Chris Fishwick, who has quit as head of Global Closed End Funds at AAM with a £350,000 pay-off after being hounded by the Press, did however apologise under cross-examination by MPs on the Commons Treasury Committee.
Fishwick told them he was ‘very, very sorry for people who have lost money’, but claimed he had lost his investments in the funds too and warned up to 35 similar trusts could still go to the wall as well.
Earlier the committee heard Stephen Alexander, a partner in City solicitors Class Law, representing victims, threaten to sue auditors as well as fund management directors, independent financial advisers, brokers and anyone else from whom he believed he could extract compensation for negligence.
Fishwick and other AAM directors were grilled by MPs for two hours over the cause of the collapse of the trusts and denied both that cross-investment between trusts was to blame or that there were any ‘magic circle’ agreements between fund managers to invest in each other’s trusts to push up their price.
Fishwick admitted, however, that gearing was a major contributory cause.
But he and other directors consistently blamed the prolonged collapse of the share market for their troubles – pointing out that its three-year duration was longer than any since the 1930s.
He insisted the products had appeared to offer low or minimal risk. ‘There was no-one saying any different at that time. It has been proved to be wrong,’ Fishwick said.
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