Hodgson Family

February 28, 2012 09:00 ET

Toronto Siblings Fight RBC's Royal Trust and Stepbrother Ian Molson over Grandfather's Trust

- "If this can happen to our family... it can happen to yours." -

MONTREAL, QUEBEC--(Marketwire - Feb. 28, 2012) - Siblings Diana Bell (nee Hodgson) and Peter Hodgson never thought it would come to this. On Monday, March 5th they will step inside a Montreal courtroom to fight for a gift from their grandfather against RBC's Royal Trust, as well as the estates of their late father and uncle as co-trustees. The plaintiffs are seeking $15 million in damages claiming the trustees failed in their fiduciary and governance responsibilities.

Charles Allan Hodgson, a prominent accountant in Montreal in the 1930s, established a trust before his death in 1937 making his son David the income beneficiary and his grandchildren the capital beneficiaries. Peter and Diana say their grandfather is likely spinning in his grave because of the way his gift has been mishandled by their father, Royal Trust and RBC trust officers.

"Trust officer after trust officer simply passed the buck in deference to our father's wishes to keep us in the dark about the trust against their own policies," explained Peter. "Even after the death of our father, RBC made us fight for every document along the way in trying to determine the real value of our grandfather's gift. They fed us misinformation, pulled damaging documents from the estate files, and played hide-and-go-seek games as we sought a proper accounting and distribution of the trust."

The Royal Trust Corporation of Canada has managed the trust since 1937. In 1993 the Royal Bank of Canada acquired Royal Trust. The siblings only learned of the trust with the death of their father in 2004. Peter and Diana were estranged from their father, stepmother and Molson stepbrothers for a variety of reasons over the years. Ultimately, it all stemmed from the fact that David Hodgson and Mary Molson engaged in an affair that tore apart their family.

Ian Molson is the executor of David Hodgson's estate and has proactively sought to defeat Peter and Diana's claim working in concert with RBC Wealth Management. The siblings say Ian Molson even tried to manipulate matters with respect to their grandfather's trust.

"Sadly, Ian Molson has a history of fighting with his family over money," said Diana. "Ian is cut from the same cloth as my father. They see money as power and that's all they care about. It sickens me to see Ian Molson working with RBC to bleed us. They've done a very good job bleeding us. They thought we would give up and they could settle this matter quietly. What they've done is shameful.

"RBC Wealth Management positions itself as a company with integrity, but we've encountered a cold-hearted bureaucratic machine determined to protect its interests. There has been no transparency and certainly no helping hand. They've treated us with nothing but disdain."

Peter and Diana say RBC's lack of cooperation forced them to pursue this legal action against the three trustees. They can point to a long list of failings within their grandfather's trust files:

  • No information about the original process the trustees followed to bring the estate under their control

  • No information to support the estate inventory

  • No investment policy in place for over 60 years (1937-1995)

  • No benchmarking or effective monitoring of financial performance for almost 70 years (1937-2004)

  • No regular meetings by the trustees… by their father, uncle and Royal Trust… not even on an annual basis

  • No accounting records from 1937-1951

  • No third-party documents, including valuations, advice or legal opinions

  • No serious review or dissent by more than 20 trust officers engaged in administering the trust since 1976 despite the glaring mismanagement that occurred and the need for corrective action.

"We never imagined being in a protracted legal battle with RBC, a company that claims a position of trust in planning and managing family estates," said Diana. "You should be able to trust your trust company. Let our story be a lesson to others, if this can happen to our family… it can happen to yours."

Serge Fournier, Partner in the firm BCF in Montreal, is representing Peter and Diana.

Contact Information

  • SELECT Public Relations
    Andrew Findlater
    (416) 659-1197