Investment Fund Under Investigaton 

The Maine Attorney General’s Office is investigating possible wrongdoing by an investment fund.In fact, the Oppenheimer Core Bond Fund is the target of investigations in several parts of the country.That fund was part of 529 College Savings plans in five states, including Maine, and suffered losses much greater than anyone would have expected.”If I could just help in a little way, instead of getting them silly little trinket gifts, I’d rather put money towards their future.”In 2007 Kelly Cotiaux started 529 College Savings Accounts through Next Gen for her niece and nephew.Through the plan you get to choose among a list of funds to invest in. One of Kelly’s choices, the Oppenheimer Core Bond Fund. It was expected to be a conservative fund, with less risk.”I just had this pit in my stomach”But then a few months ago, Kelly discovered through on-line blogs that fund was being investigated for possible wrongdoing.”The returns were so far off the benchmark that we thought maybe something else was happening here that shouldn’t have been happening.”Elizabeth Bordowitz is the acting CEO for the Finance Authority of Maine. They oversee the Next Gen accounts. She says the unusual losses for the fund were discovered during a quarterly meeting last November. After an independent investment advisor looked into it, the Attorney General’s office was asked to investigate. “And it was really that concern that perhaps it was leveraged in a way that was inappropriate or perhaps illegal.”Meaning the fund might have had more debt than they told investors.That may have lead the fund to lose 38 percent of its value in 2008, and 10 percent in the first quarter of 2009. Much worse than a conservative investment would be expected to.Bordowitz points out that only 4 percent of Next Gen’s assets were in Oppenheimer Funds, far less than in some other states.Still she understands how the loss, and the appearance of possible wrong-doing can make things even scarier for those investing with Next Gen.”I think people are appropriately wary of the markets right now and they need to consider their personal investment risk tolerance.””but what’s my option to stop?”Kelly says she won’t stop putting money into the accounts but she will pay more attention to the money. For now she hopes that those who do invest the money for the college savings accounts for kids across the country, take this as a warning.”Don’t rip off the kids, I mean really. I know it’s just money to these people but this is a future.”Oppenheimer has changed their investment team for the Core Bond Fund.Still FAME has decided not to offer any Oppenheimer Funds for new investors to Next Gen. If you were already with Oppenheimer, you can continue to contribute to that fund.Meanwhile the Attorney General’s Office is not commenting on their investigation.