SEC Charges Ex-Private Equity Manager With Inflating Performance

Aug 21 2013 | 11:07am ET

A former Oppenheimer & Co. private-equity fund manager lied to investors about his performance, the Securities and Exchange Commission alleged yesterday.

Brian Williamson's quarterly reports and marketing materials for the Oppenheimer Global Resource Private Equity Fund I routinely inflated performance. Williamson has denied the allegations.

"In its zeal to pursue cases in the private-equity space, the SEC has alleged fraud where none exists," Williamson's lawyer, Andrew Levander, said.

"Investors deserve and the law requires honest disclosure about how their investments are valued," SEC enforcement co-head Andrew Ceresney said. "Williamson improperly lured investors to the private-equity fund he managed by providing false and misleading information about the fund's performance."

In one case, the SEC alleges, Williamson inflated the value of his $100 million fund of funds' largest investment, Cartesian Investors, by 50%, turning the $6 million valuation given to him by Cartesian into $9 million, thus boosting the fund's quarterly returns from 4% to 38%.

Oppenheimer, where Williamson worked from 2005 until 2011, settled the SEC's charges in March, agreeing to pay $2.8 million.

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