Topic: Securities regulatory decisions

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Alberta Securities Commission Declines to Stay Enforcement Proceedings In Face of Parallel Class Actions

In February 2019, the Alberta Securities Commission (ASC) declined to stay the hearing of pending ASC enforcement proceedings on the basis of the existence of parallel, pending class action proceedings. Background In June 2018, Staff of the ASC issued a notice of hearing against Alberta divisions of the Lutheran Church-Canada and several of their former … Continue reading

Ontario Securities Commission awards whistleblowers $7.5 million in first ever payout

On July 14, 2016, the Ontario Securities Commission (OSC) launched the Whistleblower Program (the Program). Under the Program, individuals that provide information on violations of Ontario’s securities law to the OSC are eligible for awards of between 5% and 15% of total monetary sanctions or voluntary payments. The maximum amount a whistleblower can collect is … Continue reading

Re Meharchand: An affirmation of fundamental securities law principles

On October 19, 2018, the Ontario Securities Commission (OSC) issued reasons for Re Meharchand, a case confirming core concepts in securities law including the definition of an “investment contract”, registration when in the business of selling securities, and the test for fraud. Background The respondents, Mr. Meharchand and his company, Valt.X were in the business … Continue reading

The Quebec Court of Appeal rules that dissident rights do not apply to trust unitholders

On January 21, 2019, the Quebec Court of Appeal ruled  in O’Leary Funds Management c. Boralex Inc., 2019 QCCA 84, that dissident rights under business corporations acts do not apply to trusts. Unitholders of a trust must therefore ensure that their rights are recognized under the trust agreement or the Civil Code of Quebec. The … Continue reading

Be Careful What You Say – SEC successfully concludes enforcement proceedings against robo-advisors for false advertising and misleading disclosures

On December 21, 2018, the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) settled proceedings against two robo-advisors for making false statements about investment products and publishing misleading advertising. The proceedings were the SEC’s first enforcement actions against robo-advisors, providing guidance on some of the disclosure issues robo-advisors may face going forward. Wealthfront proceedings The first action involved … Continue reading

Ontario Court of Appeal Grants Leave to Appeal Tiffin Decision: Will Determine Role of the “Family Resemblance” Test in Defining Securities under the Securities Act

It seems that the saga of the Ontario Securities Commission’s prosecution of Daniel Emerson Tiffin and Tiffin Financial Corporation is not over yet.  On November 28, 2018 (2018 ONCA 953), the Ontario Court of Appeal granted leave to appeal the May 15, 2018 merits decision of Charney, J which rejected the “family resemblance” test and … Continue reading

Stop the presses! Canadian securities regulators raise concerns about press releases and other promotional activities

The Canadian Securities Administrators (CSA) have issued a notice regarding misleading promotional activities by issuers.  The notice includes examples such as press releases, presentations, social media posts and other marketing materials that provide insufficient or unbalanced information or that include unsubstantiated claims about the issuer. Problematic Promotional Practices Examples of potentially misleading promotional activities identified … Continue reading

Crime Doesn’t Pay: OSC Permanently Bans Convicted Fraudster

On November 26, 2018, the Ontario Securities Commission (OSC) issued an order permanently prohibiting Daniel Reeve, a financial planner based in the Kitchener, Ontario area, from participation in Ontario’s capital markets, including trading in any securities and becoming or acting as a registrant. The permanent ban came after Reeve was convicted in the Ontario Superior … Continue reading

When Will Referral Arrangements Constitute Trading under the BC Securities Act?

In a recent decision of the BC Securities Commission (BCSC), the BCSC provides helpful guidance concerning when referral arrangements cross the line and become trading for which registration is required. Chien-Hua Liu (Liu) and two affiliated corporations referred BC and Hong Kong investors to two issuers, leading to the purchase of over $6.5 million in … Continue reading

Divisional Court Upholds OSC Finding that Trading Software License Contracts are Securities Within Meaning of Securities Act

The Ontario Superior Court of Justice in Furtak v Ontario (Securities Commission), 2018 ONSC 6616, has upheld the Ontario Securities Commission’s (OSC) merits and sanctions decisions with respect to the Strictrade Offering, which we previously reported on here. Background In 2015, OSC Staff brought enforcement proceedings against Edward Furtak, Axton 2010 Finance Corp., (Axton), Strict … Continue reading

The Hard Way – SEC announces first penalties and compliance roadmap for unregistered ICOs

On November 16, 2018, the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) announced consent orders settling actions in respect of two unregistered initial coin offerings (ICOs), including the first fines levied against non-compliant ICO issuers made by the SEC to date. The consent orders demonstrate the SEC’s willingness to follow through with enforcement proceedings against issuers of … Continue reading

Re Fauth: A Primer on ss. 75(1)(a), 92(4.1) and 93(b) of Alberta’s Securities Act

The Alberta Securities Commission (ASC) recently released its decision in the matter of Re Fauth, finding the respondent, Vernon Ray Fauth (Fauth), in breach of ss. 75(1)(a), 92(4.1) and 93(b) of Alberta’s Securities Act, RSA 2000, c S-4 (the Act). The decision offers some important insight on issues regarding limitation periods, illegal dealing, misrepresentations, and … Continue reading

Time is of the Essence: Public Interest Considerations on a Motion for Standing to bring a s. 127 Proceeding Before the Ontario Securities Commission

A private party cannot commence a proceeding under s. 127 of the Ontario Securities Act (the “Act”) seeking enforcement remedies as a matter of right.  In Pearson (Re), 2018 ONSEC 53 the Ontario Securities Commission provides further guidance concerning when it will permit someone other than Enforcement Staff to commence such a proceeding before it. … Continue reading

Supreme Court of Canada Rules that Proposed Canadian Cooperative Capital Markets Regulatory System is Constitutional

Today the Supreme Court of Canada (the Supreme Court) released its much-anticipated decision on the reference regarding the proposed Canadian Cooperative Capital Markets Regulatory System, finding that the proposed national regulatory system is constitutional. Previous Attempts to Create National Securities Regulator It has been suggested by the a number of governments, academic commentators and others … Continue reading

The Scope of Securities Commission’s Public Interest Jurisdiction: What Constitutes Abuse of the Capital Markets?  

In Re Hamilton, 2018 BCSEECOM 290, the British Columbia Securities Commission (BCSC) was called upon, yet again, to consider the scope of its public interest jurisdiction in an enforcement proceeding pursuant to s. 161 of the British Columbia Securities Act, RSBC 1996, c. 418 (the “Act”) in the absence of allegations of specific breaches of … Continue reading

Motions for Further Disclosure in OSC Proceedings: Privilege, Relevance and Proportionality

In a recent decision of the OSC in Re Caldwell Investment Management Ltd. (October 12, 2018), a hearing panel (the “Panel”) denied a motion by Caldwell Investment Management Inc. (“Caldwell”) for further pre-hearing disclosure from OSC Staff. The motion was made in the context of an upcoming enforcement proceeding alleging, among other things, that Caldwell … Continue reading

Even “Small Frauds” May Warrant the Imposition of Significant Sanctions by Securities Regulators

In Re Davis, 2018 BCSECCOM 284, the British Columbia Securities Commission upheld permanent market prohibitions against Mr. Davis who committed fraud on one investor in the aggregate amount of (only) $7,000. Background Mr. Davis, who was never registered under the Securities Act (B.C.), purported to sell shares that he did not own to an investor … Continue reading

From boom to busted: TMF deems PlexCoins as investment contracts

The legal noose is tightening around the necks of rogue cryptocurrency issuers in Quebec. PlexCorps’s legal troubles, as covered in our previous post, have deepened. In Autorité des marchés financiers c. PlexCorps, 2018 QCTMF 91, the Tribunal des Marchés Financier (TMF) qualified PlexCoin as an investment contract within the meaning of Quebec’s Securities Act. This … Continue reading

Ontario Court Imposes Custodial Sentence for Securities Act Offences

The Ontario Superior Court of Justice has released what appears to be the final chapter in the Ontario Securities Commission’s (OSC) prosecution of Daniel Emerson Tiffin and Tiffin Financial Corporation. Background In July 2014, the Ontario Securities Commission’s administrative proceedings against Rezwealth Financial Services Inc., Pamela Ramoutar, Justin Ramoutar, Tiffin Financial Corporation, Daniel Tiffin, 2150129 … Continue reading

When do inferences become unreasonable and contrary to the rules of procedural fairness?

As there is almost never direct, ‘smoking gun’ type evidence of insider trading, securities regulators often rely on circumstantial evidence in enforcement proceedings, from which they invite the specialized securities tribunals to draw inferences. What is the line not to cross for these inferences to become unreasonable and contrary to rules of procedural fairness? Referring … Continue reading

Targets of investigations by Quebec’s security regulator not protected by Charter

The creator of a new cryptocurrency made headlines last year for all the wrong reasons as the target of an investigation by the Autorité des marchés financiers (AMF), Quebec’s securities regulator, and of various court orders. Dominic Lacroix fought back against the AMF and the judgment in Autorité des marchés financiers v. Lacroix, 2018 QCCS 3894 is compelling for … Continue reading

Quebec Court of Appeal clarifies the essential elements of the offences of market manipulation and complicity under the Quebec Securities Act

On September 5, 2018, the Quebec Court of Appeal rendered a unanimous judgment in Autorité des marchés financiers c. Forget, 2018 QCCA 1419 (Forget) clarifying the essential elements of the mens rea offence of market manipulation set out at section 195.2 of the Quebec Securities Act (QSA): 195.2. Influencing or attempting to influence the market … Continue reading

SEC to Resume Administrative Law Proceedings Following Supreme Court Ruling

In response to the U.S. Supreme Court’s June 21, 2018 decision in Lucia v. SEC, No. 17-130, holding that administrative law judges (ALJs) at the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) had been improperly appointed because they had been appointed by SEC staff rather than the President or the full SEC, which was discussed in … Continue reading

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
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