Ex-Olympian financial advisor disappears – so does clients money

Ex-Olympian financial advisor disappears – so does clients money

Ex-Olympian financial advisor disappears – so does clients money Harold Backer, 52, is an advisor and former Olympic rower from Victoria, British Columbia. He has been missing since last Tuesday after he confessed to clients he had lost their money.
 
Clients and friends are making claims they believe the advisor may have lost their money, admitted to it and then fled. He leaves behind his own wife who hasn’t seen him since he set off on a bike ride last Tuesday.
 
At the start of what appears to be a very long ride, it is thought that a man matching Backer’s description was captured on surveillance footage. Port Angeles police said they were almost certain the man riding a bicycle through the town on the footage was Backer. It has since been reported that police in Washington believe a missing Victoria man had entered the state via a ferry a week ago.
 
Before disappearing Backer had written letters to several of his clients apologising for having lost some of their funds. In a letter obtained by The Times Colonist, Backer expresses deep regrets for his poor decision-making that ultimately cost his friends their savings. He cited the crash of 1999 as the main catalyst for his losses and claims to have been trying to make up for them since.
 
Backer’s former rowing coach, Boris Klavora, is among one of those unlucky clients and told CTV News that he believes much of his own investments, intended for retirement, have now vanished.
 
Backer rowed for Canada in three Olympic tournaments throughout the eighties and nineties. According to his LinkedIn profile, he began Financial Backer Corp in 1992 but is also a registered Investia mutual fund dealer. 
 
Up until May of this year he was also a rowing coach at Brentwood College School.

Investia said in a statement that it currently “has no reason to believe that there has been any wrongdoing on the part of the representative. The company takes this situation very seriously and is conducting a full investigation into Mr. Backer’s professional activities with Investia.”

Police are said to be looking at all circumstances surrounding his disappearance and are asking anyone who sees him or knows of Backer’s whereabouts to call 250-995-7654.
 
 
2 Comments
  • Kathy Waite Your Net Worth Manager 2015-11-13 11:04:43 AM
    So he hasn't " disappeared" with their money he has lost it in the market. I find this really sad and an indictment of the industry. He was a professional sportsman and they are encouraged to use their reputation / fame to get into the business for prospecting purposes ( ahem a certain local football team that wears green ) but may not have the academic background to really manage money. Advisors buy into the PR hype and marketing of active funds and managers reputation ( a cult of personality abounds ) that don't beat the market and then take the rap for their choices. Was he taught to " plan" or just " sell" and its clear he targeted friends and family ....sure sounds like "project 100" the entry criteria for many career shops. This guy is probably having a nervous breakdown and needs support before its a suicide. His compliance department have failed if they let him get to this. Feel for his clients but assuming its not a ponzi scheme they have been getting statements from his dealer since 1999 this didn't happen over night .
    I also think being paid on commission encourages reps to put people 100% in the market. If you are paid for your time and advice you can tell people to pay down debt , keep a cash position etc none of that makes commission or hits a sales target though with most firms.
    In the 2008 correction there is a famous case in saskatchewan guy who had done the same , all family and friends in his firms own brand product and he ended up divorced and broke, handed his laptop in and walked away. Reps need to know how to weather the storms for their clients and themselves.
    Post a reply
  • Debbie 2015-11-16 10:02:44 PM
    Kathy makes a very important point when she says "I also think being paid on commission encourages reps to put people 100% in the market. If you are paid for your time and advice you can tell people to pay down debt , keep a cash position etc none of that makes commission or hits a sales target though with most firms." This is exactly why this industry needs an overhaul.
    Post a reply