Reasons for Decision
File No. 201519
IN THE MATTER OF A DISCIPLINARY HEARING
PURSUANT TO SECTIONS 20 AND 24OF BY-LAW NO. 1 OF
THE MUTUAL FUND DEALERS ASSOCIATION OF CANADA
Re: Terry William Sukman
Heard: April 19, 2016 in Toronto, Ontario
Reasons for Decision: May 9, 2016
REASONS FOR DECISION
Hearing Panel of the Central Regional Council:
The Hon. Patrick T. Galligan, Q.C.
Brigitte J. Geisler
Guenther W. K. Kleberg
Counsel for the Mutual Fund Dealers
Association of Canada
Counsel for the Respondent
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By Notice of Hearing dated July 21, 2015, The Mutual Fund Dealers Association of
Canada (the “MFDA”) made the following allegations of misconduct against Terry William
Sukman (the “Respondent”):
Allegation #1: Between August 2012 and May 2013, the Respondent accepted and held a
power of attorney for property from client XX, and was appointed as estate trustee, executor
and trustee of client XX in her Will, contrary to MFDA Rules 2.3.1, 2.1.4 and 2.1.1.
Allegation #2: Between August 2012 and May 2013, the Respondent engaged in personal
financial dealings with client XX by:
(a) accepting an entitlement to a $10,000 legacy in lieu of executor fees; and
(b) accepting joint ownership in one account and designation as beneficiary of two accounts
held by client XX at the Member,
thereby giving rise to conflicts or potential conflicts of interest between the Respondent and
client XX which the Respondent failed to address by the exercise of responsible business
judgment influenced only by the best interest of client XX, contrary to MFDA Rules 2.1.4
At the first appearance, held on September 9, 2015, the hearing was fixed to proceed on
January 19 and 20, 2016. The hearing was later adjourned, upon the consent of the parties, to
April 19 and 20, 2016.
When the case came on for hearing the parties advised that they would proceed on the
basis of an Agreed Statement of Facts and that they would make a joint submission in respect to
the penalty to be imposed. The Agreed Statement of Facts was filed as an exhibit.
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We then reviewed the Agreed Statement of Facts, heard the submissions of counsel for
the parties and withdrew from the hearing room to consider our decision.
After deliberation we decided that the allegations made in the Notice of Hearing had been
established to the required degree of proof and that the joint submission as to penalty should be
accepted. We returned to the hearing room and advised the parties of our decision and that
written reasons for the decision would be delivered in due course. These are those reasons.
All of the circumstances relevant to our decision are found in Parts III and IV of the
Agreed Statement of Facts. For ease of reference we set out those Parts in full.
ADMISSIONS AND ISSUES TO BE DETERMINED
The Respondent has reviewed this Agreed Statement of Facts and admits the facts
set out in Part IV herein. The Respondent admits that the facts in Part IV constitute
misconduct for which the Respondent may be penalized on the exercise of the discretion
of a Hearing Panel pursuant to s. 24.1 of By-law No. 1.
Subject to the determination of the Hearing Panel, Staff submits, and the
Respondent does not oppose, that the appropriate penalty to impose on the Respondent is:
(a) a prohibition on the Respondent’s authority to conduct securities related
business while in the employ of or associated with any MFDA Member for a
period of one year, pursuant to s. 24.1.1(e) of MFDA By-law No. 1;
(b) a fine in the amount of $10,000 pursuant to s. 24.1.1(b) of MFDA By-law No.
(c) costs in the amount of $2,500 pursuant to s. 24.2 of MFDA By-law No. 1.
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Staff and the Respondent agree that submissions made with respect to the
appropriate penalty are based only on the agreed facts in Part IV and no other facts or
documents. In the event the Hearing Panel advises one or both of Staff and the
Respondent of any additional facts it considers necessary to determine the issues before
it, Staff and the Respondent agree that such additional facts shall be provided to the
Hearing Panel only with the consent of both Staff and the Respondent. If the Respondent
is not present at the hearing, Staff may disclose additional relevant facts, at the request of
the Hearing Panel.
Nothing in this Part IV is intended to restrict the Respondent from making full
answer and defence to any civil or other proceedings against him.
Since July 1986, the Respondent has been registered in Ontario as a mutual fund
salesperson (now known as a dealing representative) with Investors Group Financial
Services Inc. (“Investors Group”), a Member of the MFDA.
At all material times, the Respondent operated out of a sub-branch located in
The Respondent has not previously been subject of disciplinary proceedings.
Client XX was born in 1925, and is currently 91 years of age. Client XX is a
widow with no immediate family. Client XX was a client of Investors Group whose
accounts were serviced by the Respondent between approximately 2004 and January
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Client XX held three accounts at Investors Group consisting of: (1) a non-
registered account; (2) a Registered Retired Income Fund account (“RRIF”); and (3) a
Tax Free Savings Account (“TFSA”) (collectively, the “Accounts”).
At all material times, client XX was unsophisticated financially, and a novice
Over the years that the Respondent serviced client XX’s accounts, the Respondent
assisted client XX with her financial and personal affairs, including accompanying her to
the bank, preparing and filing her income tax returns, and paying her bills. In 2011 and
2012, the Respondent observed that client XX’s physical and mental health was
In the period that the Respondent serviced client XX’s accounts, client XX
amended her Power of Attorney (“POA”) and Will multiple times.
Appointment as Power of Attorney for Property and as Executor in Client XX’s
Beginning in 2011, client XX approached the Respondent about becoming her:
(a) POA for property; and
(b) executor and partial beneficiary of her estate.
The Respondent states that client XX asked the Respondent if he knew a lawyer.
The Respondent states that he provided client XX with the name of a lawyer who he
knew did estates work. The Respondent states that for about a year, client XX continued
to ask the Respondent to take her to that lawyer.
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The Respondent kept an electronic written record on the Investors Group
interactions log dated May 2, 2012 of his discussion with client XX, where he wrote:
“Since having the recent dispute with BNS and her manager and not fully
understanding her billing [XX] is worried about her estate. She has approached
me about becoming her POA both medical and financial as well as the executor
and partial beneficiary of her estate. There is much to talk about but she wants to
relieve her old neighbor and current solicitor from her estate. Her reasoning is that
I do almost everything for her and have become kind of a surrogate family
member. I still have to pass this through IG Tom MacKechan and Ken Beck. This
will mean that I will have to relinquish her accounts and she is aware of this. Her
mental faculties are beginning to slow and she is having a harder time coping with
monetary issues. She has indicated that it is her bequest to leave her house to me.”
In or about August 2012, the Respondent called the lawyer to provide a
description of client XX’s history and asked if the lawyer could assist client XX.
In or about August 2012, at the request of client XX, the Respondent took client
XX to meet with the lawyer. The Respondent states that he was not present at any
meetings that client XX had with her lawyer, and he waited outside while client XX met
with the lawyer. The lawyer advised the Respondent that client XX left him a $10,000
bequest in her Will.
At the request of client XX, the Respondent also took client XX for a second visit
to the lawyer, at which time client XX obtained the signed POA and Will from the
On August 7, 2012, client XX appointed the Respondent as her POA for property.
Client XX appointed her family friend as a substitute POA in the event that the
Respondent refused or resigned as a POA.
On August 7, 2012, client XX also appointed the Respondent as her POA for
personal care, jointly and severally, with client XX’s family friend. The Respondent
states that it was during the course of Staff’s investigation in or about May 2014 that he
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first became aware that he was appointed as POA for personal care. This does not form
part of the allegations of misconduct in the matter.
On August 16, 2012, client XX executed her Will and designated the Respondent
(a) estate trustee, executor and trustee of her Will;
(b) beneficiary of a $10,000 legacy in lieu of executor fees; and
(c) beneficiary of any residue of her estate.
The Respondent states that it was during the course of Staff’s investigation in
May 2014 that he first became aware that he was designated as a beneficiary of any
residue of client XX’s estate. This does not form part of the allegations of misconduct in
Client XX appointed her family friend as a substitute estate trustee, executor and
trustee of her Will in the event that the Respondent was unable or unwilling to act on her
behalf. The Respondent states that he did not review client XX’s Will nor did he receive
a copy of it.
The Respondent was concerned about client XX’s mental health in the period of
August 2012 during the time that she amended the POA and Will, as described above.
The Respondent did not disclose to Investors Group that he accepted and held a
POA from client XX or that he was named in any capacity in client XX’s Will.
The Respondent did not exercise his authority as POA or his designations under
the Will at any given time.
The Respondent states that in January or February 2013, he contacted a chartered
accountant that he knew, but who was not previously known to client XX, to replace him
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as a POA for client XX and a meeting was held with client XX in this regard. The
Respondent further states that client XX did not appoint this person as her new POA.
Joint Ownership and Designation as Beneficiary of Client XX’s Accounts
On or about January 17, 2013, client XX notified the Respondent that she wanted
to leave her Investors Group assets to him in the event of her death.
As a result, the Respondent proceeded to transfer the Accounts to a new advisor at
Investors Group (the “New Advisor”). The Respondent chose the New Advisor and
introduced client XX to him. The Respondent provided the New Advisor with client
XX’s POA, which was then submitted to Investors Group on or about January 28, 2013.
The Respondent states that he believed that by transferring the accounts of client
XX to the New Advisor in January 2013 that there would be no conflict of interest
between him and client XX.
The Respondent did not advise Investors Group that client XX notified the
Respondent that she wished to leave her Investors Group assets to him. The Respondent
did not notify his branch manager or anyone else at Investors Group that he was taking
steps to transfer client XX’s Accounts to the New Advisor.
As of about January 17, 2013, the Respondent was no longer the servicing advisor
of the Accounts and had no access to the Accounts.
At a meeting attended by the New Advisor, the Respondent and Client XX on or
about January 23, 2013, the Respondent and client XX signed Investor Group forms that
added the Respondent as:
(a) the sole beneficiary of client XX’s RRIF;
(b) the sole beneficiary of client XX’s TFSA; and
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(c) joint owner with client XX on a new non-registered account.
The form naming the Respondent as client XX’s designated beneficiary on the
TFSA account provided that the designated beneficiary is entitled to receive the proceeds
of client XX’s TFSA in the event of her death, and directs Investors Group to pay all of
her assets or their value to the Respondent. The effect of being designated as a
beneficiary on client XX’s RRIF is an entitlement to the proceeds of the RRIF in the
event of client XX’s death.
At all material times, Investors Group’s policies and procedures manual provided
(a) joint owners have the right of survivorship, such that on the death of any joint
account owner, the interest in the deceased joint owner will pass directly to
the surviving owners and will not form part of the estate of the deceased
(b) every owner in a joint account has an equal interest in the account, and share
equally in the income and capital gains generated by the joint account.
As at or about the date the Respondent became a beneficiary, the approximate
balance of the TFSA and RRIF accounts were as follows:
(a) Client XX’s RRIF: $152,714; and
(b) Client XX’s TFSA: $22,194.
In a letter to client XX dated February 4, 2013, a representative of the client
services department at Investors Group acknowledged receipt of the POA and confirmed
that the Respondent may now give instructions on client XX’s behalf with respect to her
Accounts. As described below, Investors Group’s compliance department discovered the
POA during its investigation and advised the Respondent that acting as a POA was
contrary to its policies.
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Investors Group’s Investigation
At the request of client XX, on or about February 14, 2013, $179,391.75 were
transferred from client XX’s individual account to the joint account held by the
Respondent and client XX.
On February 20, 2013, Investors Group conducted a trade review and detected the
transfer of assets to the joint account. Further investigation identified the POA that was
granted on August 7, 2012 that was submitted to Investors Group on January 28, 2013,
naming the Respondent. Investors Group immediately commenced an investigation.
On or about February 22, 2013, Investors Group reversed the transfer of client
XX’s individual non-registered account to the joint account held by her and the
Respondent, and removed the Respondent as beneficiary of client XX’s RRIF and TFSA
On or about April 12, 2013, client XX complained to Investors Group about the
Respondent being her POA and being named on her accounts. Client XX advised that she
no longer wished the New Advisor to be her advisor, and instructed the Member to assign
a new advisor from another office as soon as possible.
In response, Investors Group advised client XX that “[i]n light of your intentions
and signing the documentation we conclude you should have been aware of the details
outlined in your Will and you have had appointed [the Respondent] as POA and
executor” and that “you felt he was trustworthy of these roles and considered him to be a
surrogate family member”.
It further stated that “we understand that you were not pleased with either [the
Respondent] or [the New Advisor] when they provided you with their opinion regarding
your spending habits, living arrangements or what you should or should not do in your
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home. These topics can be sensitive in nature and from the view of a financial advisor it
is their duty to ensure spending habits are brought to your attention and ensure you are on
target for your financial objectives. This does include the possibility of downsizing. In
my discussion with [the Respondent] and [the New Advisor] they were simply giving you
their professional advice for consideration and did not mean to offend you.”
It further stated “In summary of our findings, although we confirmed you agreed
and authorized the appointment of Mr. Sukman as beneficiary on your accounts, POA
and Executor, Mr. Sukman should not have accepted these responsibilities or be the
recipient of any bequest from you. As your financial advisor, this is a conflict of interest.
Mr. Sukman understood he could proceed provided a new servicing consultant was
assigned to you. However, having [New Advisor] assigned to you, did not remove this
On or about May 30, 2013, client XX removed the Respondent as POA and as
executor, beneficiary and trustee in her Will.
Beginning in June 2013, Investors Group placed the Respondent on close
On February 6, 2014, Investors Group issued a letter of reprimand to the
Respondent advising him that he contravened Investors Group’s policies and regulatory
requirements by being appointed as POA for client XX and an executor for client XX’s
Will, and being named as a beneficiary and joint owner on client XX’s accounts.
Investors Group’s Policies and Procedures
At all material times, Investors Group’s policies and procedures expressly
prohibited its Approved Persons from acting as POA for clients, acting as an executor of
a client’s estate, or being named as a beneficiary to a client’s estate or an Investors Group
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account, unless the client is a member of the Approved Person’s immediate family under
The Respondent has cooperated with Staff throughout the course of Staff’s
investigation and this proceeding.
Client XX received legal advice in respect of the changes to her POA and her
Will. Client XX met with the New Advisor and the Respondent in respect of the changes
to her Accounts. The Respondent states that he did not solicit these changes.
The Respondent has not been the subject of prior MFDA disciplinary
The Respondent has retired from the mutual fund industry and presently has no
intention of returning to the industry.
There is no evidence that:
(a) the Respondent received any financial benefit from client XX; and
(b) Client XX suffered any financial harm as a result of the Respondent’s
By admitting the facts and contraventions described above, the Respondent has:
(a) expressed remorse for his actions; and
(b) saved the MFDA the time and resources associated with conducting a fully
contested hearing on the merits.
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By engaging in the conduct described above, the Respondent admits that:
(a) between August 2012 and May 2013, he held a POA for property from client XX,
and was appointed as estate trustee, executor and trustee of client XX in her Will,
contrary to MFDA Rules 2.3.1, 2.1.4 and 2.1.1;
(b) between August 2012 and May 30, 2013, he was a beneficiary of a $10,000
legacy in lieu of executor fees, in the Will of Client XX, contrary to Rules 2.1.4
and 2.1.1; and
(c) in January 2013, he accepted a joint ownership in one account and a designation
as beneficiary of two accounts held by client XX at the Member, contrary to
MFDA Rules 2.1.4 and 2.1.1.
PROOF OF MISCONDUCT
The facts set out in the Agreed Statement of Facts, and the Respondent‘s admission in
paragraph 58 thereof, make a detailed examination of the circumstances or of the provisions of
MFDA Rules 2.3.1, 2.1.4 and 2.1.1 unnecessary. We can say shortly, that the allegations set out
in the Notice of Hearing have been established to the requisite degree of proof.
The MFDA has suggested that the appropriate penalty to be imposed upon the
a) a prohibition on the Respondent’s authority to conduct securities related business
while in the employ of or associated with any MFDA Member for a period of one
year, pursuant to s. 24.1.1(e) of MFDA By-law No. 1;
b) a fine in the amount of $10,000 pursuant to s. 24.1.1(b) of MFDA By-law No. 1; and
c) costs in the amount of $2,500 pursuant to s. 24.2 of MFDA By-law No. 1.
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The Respondent does not oppose that penalty. In fact the parties have made a joint
submission to us that we should impose that penalty in this case.
Generally speaking it is the duty of a Hearing Panel to impose the penalty which it thinks
is appropriate, in a particular case, having regard to a number of well-known and commonly
applied factors. Many reported decisions have set out a number of factors which should be
considered in determining an appropriate penalty in a given case. The fundamental purpose of a
penalty is the protection of the investing public. Among many other factors that a Hearing Panel
will consider are specific and general deterrence, the seriousness of the misconduct involved, the
protection of the repute of MFDA’s Members and employees and the meaningfulness of its
enforcement process. A Hearing Panel will always have to consider any circumstances of
mitigation. The discretion of a Hearing Panel to decide what is an appropriate penalty is quite a
However, when the parties make a joint submission about the penalty to be imposed the
broadness of a Hearing Panel’s discretion is significantly restricted. The Court of Appeal for
Ontario, in R. v. R.W.E.,  O.J. No. 2515 at para. 22 has stated:
It is trite law that a sentencing judge is not bound to accept a joint submission. It
is well settled, however, that a judge should not reject a joint submission unless it
is contrary to the public interest and the sentence would bring the administration
of justice into disrepute. (Authorities omitted)
This decision was referred to with approval by the Hearing Panel in McAuley (Re) 2011,
LNCMFDA. At para. 5 it stated:
There is ample authority for the principle that a hearing panel should not interfere
with a joint recommendation of MFDA Staff and the Respondent unless the
recommendation is seen to be manifestly unfit. (Emphasis is added)
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The respect paid by the courts and hearing panels to joint submissions is founded in the
importance of settlements in the criminal and disciplinary processes. While it was dealing with a
Settlement Hearing, the Hearing Panel in an IIROC case, Re Vorstadt 2012 IIROC, stated at p.4:
… we wish to stress the importance of respect for the settlement process.
Settlement leads to fair, efficient and economical resolution of disciplinary
matters. The settlement process should be encouraged and supported.
In order to encourage and support the settlement process the courts say that a joint
submission may be rejected only if it is contrary to the public interest and would bring the
administration into disrepute. Disciplinary tribunals say that it may be interfered with only if it is
We consider this a serious case. The Respondent’s acceptance of a Power of Attorney
was a clear and flagrant breach of Rule 2.3.1(a). As appears from his note, on May 2, 2012, in
the interactions log, he was well aware that his conduct was problematic. Yet he proceeded with
The Respondent’s conflict of interest conduct went far beyond mere inadvertence. His
client was in her late 80’s. She was unsophisticated financially and a novice investor. In May
2012 he knew that her mental faculties were beginning to slow and that she was having a harder
time with monetary issues. As early as 2011 he had observed that his client’s physical and
mental health was declining. By August of 2012 he was concerned about his client’s mental
health. She was a very vulnerable person at the time she benefited him in her Will and by her
disposition of her accounts.
There are important circumstances of mitigation. The Respondent has had a long and
unblemished career in the financial industry. He made no attempt to avoid his responsibility for
his conduct. He has shown remorse by admitting his misconduct and cooperating fully with the
MFDA investigation. There is no evidence of financial gain to him or loss to his client.
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We think it important to state that if we had been called upon to determine the
appropriate penalty in this case, at the conclusion of a contested hearing, where there was not a
joint submission, the penalty would not have been the penalty which has been jointly submitted
to us. The suspension part of the penalty would have been substantially greater than one year.
Our task, however, is not to determine the appropriate penalty for this particular case.
Our task is to ask ourselves whether we can say that a one-year suspension is contrary to the
public interest and likely to bring the administration of justice into disrepute or is manifestly
unfit. After anxious consideration we are unable to say that the penalty is so unfit as to entitle us
to interfere with the joint submission.
Because no two cases are ever the same it is not always helpful to compare decisions in
other cases. However we note that in one case, which on its facts is not dissimilar to this one, a
Hearing Panel approved a settlement of an identical penalty. See Karasick (Re),  MFDA
Counsel for the MFDA also brought to our attention two cases where settlements were
approved which involved serious conflicts of interest and where the penalties were less than the
penalty which has been suggested in this one. See Sakkejha (Re),  MFDA No. 201140 and
Lambros (Re),  MFDA No. 201022.
In addition he referred us to Ryan (Re),  MFDA No. 201014. The decision in that
case was made after a hearing at which the Respondent did not appear. He misused a Power of
Attorney and obtained funds from an elderly client which he did not repay. In addition he failed
to cooperate with the MFDA investigation. The penalty included a large fine and a permanent
Those cases show that there can be a wide range of penalties for this type of misconduct.
This case falls well within that range. Thus we were unable to say that the penalty, which had
been jointly submitted to us, is either contrary to the public interest and likely to bring the
administration of justice into disrepute or manifestly unfit.
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For the reasons set out herein we make the following decision:
1. The allegations set out in the Notice of Hearing have been established.
2. The following penalty is imposed upon the Respondent:
(a) a prohibition on the Respondent’s authority to conduct securities related business
while in the employ of or associated with any MFDA Member for a period of one
year, pursuant to s. 24.1.1(e) of MFDA By-law No. 1;
(b) a fine in the amount of $10,000 pursuant to s. 24.1.1(b) of MFDA By-law No. 1;
(c) costs in the amount of $2,500 pursuant to s. 24.2 of MFDA By-law No. 1.
DATED this 9th day of May, 2016.
“P. T. Galligan”
The Hon. P. T. Galligan, Q.C.
“Brigitte J. Geisler”
Brigitte J. Geisler
“Guenther W. K. Kleberg”
Guenther W. K. Kleberg
DM 480432 v1
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