Staff at Mr Kloogh's company, Breathe Financial, posted on the company website that they were not involved with the part of the company being investigated, and that they intended to stand with investors in the weeks ahead.

That website account has now been deactivated.

Meanwhile, hope has been offered for investors with money managed by Mr Kloogh.

At least some funds have been channelled through a firm called Consilium, which was a conduit through which money was invested in a product offered by another firm.

One investor who contacted the Otago Daily Times said their money had been held in trust, and they had been given the option of transferring to another financial adviser, or withdrawing funds.

A Consilium spokeswoman said the firm had assisted investors who had contacted it where it could.

"As there is an ongoing SFO investigation, it would be inappropriate for us to make any further comments."

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