Oregon based Aequitas Capital Management appears to be in in a state of collapse.
On Saturday, the Oregonian detailed accusations from Chris Bean, principal of Redmond, Wash.-based Private Advisory Group, who accused the private equity and alternatives platform of “misleading him” with an optimistic portrayal of the company’s finances.
According to the Oregonian, investors had almost $600 million invested in Aequitas’s loans to troubled companies.
Through much of 2015, Aequitas appeared to be a healthy, growing firm, opening a new office in New York City and a new division to serve investment advisors. At it’s peak, it reported some $1.7 billion in managed assets.
The company even announced a plan for continued growth, and began seeking private equity to fund its vision, offering short-term notes through advisors paying 8-to-12 percent interest to lenders and a more than 2 percent commission to advisors. Then, in fall of 2015, it began telling investors that it was unable to refund the notes when they became due.
Shortly afterwards, TD Ameritrade severed its custodial relationship for Aequitas’s private notes, according to the reports.
In January, Aequitas announced a plan to reorganize and downsize, according to the Portland Business Journal.
Days later, the layoffs were expanded to include more than 80 of its approximately 100 employees, said the Oregonian.
As a result of the loans, Aequitas is allegedly under investigation by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission and the Consumer Finance Protection Board. The SEC has declined to comment on the status of its inquiry.