Topic: Securities regulatory decisions

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Ontario Securities Commission confirms test for severance

In a decision issued on July 24, 2018, the Ontario Securities Commission held that the test to determine whether a respondent’s case should be severed and heard separately is the same test used in criminal proceedings. The decision, Hutchinson (Re), 2018 ONSEC 40, is available here. Allegations of insider trading and insider tipping The OSC … Continue reading

U.S. Supreme Court Holds SEC Administrative Law Judges Improperly Appointed

On June 21, 2018, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that administrative law judges (ALJs) at the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) had been improperly appointed because they qualified as “Officers of the United States” under the “Appointments Clause” of the U.S. Constitution, who under the Constitution may be appointed only by the President, a … Continue reading

Alberta Securities Commission Policy 15-601: Credit for Exemplary Cooperation in Enforcement Matters – New Provision for No-Contest Settlement Agreements

On October 25, 2017, we wrote about the Alberta Securities Commission’s (ASC) new Policy 15-601 which “explains the use of discretion by ASC staff when considering the appropriate enforcement action and assessing the appropriate sanction for misconduct.”  A link to the publication is here. As we predicted in October, the ASC recently issued a press … Continue reading

Divisional Court confirms that interlocutory OSC orders not eligible for appeal, judicial review

In the recent decision of Cheng v Ontario Securities Commission, 2018 ONSC 2502, the Divisional Court held that an interlocutory order of the OSC was not subject to challenge through an appeal or judicial review. Background The OSC commenced enforcement proceedings against Benedict Cheng in April 2017 on allegations of insider tipping.  Cheng brought a … Continue reading

OSC Panel Approves Settlement Agreement for Insider Tipping Without Profit Disgorgement or Administrative Penalty

The Ontario Securities Commission’s recent decision in Re Hutchinson confirmed the important role of cooperation with Commission Staff in reducing sanctions for breaches of Ontario’s securities law. Background Donna Hutchinson worked as a legal assistant at a large Toronto law firm, assisting with merger and acquisition transactions. Through the course of her work, Ms. Hutchinson … Continue reading

U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission Proposes “Best Interest” Standard for Retail Broker Dealers

On April 18, 2018, the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (“SEC”) announced proposed rules that would require broker-dealers to act in the best interests of their retail clients when recommending investments. The SEC opened the proposed rules to a 90 day comment period. This announcement follows a March 15, 2018 decision by the U.S. Fifth … Continue reading

The OSC’s Jurisdiction on an Appeal from a Decision of a Director: Re Dhillon (2018) ONSEC 14

In Re Dhillon, the Director of Compliance and Registrant Regulation (“Director”) of the Ontario Securities Commission (“OSC” or “Commission”) refused Dhillon’s application for registration under s. 27 of the Ontario Securities Act (the “Act”) on the ground that Dhillon lacked both the proficiency and integrity for registration, and that his registration would otherwise be objectionable … Continue reading

Civil Forfeiture in the Securities Context

Administrative fines are are regularly imposed by the Ontario Securities Commission (the OSC) in enforcement proceedings as sanctions for violations of Ontario securities law. Less well-known, but equally important, is the ability of the OSC to require wrongdoers to forfeit to the Crown the ill-gotten proceeds of unlawful activities. This post outlines the process by … Continue reading

Bustle without the Hustle not an “Act in Furtherance of a Trade” under the Ontario Securities Act

A recent decision by the Ontario Court of Justice provides lessons about the scope of the Ontario Securities Commission (OSC)’s powers to regulate acts “in furtherance of a trade”.  The OSC’s case was against two individuals who helped create a website for a new company.  The website included an investors relations page which stated that … Continue reading

Aurora/CanniMed: Canadian securities regulators provide guidance on takeover bids in Canada – Expect to see more hard lock-ups and fewer tactical poison pills

Key takeaways: expect to see an increased use of hard lock-ups (that is, lock-ups in which a shareholder agrees to tender shares even if a superior bid comes along), which will provide bidders with reduced risk during the new 105-day bid period well-structured hard lock-ups do not necessarily result in target shareholders being joint actors … Continue reading

Federal court holds that CFTC can regulate virtual currencies as commodities

On March 6, 2018, in a fraud proceeding involving a virtual currency product, a New York federal court held that virtual currencies can be regulated by the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) as commodities. Commodity Futures Trading Commission v. McDonnell (E.D.N.Y. Mar. 6, 2018).[1] This ruling marks the first federal judicial endorsement of the CFTC’s … Continue reading

The Ontario Court of Appeal Affirms the Test for Tippee Liability: Finkelstein v. Ontario Securities Commission

In the recently released decision in Finkelstein v. Ontario Securities Commission, the Ontario Court of Appeal (the Court) considered for the first time the definition of “person in a special relationship with an issuer” found in s. 76(5)(e) the Securities Act (the Act) as it applies to successive tippees who possess material, non-public information about … Continue reading

The Principle of Parity in OSC Settlements Does Not Preclude Disparity Where Warranted: Techocan International Co. Ltd. (Re), 2017 ONSEC 44

The Ontario Securities Commission’s decision in Techocan International Co. Ltd. (Re), 2017 ONSEC 44 affirms that absent exceptional and compelling circumstances, a respondent cannot resile from a settlement agreement on the basis of a co-respondent’s subsequent settlement on terms perceived to be more favourable. Facts On March 23, 2016, Staff of the Ontario Securities Commission … Continue reading

OSC orders trading platform systems upgrade

On November 13, 2017, Staff of the Ontario Securities Commission brought an application seeking a temporary order suspending the registration of Omega Securities Inc. (Omega) as well as trading in two alternative trading systems run by Omega called Omega ATS and Lynx ATS, pending the outcome of a hearing on the merits. Staff alleged that … Continue reading

Supreme Court Denies Leave to Applicants Seeking to Challenge Bifurcation of OSC Proceedings

The Supreme Court of Canada recently denied leave to appeal the Court of Appeal for Ontario’s decision in Ontario Securities Commission v. MRS Sciences Inc. (MRI Sciences), which considered the bifurcated nature of proceedings before the Ontario Securities Commission (the OSC). The decision is significant for its judicial endorsement of the OSC’s current two-phased approach … Continue reading

SEC action against hedge fund raises difficult questions for investment advisers

The SEC recently extracted a settlement from a hedge fund that raises difficult compliance-related questions for investment advisers. On August 21, 2017, Deerfield Management Company L.P. (“Deerfield”), a hedge fund and registered investment adviser, paid approximately $4.6 million to settle SEC charges that Deerfield failed to create and enforce policies and procedures reasonably designed to … Continue reading

Regulatory and civil consequences of Initial Coin Offerings in Ontario

A great deal has been written recently about the possible regulatory uncertainty surrounding Initial Coin Offerings (ICOs) in Canada.  In an ICO, a newly issued cryptocurrency is sold to purchasers, who acquire a right of ownership symbolized by a “coin” or token, which may appreciate in value. Depending upon the characteristics of the ownership interest … Continue reading

OSC Sanctions Respondents in Strictrade Scheme

In Strictrade Marketing Inc. et al., 2017 ONSEC 12, the Ontario Securities Commission (the Commission) delivered robust sanctions to Respondents found to have marketed and sold licenses for trading software in breach of the Ontario Securities Act (the Act). Enforcement Proceedings In 2015, Commission Staff brought enforcement proceedings against the Respondents, Edward Furtak (Furtak), Axton 2010 … Continue reading

Reasonable diligence and good faith, no excuse for CFOs under IIROC regulatory regime

In Sutton (Re), the Investment Industry Regulatory Organization of Canada’s (IIROC) found that individuals with regulatory functions in securities industry may not enjoy immunity for errors where they acted in good faith and with reasonable diligence. Sutton was a specialist in the field of securities industry regulation. From March 2003 until July 2012, he acted … Continue reading

Canadian Securities Administrators to regulate Cryptocurrency Offerings and Crypto-Investment Funds

2017 has been an extraordinary year for cryptocurrencies.[1] The recent increase in the number of cryptocurrency offerings reflects a dramatic shift in investor-attitudes towards the crypto-economy. However, the increased popularity of initial coin offerings (ICO), initial token offerings (ITO) and cryptocurrency investment funds has triggered a wave of regulatory responses, from the USA to Singapore … Continue reading

BC Court of Appeal clarifies use of disgorgement remedy under the Securities Act

In Poonian v. British Columbia Securities Commission[1] the BC Court of Appeal recently found that the BC Securities Commission (BCSC) may, in limited circumstances, make orders pursuant to s. 161(1)(g) of the BC Securities Act (the Act)  holding persons jointly and severally liable for a disgorgement order where there is evidence showing control and direction … Continue reading

“Real and Substantial Connection” Test Applies to Regulatory Jurisdiction Over Offences with Extraterritorial Elements

In Ontario Securities Commission v. DaSilva, 2017 ONSC 4576 (DaSilva), the Ontario Superior Court of Justice confirmed that the “real and substantial connection” test applies in determining whether the Ontario Securities Commission (the Commission) has jurisdiction over offences with extraterritorial elements. Background: The Appellants’ Breaches of the No Trade Order In an earlier proceeding, the … Continue reading

SEC ruling on The DAO signals increased acceptance of blockchain-based securities

On July 25, 2017, the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) issued a statement on the regulatory significance of offers and sales of digital assets carried out using distributed ledger or blockchain technology.  That statement followed the SEC’s Report of Investigation into The DAO, an unincorporated organization designed to issue tokens administered on a distributed ledger … Continue reading

Home Capital Group Inc. Settlement with the OSC: Lessons Learned

On August 9, 2017 the Ontario Securities Commission (OSC) approved a settlement agreement entered into by Home Capital Group Inc (HCG), a reporting issuer in the residential and commercial lending business, Gerald Soloway (Soloway), its former founder and CEO, Robert Morton (Morton), its former CFO and  Martin Reid (Reid), its former President. Both Morton and … Continue reading
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