Former F-Squared Investments CEO Convicted of Fraud

As SEC ‘proved at trial,’ Howard Present perpetuated F-Squared’s false and misleading claims through statements and ads, SEC’s Peikin says

A jury has found Howard Present, co-founder and former CEO of F-Squared Investments, guilty of defrauding investors.

Stephanie Avakian, co-director of the Securities and Exchange Commission's Enforcement Division, said in a Friday statement that the agency was “very pleased with the jury’s verdict finding Mr. Present liable for defrauding investors.”

As the securities regulator “proved at trial, Mr. Present perpetuated F-Squared’s admittedly false and misleading claims through statements and advertisements made to the investing public,” added Steven Peikin, co-director of the SEC’s enforcement division, in the statement.

F-Squared Investments agreed in 2014 to pay $35 million and admit wrongdoing to settle charges that it defrauded investors through false performance advertising about its flagship product, according to a Dec. 22 SEC announcement.

The SEC also charged Present separately with making false and misleading statements to investors as the public face of F-Squared.

Julie Riewe, co-chief of the SEC Enforcement Division’s Asset Management Unit, said in a statement at the time that the SEC alleged “that not only did F-Squared and Present attract clients to this investment strategy by touting a track record they presented as real when it was merely hypothetical, but the hypothetical calculations also were substantially inflated.”

In August of 2016, the SEC announced penalties against 13 investment advisory firms found to have violated securities laws by spreading the false claims made by an investment management firm about its flagship product.

The SEC said that the firms accepted and negligently relied upon claims by F-Squared that its AlphaSector strategy for investing in exchange-traded funds had outperformed the S&P index for several years. The SEC said that the firms repeated many of F-Squared’s claims while recommending the investment to their own clients without “obtaining sufficient documentation to substantiate the information being advertised.”

--- Check out ETF Managed Portfolios Hit the Skids on ThinkAdvisor.

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