Ex-Oppenheimer P.E. Manager Barred

Jan 23 2014 | 12:43pm ET

The Securities and Exchange Commission has barred a former fund of private equity funds manager for allegedly inflating the value of his fund's holdings.

Brian Williamson routinely misled investors, potential investors and consultants about his Oppenheimer Holdings' fund's performance, marking up the valuations of its underlying funds, the SEC said. Williamson, who left Oppenheimer in 2011, has denied the allegations.

According to the SEC, Williamson began inflating valuations in September 2009. In one case, according to the regulator, Williamson marked up the value of his largest investment by 50%, turning the $6 million valuation given him by Cartesian Investors into $9 million, thereby increasing the fund's quarterly return from 4% to 38%.

"Investors rely on truthful and complete disclosures about valuation methodologies, and fund fees and expenses, especially when committing to long-term private-equity investment," Julie Riewe, who heads the SEC enforcement division's asset management unit, said.

Williamson's lawyer said his client "is proud of the track record of the investments that were made on his client's behalf."

In addition to the industry ban, the SEC levied a $100,000 fine against Williamson.

Oppenheimer paid $2.8 million last year to settle charges stemming from Williamson's alleged actions.

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