Costello lashes out against OSC bid to 'muzzle' him

Personal finance commentator Brian Costello lashed out at provincial regulators yesterday, telling radio listeners that he would not be "muzzled" as he tries to "educate ordinary people and small investors."…The Ontario Securities Commission this week started proceedings against Costello, alleging he did not reveal to the public that he stood to profit from the sale of investments he recommended in seminars, newsletters and radio spots, and that he acted as an investment adviser without being properly registered.

The Toronto Star
January 12, 2002

Costello lashes out against OSC bid to ‘muzzle’ him
Denies allegation he didn't disclose financial interests
Madhavi Acharya-Tom Yew

Personal finance commentator Brian Costello lashed out at provincial regulators yesterday, telling radio listeners that he would not be "muzzled" as he tries to "educate ordinary people and small investors."

The high-profile author also announced plans to "take a bit of a break" from his popular Money Matters weekly radio show.

The Ontario Securities Commission this week started proceedings against Costello, alleging he did not reveal to the public that he stood to profit from the sale of investments he recommended in seminars, newsletters and radio spots, and that he acted as an investment adviser without being properly registered.

"It seems in this case that somebody wants to muzzle me from educating people. I have a concern not just about myself, but about the chilling effect this will have on anybody else who does anything like I do," Costello told CFRB listeners yesterday afternoon.

Vowing to "vigorously" fight the allegations, Costello called himself "an ordinary guy who's trying to educate ordinary people and small investors."

"I can absolutely guarantee that I won't be muzzled. I'm not going to stop. I feel so strongly about what I do that I will continue to get my information out in every way," Costello said during a short phone interview from Florida, where he usually spends the winter with his family.

He also explained his decision to stop doing the radio show: "I feel uncomfortable if I'm to give advice at a time when I've got this thing hanging over my head. Am I going to be wondering whether somebody is constantly monitoring what I'm saying?"

Costello added: "But I've got a lot of ideas. I will still continue to get the ideas out, and I'm going to continue to help the people."

Pat Holiday, vice-president and general manager of CFRB, confirmed in an interview that Costello opted to halt the show. "He decided and we came to an agreement that it would just be best not to do it for a while."

While his Web site was operational yesterday, it is unclear whether Costello will continue his other professional endeavours, including a syndicated radio show heard across Canada, newspaper articles for more than 60 daily newspapers and a monthly newsletter. Costello is also a fixture on the investment seminar circuit.

"He's obviously in discussions with the people that he deals with because this kind of allegation is extremely damaging," his lawyer Joe Groia said in an interview.

The OSC alleges that from 1992 to 1997, Costello held an indirect ownership stake in the Financial Planning Group, a marketing firm that collected commissions and fees from the sale of limited partnership units in Synlan Securities Corp. and EnerVest Resource Management Ltd.

Costello recommended the units, calling them "the best" or "one of the best" investments of this type he had ever seen.


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