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David vs David in fight over millions


It’s a battle of two prominent namesakes – soccer boss David Thidiela and his childhood friend David Mureri, who have fallen out over the dividends of a multimillion-rand investment.

Black Leopards boss Thidiela and Mureri, the archbishop of the United African Apostolic Church, have thrown the Bible out of the window to slug it out over the interest generated by a R7 million investment with Old Mutual six years ago. Thidiela has accused Mureri of short-changing him on his investment. The angry owner of the Limpopo-based National First Division club wants Mureri and Old Mutual to pay him the interest they promised him when he made the investment back in 2015.

According to documents seen by City Press, Thidiela invested R8.5 million with Old Mutual through Mureri’s Reris Insurance Brokers on September 15 2015, with a guaranteed interest of 0.133% a month over five years. But 10 days later, Thidiela withdrew R1.5 million, leaving a R7 million balance.

The investment documents show that Thidiela was penalised for that withdrawal, with Old Mutual charging him R166 666 for the breach. After deducting the penalty and other charges, his balance was R6.5 million.

But when his investment reached maturity last year, Thidiela couldn’t believe the amount he received. Speaking on his father’s behalf this week, his son Tshifhiwa said Thidiela was surprised to receive just over R143 000. What angered him the most, Tshifhiwa said, was that Mureri had allegedly pocketed R647 000 as a bonus for bringing the huge investment to Old Mutual.

The company declined to comment on the amount of interest and the bonus paid out to the two men, respectively, citing client privilege. By the time of going to print, Mureri had not responded to messages sent to him more than three weeks ago.

At the time Thidiela made the investment, the shares of the Xtra Protected Funds, which he bought into, were valued at R1.19 each.

“The unit price continued to fluctuate over the years or months. Before the Covid-19 market crash, the unit price was at R1.33 at some point,” reads the document, which also shows that, when Thidiela disinvested, the unit price was R1.25.

Tshifhiwa told City Press that his father had questioned the very low return on his investment, and said he could not understand why Old Mutual blamed everything on the outbreak of Covid-19.

“Our biggest problem is that the outbreak of coronavirus was only last year. What happened to the interest the money was accumulating over the years?” asked Tshifhiwa.

This week, Tshifhiwa said his father and Mureri had been friends for a very long time, as their fathers were best friends and they grew up in the same church. When their fathers passed on, their friendship continued, with Mureri inheriting his father’s church based in Nzhelele in Limpopo and becoming the archbishop.

Old Mutual said it was aware of the matter and had been in contact with Thidiela: Old Mutual has been engaging with Thidiela regarding the performance of his Max Flexible investment, since early last year. We also provided him with annual statements, detailing the investment’s performance. The [financial] adviser has also confirmed that he held annual investment reviews with Thidiela.

“What is important to note is that Old Mutual provides a variety of investment solutions. Customers receive advice from independent or tied advisers on the best solution for their specific needs. During the advice process, the customer and adviser agree on the best solution for the customers needs. They also agree on a quote that includes all the fees, including the remuneration paid to the adviser.

“In this case, the Max Flexible [also known as XtraMax] Investment was selected because it is aimed at customers who want to invest for a period of five years or longer, and who value capital preservation and are generally risk averse,” said the company.

“In this specific case, the customer withdrew 17% after 15 days of the initial investment. This triggered a reduction fee as stipulated in the quote and contract. This reduced the fund value accordingly. The independent adviser confirmed that the cost and impact of the early disinvestment was communicated and accepted by the customer.

“It is also important to note the multiple factors that influence the return on investment. These include the amount invested, the type of investment, the period of investing and market conditions.

“We have provided Thidiela with a more comprehensive response, including details of the administration fees, adviser fees and his earnings over time. We are not in a position to disclose his personal details in public. However, we have assured Thidiela that we are happy to provide further clarity or answer any further questions he may have.”

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