MFDA Hearing Panel issues Reasons for Decision in the matter of Shelley Will
February 2, 2018 (Toronto, Ontario) – A Hearing Panel of the Prairie Regional Council of the Mutual Fund Dealers Association of Canada (“MFDA”) has issued its Reasons for Decision dated February 1, 2018 in connection with a settlement hearing held in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan on September 13, 2017 in the matter of Shelley Willow Will (“Respondent”).
In its Reasons for Decision, the Hearing Panel confirmed the sanctions imposed on the Respondent, namely:
- a permanent prohibition from conducting securities related business in any capacity while in the employ of or associated with any MFDA Member;
- a fine in the amount of $10,000 (“Fine”);
- costs in the amount of $5,000 (“Costs”); and
- the Fine and Costs shall be paid in six installments, with the first installment of $2,500 to be paid on the date of the settlement hearing, and the remaining five installments payable on the last business day of the five months following the date of acceptance of the Settlement Agreement.
In the Settlement Agreement dated July 18, 2017, the Respondent admitted that:
- between about November 5, 2004 and January 31, 2013, she recommended to at least 264 clients that the clients concentrate all or a substantial portion of their investment holdings in precious metals sector funds, without using adequate due diligence to assess the suitability of her investment recommendations on a client-by-client basis having regard to the essential Know-Your-Client (“KYC”) factors relevant to each individual client, including the client’s risk tolerance, investment objectives and investment knowledge, contrary to MFDA Rules 2.2.1 and 2.1.1;
- between about November 5, 2004 and January 31, 2013, she recorded on account forms in respect of least 264 clients that the clients had, among other things, “100% high” risk tolerance, “100% aggressive growth” investment objectives, and “good” or better investment knowledge, in order to ensure that her investment recommendations to concentrate all or a substantial portion of the clients’ investment holdings in precious metals sector funds would be suitable for each client;
- between about November 5, 2004 and January 31, 2013, she failed to fully and adequately explain, or omitted to explain the risks and benefits of investing in precious metals sector funds, thereby failing to ensure that her recommendations were suitable for the clients and in keeping with their investment objectives, contrary to MFDA Rules 2.2.1 and 2.1.1; and
- between December 7, 2014 and November 2, 2015, she obtained, possessed and in some cases, used to process transactions, 16 pre-signed client account forms in respect of nine (9) clients, contrary to MFDA Rule 2.1.1.
Copies of the Reasons for Decision and the Settlement Agreement are available on the MFDA website at www.mfda.ca. During the period described in the Reasons for Decision, the Respondent carried on business in the North Battleford, Saskatchewan area.
The MFDA is the self-regulatory organization for Canadian mutual fund dealers, regulating the operations, standards of practice and business conduct of its Members and their approximately 83,000 Approved Persons with a mandate to protect investors and the public interest. For more information about the MFDA’s complaint and enforcement processes, as well as links to ‘Check an Advisor’ and other Investor Tools, visit the For Investors page on the MFDA website.