DON G. LEVY AND ASSOCIATES

SECURITIES RESEARCH and VALUATION

 

 

BACKGROUND

 

DON G. LEVY AND ASSOCIATES has specialized in forensic, investigative accounting and litigation support work since 1986. The practice is managed in Ottawa by Don Levy, a Canadian Chartered Accountant since 1979. In addition to forensic assignments, involving the researching of corporations and other business entities for a wide variety of clientele, the firm has also established itself as a leading Canadian professionally managed full-service firm providing research, valuation and liquidation services for holders of old stocks, bonds and other securities. Our work is restricted to our expertise – Canadian companies only.

 

1.0 SERVICES PROVIDED

 

 

1.1 RESEARCH

 

Searches are performed for clients holding securities in Canadian companies, for which they are uncertain as to the Company’s current legal status,  and therefore any potential value of the underlying securities. For example, the Company may have gone out of business, changed it’s name or amalgamated with another company. In other circumstances, the company may still be legally in existence but currently inactive, or the company may have been acquired by a purchaser that has offered to purchase it’s outstanding shares.  There are a multitude of reasons why a company may no longer be in existence under it’s former name, but has been succeeded in some manner by another entity, the result of which may be real monetary value for that original company’s securities.

 

Researching old securities is often more than simply checking stock exchange listings or various provincial corporation registries to see if the company is listed.  As with any profession, understanding and accurately interpreting the information offered is the most important aspect of any research. Looking up a company on a Provincial Corporate Registry, seeing that the company’s charter has been cancelled and assuming that the securities of that company no longer have any value, can sometimes be an expensive mistake.

 

The overwhelming majority of old stocks and bonds we are asked to research result in no underlying value for those securities – the company has been dissolved and there is no record of any successor company or proceeds of liquidation accruing to holders of that company’s securities. Canada has always been a country rich in natural resources, which has promoted extremely active capital markets for financing the exploration and development ventures of mining and energy resource related companies. Many of these companies are successful, but many more exhaust the monies raised to carry out their exploration/development activities, and simply go out of business, leaving no successor and most often no value for their shareholders.

 

 

1.2 SECURITIES RESEARCH REPORT

 

All research assignments result in the preparation of a SECURITIES RESEARCH REPORT for a client, summarizing our research findings.  These Reports provide a legal description of the security searched, short history of important dates for any corporate changes, a summary of the current status of the company and its securities and any relevant comments regarding possible antiquity value and income tax matters.

 

Our RESEARCH REPORTS are often used by clients to support Estate and Income Tax positions. For example, the CRA or the IRS may require evidence of a company’s current status to support a client’s claim for a capital loss. The Administrator of an Estate may require evidence to support the value being applied for Probate or asset distribution.  Marriage and Separation agreements may require asset valuations. However, most often it is clients that simply want some certainty from a professional concerning the status and value if any of an old certificate – our REPORT provides that assurance and can be appended to that certificate so that future generations don’t have the same questions and repeat the same search.

 

RESEARCH REPORTS take an average of 2-4 weeks to complete, depending on any time required to request and receive back documents and information from third parties.

 

 

1.3 VALUATION, TRANSFER AND CASH RECOVERY

 

Where the results of a Securities Search indicate that there may be a current or potential future value for the Security, we offer transfer and cash recovery services.

 

Valuation – the value of an old security can lie in the current price of the shares of a successor company or perhaps the proceeds from the buy-out or liquidation of that company and that are being held by a Transfer Agent, Public Trustee or other authority.  In other circumstances, there may be outstanding dividends or interest payments that have accrued over the years and are being held for the registered owner.

 

Transfer - old securities with current value may be registered in the name of someone other than the current holder – for example in the case of an Estate settlement, it may be necessary to re-register the security in the name(s) of the beneficiary. Or perhaps the certificate is in “bearer” or “street” form, in which case it must also be re-registered for the current owner.  In other cases, the client may only want the company or it’s transfer agent to update its records to reflect the current owner’s address.

 

Cash Recovery – for clients holding securities for which it has been determined there is a current or potential future cash value, we can provide assistance for all necessary share transfers/registrations and ultimate disposition of those securities. In those situations where it is determined that there are proceeds from liquidation or a buy-out, or outstanding dividends/interest payments which are payable and have not been collected, the necessary steps can be taken to collect any unpaid amounts on behalf of clients.

 

 

2.0 ANTIQUITY VALUE

 

In some circumstance Securities certificates may have no underlying current cash value, but may have some antiquity value as a collectable. Such value may be the result of historical significance, special engravings, vignettes, signatures and other unique characteristics. There is an active collectables market for old securities – the hobby is called Scripophily.  As is the case with many old documents, certificates are often framed and displayed as family memorabilia and office décor.

 

We do not have the expertise to appraise old certificates, and as a matter of integrity, we do not offer to purchase them from clients. However, there are many business and collector websites that can be found on the internet, and that offer appraisal as well as purchase and sale services. Simply type “Scripophily” into your browser – very few are actually in Canada.

 

 

3.0 FEES

 

Research assignments are conducted in two stages, the first involving the research and preparation of a written Report., and the second stage, where applicable, assisting in the valuation, transfer where necessary and recovery of any cash value for a security. Whether or not our firm carries out the work involved in Stage 2, is completely at the option of the client.  The client may decide not to use our services to perform the work necessary to liquidate the securities.

 

Stage 1 – (mandatory) the fee is $39.00.

 

Stage 2 (optional) – should the client wish to use our services to liquidate the securities, the fee is 10% of net proceeds recovered plus out-of-pocket costs incurred by our firm. “Net proceeds” refers to gross proceeds from the sale of securities and collection of any outstanding dividends/interest payments, less any third party disbursements incurred by either our firm or the client for selling costs such as sales commissions, legal fees, insurance/indemnity costs etc.

 

 

4.0 GETTING STARTED

 

To begin a search, we require payment for the Stage 1 fees as well as a photocopy of the front and back of each Certificate to be researched. Payment can be mad by cheque or money order – presently we can not accept credit card payments, however an E-Transfer payment is acceptable.

 

Where the security holder’s name as printed on the Certificate is different to the person requesting the search, an accompanying letter should explain the present ownership of the Certificate.

 

Please provide your return address and if possible, an EMail address, where our SECURITIES RESEARCH REPORT can be forwarded when complete, and any additional correspondence can be directed.

 

The documents and cheque/money orders should be mailed to our office as follows :

 

            DON G. LEVY AND ASSOCIATES

            Securities and Research Valuation

            200-1359 Normandy Crescent

            OTTAWA, Ontario

            CANADA  K2C 0N4

 

Documents can be scanned and sent to us by Email and payment can be made with an E-Transfer of funds, thereby completely eliminating the cost and time associated with mail/courier service.

 

 

5.0 CONTACT 

 

Correspondence can be directed to the above mailing address or :

 

            Tel : 613-225-1823

            Fax : 613-225-3300

            Email : don.g.levy@sympatico.ca

 

 

6.0 LINKS

 

6.1 Provincial Corporations Registries

 

            Federal                       www.strategis.gc.ca\corporations                 

 

            Alberta                        www3.gov.ab.ca/gs

           

            British Columbia        www.fin.gov.bc.ca/registries

 

            Manitoba                    www.gov.mb.ca/cca/comp_off/index.html

 

            Saskatchewan            www.saskjustice.gov.sk.ca/corporations

 

            Ontario                       www.cbs.gov.on.ca

 

            Quebec                       www.igif.gouv.qc.ca

 

            New Brunswick          www.snb.ca

 

            Nova Scotia                www.gov.ns.ca/snsmr/rjsc/

 

            Prince Edward Island www.gov.pe.ca/corporations

 

            Newfoundland            www.gov.nf.ca/gsl/cca/cr

 

            Northwest Territories www.justice.gov.nt.ca

 

            Nunavut                      www.gov.nu.ca

 

            Yukon                         www.gov.yk/community/corp

           

6.2 USA

 

            State Registries         www.coordinatedlegal.com/SecretaryOfState.html     

 

7.0    ARTICLES/TESTIMONIALS

 

7.1    CA MAGAZINE published by the Canadian Institute of Chartered  Accountants   May, 1995

          

 

7.2    OTTAWA BUSINESS JOURNAL  April 2000

          Forensic accountant taps investigative skills to research stock certificates

Published on April 23, 2000

BY STEVE LADURANTAYE ottawa business journal

Topics :

It's a capitalist's dream. During home renovations, a wall is knocked down and old stock certificates that were stashed away in 1901 are rediscovered.

It's a situation that happens more often than you realize (usually without the renovation, though). And when someone is left with a certificate and they don't have a clue what it's worth, they'd be well advised to call the financial industry's own Columbo forensic accountant Don Levy.

"Oh, I get a couple of e-mails a day from people who have an old certificate they want examined," Levy says from his Nepean office. "Most of them are worth nothing as stocks, the companies are long gone and the certificates have been expired. Usually their values are as collectibles."

Levy goes out of his way to stress that most certificates are not worth a lot of money, but that doesn't stop him from taking pride in some of his bigger coups. One brother and sister had 500 shares in an Alberta oil company called Commonwealth Petroleum Ltd. They were about to dispose of the shares when Levy determined the certificates were worth $70,000.

"The company went through a number of mergers and buyouts until it became Westburne International a well-known oil field supply company," Levy says. "I don't need to say how pleased they were."

But again, the warnings. Levy can't hide his curious mix of contempt and admiration for an American woman who values old certificates for a living. She charges $100 per certificate; Levy charges $35.

"Every year, this woman tours Canada and manages to get on every CBC station across the country," he says. "She convinces anyone who hears her that their certificates will be worth money. Sure, I guess she's right if she means one dollar."

There are two reasons she can get away with higher prices. First, scripophily (the collecting of stock certificates) is her only livelihood. Second, scripophily is a big deal almost everywhere in the world except Canada. Certificates are harder to come by because they are destroyed when they are expired.

"This will become big business. Canada is always way behind the rest of the world," Levy says. "People really like things related to business and this is going to catch on in a big way."

The certificates themselves are beautifully crafted. Trains, oil patches, buffaloes and classical looking women adorn the upper portion in intricate vignettes, while rich colours run behind carefully chosen scripts that describe the details of the issue. It's for this detail and craftsmanship that many people collect them. Canadian Bank Note Ltd. has even issued a collector's series of vignettes to cater to the stock enthusiast.

"Since the middle of the 18th century all documents of security such as share certificates have all benefited from the use of hand-engraved images or vignettes printed on fine quality papers by intaglio printing presses and using specialty inks," the company's promotional material says. "These traditional elements survive in this age of rapid technological obsolescence, because they are based on unique skills which impart a look and feel that is universally recognized as being secure, genuine and authoritative."

And while Levy says there are many amateurs who might offer to put a value on your certificates, you get what you pay for in the end.

"There's no one else in Canada nobody that is a professional doing this," Levy says. "Some retired guy might offer to do it and that's OK. But that doesn't mean he'll do it right. You need to know where to look and need to know how to interpret information. I certainly have the background to do this right."

A RARE FIND

Don Levy doesn't see many stock certificates that have any value except as a historical curiosity. On occasion, however, someone gets lucky.

The luckiest recipients of Levy's services to date were a brother and a sister. They had old certificates handed down to them, which they thought were worthless. But before throwing out the 500 shares in an Alberta oil company called Commonwealth Petroleum, they brought the certificates to Levy.

His research was convoluted as the company went through a series of mergers and acquisitions before ultimately becoming Westburne International, a well-known oil field supply company. Since the company was bought out, the funds represented by the shares were held in trust. By the time they cashed in, there was almost $70,000 waiting for them.

PROMOTIONAL GIMMICK

One man walked into Don Levy's office with a claim for a piece of land in the Yukon, a claim that looked undeniable. Not usually interested in land deeds, Levy decided to make one call. What he discovered was as funny as it was complicated.

In a bid help sales of its Puffed Wheat cereal in 1955, the company decided it would buy 19.11 acres of land in the Yukon near Dawson. The land was divided into square inches and 21 million "deeds" were printed for the bits of land. They were then put into the cereal boxes as a promotional gimmick.

Since it was almost impossible to register 21 million separate deeds, Quaker Oats set up an Illinois corporation the Klondike Big Inch Land Co. as the registered owner. The company failed to make provisions for paying taxes on the property and subsequently went out of business. The Canadian government seized the land in 1965 for an outstanding $37.20 tax bill.

Levy says the Yukon government reps he dealt with said they field calls all the time from people thinking they own a piece of the Yukon. All have been turned away.

7.3    OTTAWA SUN  June 1999

 

7.4    CANADIAN MONEYSAVER MAGAZINE October 1994

 

           

           

7.5       OTTAWA CITIZEN   December 1994

 

                                   

 

7.5    FINANCIAL POST   October 1996