Investment management firm Virtus Investment Advisers agreed to pay $16.5 million to settle charges that it misled mutual fund investors through advertisements containing false historical performance data aboutAlphaSector, a major exchange-traded fund (ETF) portfolio strategy. Virtus publicized a substantially overstated performance track record received from F-Squared, a sub-adviser it had hired for mutual funds and other clients following the AlphaSector strategy. Virtus accepted F-Squared’s historical performance misrepresentations at face value and ignored red flags that called these claims into question. During the period in which Virtus used the false and misleading advertisements, its AlphaSector funds’ assets under management grew from $191 million at the end of 2009 to $11.5 billion by 2013. SEC
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