MFDA Penalty Guidelines – Purpose

The MFDA Penalty Guidelines (the "Guidelines") have been prepared to assist:

  • MFDA Staff and Respondents in conducting disciplinary proceedings (including negotiating settlement agreements) pursuant to s. 20 and 24 of MFDA By-law No. 1
  • Hearing Panels in the fair and efficient imposition of penalties in settled or contested disciplinary proceedings commenced pursuant to s. 20 and s. 24 of MFDA By-law No.1.

Part I of the Guidelines sets out the general principles that should be considered in penalty decisions in all disciplinary cases. Part I also summarizes the various types of penalties that may be imposed pursuant to s. 24 of MFDA By-law No. 1.

Part II of the Guidelines provides a brief description of the case types that commonly arise. Part II also lists specific factors that are usually applicable to each case type and should be considered in addition to the general principles set out in Part I. Finally, Part II sets out the types and ranges of penalties appropriate to each case type.

Part II is not intended to be exhaustive of all possible case types. Where a disciplinary proceeding involves a case type other than one described in Part II, guidance as to the appropriate types and ranges of penalties to impose may be obtained by way of comparison with one of the existing case types.

Range is Guideline Only

The penalty types and ranges stated in the Guidelines are not mandatory. The Guidelines suggest the types and ranges of penalties that would be appropriate for particular case types. The Guidelines are intended to provide a basis upon which discretion can be exercised consistently and fairly in like circumstances but are not binding on a Hearing Panel.

Depending on the facts and circumstances of a case, MFDA Staff and Hearing Panels may determine that no purpose is served by imposing a penalty within the range stated in the Guidelines; i.e., that a penalty below the stated range, or no penalty at all, is appropriate. Conversely, MFDA Staff and Hearing Panels may determine that egregious misconduct, the need for increased deterrence, or certain policy considerations require the imposition of penalties above or otherwise outside of a stated range. Lastly, the facts and circumstances of a particular case may warrant that penalties of a different type than those stated in the Guidelines are appropriate.

MFDA Staff and Hearing Panels must always exercise judgment and discretion and consider appropriate aggravating and mitigating factors in determining appropriate penalties in every case. In addition, whether the penalties are within or outside of the range stated in the Guidelines, MFDA Staff and Hearing Panels must identify the basis for the penalties imposed.