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For money manager, a hard fall from a lofty perch

Peter Eichler Jr. made a fortune running Aletheia, one of Southern California's largest money management firms. Then came a fast and painful fall.

February 16, 2013|By Walter Hamilton and Stuart Pfeifer, Los Angeles Times

Another blow had come in October when the state suspended Aletheia's business license because the firm had failed to pay $2 million in taxes from 2008. It didn't file its 2008, 2009 or 2010 returns until 2011, according to an Aletheia court filing. In court documents, Eichler and Peikin blamed each other.

One client, CIBC Asset Management, yanked its money after discovering the departure of a top Aletheia executive through a Google alert. That was proof, CIBC wrote in a Bankruptcy Court filing, of Aletheia's "overarching operational dysfunction."

Topping it off, Aletheia's investment performance had slumped noticeably in the previous two years, according to Bankruptcy Court documents the company filed.

A court-appointed trustee is overseeing the liquidation of the firm. Eichler estimated that his net worth — which once was $230 million, according to records filed in his first divorce — has skidded to about $2 million. He hinted that he'd like to manage money in the future but isn't sure he can restore his reputation.

"Does somebody ever really completely recover?" Eichler said. "There will probably always be people who look at me with a jaundiced eye."

walter.hamilton@latimes.com

stuart.pfeifer@latimes.com

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