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Published: Saturday 24 August, 2013

longchamp large shopper longchamp large shopper Fools Gold and Other Goodies from Canada

One company claimed to be cultivating the worlds largest pearls. Another firm described itself as the proud inventor of the AdZapper, a device that deleted commercials from VCR recordings of TV programs. Still another said it had concocted a nose spray that cures AIDS. In addition to their almost comically false claims, these companies had something else in common: They all sold shares on the Vancouver or Alberta stock markets in Canada.

Veteran traders recall these ventures as among the more colorful scandals in recent years on the fraudridden, but seldom dull, Vancouver Stock Exchange and its smaller cousin, the Alberta Stock Exchange. But none matches the scope of the latest horror tale produced by Canadas woolly markets: the BreX Minerals affair, in which a gold find said to be worth billions turned out to be practically worthless.

Some prospects. BreX was launched on the Alberta Stock Exchange in 1989 and traded for penniesuntil the firm announced a large gold find in Indonesia. In BreXs press releases, the find kept growing: from 30 million ounces to 40 million to 57 million to 71 million. Finally, BreXs vice chairman suggested the real figure might be 200 million ounces, making it the largest find in recent history. When the company was listed on the Toronto market and Nasdaq, its market capitalization soared to $4.5 billion after bluechip mutual funds bought in.

But one of the companys partners recently reported discovering insignificant quantities of gold at the Indonesian find. Last week, after an independent review concluded that the original tests had been falsified, BreXs stock collapsed. Responsibility for the fraud is under investigation.

Will the longchamp large shopper BreX affair force Canadian markets to clean up their acts? Although the president of Torontos stock market called last week for creating a national securities commission provinces are in charge of regulating markets, monumental changes would be necessary for such an agency to have an impact. Canadians have always had a more relaxed view of how much protection investors need from scammers, preferring instead to pursue a buyerbeware approach. This made sense, particularly in Vancouver and Alberta, the homes of most of Canadas startup minin longchamp large shopper g companies. It enabled these companies to raise capital, stay alive, and have a better chance of striking it rich. markets are scandal free. Nasdaq, for example, has come under heavy scrutiny recently for price fixing and mob ties. But its widely believed that the regulatory bar is much higher here.

Real finds. Its also true that most firms trading on the Vancouver and Alberta markets are legitimate. mining firms also look to the VSE for financing. If youre a small, legitimate mining concern, the nonCanadian options have disappeared, says University of Michiganfinance professor Paul Seguin. That leaves the VSE as the only game in town.

Still, putting money in VSE or ASE stocks is not for the fainthearted. If youre into gambling, this is a good market for you, says John Woods, who runs Canada Stockwatch, the premier Canadian stockmarketdata and analysis firm. But dont confuse it with investing.

One of the biggest problems is an especially insidious form of insider trading. Promoters sometimes form shell companies and sell shares to insiders at cheap, but steadily increasing, prices. As the purchasing builds the stock price higher, regular investors buy into it and the insiders bailmaking a tidy profit. In other words, insiders make money whether or not the company has a real product. With BreX, the pattern he longchamp large shopper ld: International investors got bilked while many insiders made a killing.

Adrian du Plessis, a freelance financialmarket investigator, argues that British Columbia regulators may have less incentive to crack down. As long as Howe Street Vancouvers Wall Street players are stealing from Americans, Europeans, and Asians, there will be no will to act, says du Plessis. longchamp large shopper