IN THE MATTER OF A DISCIPLINARY HEARING PURSUANT TO SECTIONS 20 AND 24 OF BY-LAW NO. 1 OF THE MUTUAL FUND DEALERS ASSOCIATION OF CANADA
Re: Sungsoo (Steve) Lee
NOTICE OF HEARING
NOTICE is hereby given that a first appearance will take place by teleconference before a hearing panel of the Pacific Regional Council (“Hearing Panel”) of the Mutual Fund Dealers Association of Canada (“MFDA”) on March 2, 2022 at 11:00 a.m. (Pacific), or as soon thereafter as the appearance can be held, concerning a disciplinary proceeding commenced by the MFDA against Sungsoo (Steve) Lee (“Respondent”). Members of the public who would like to listen to the teleconference should contact firstname.lastname@example.org to obtain particulars.
Michelle PongMichelle PongDirector, Regional Councils
Mutual Fund Dealers Association of Canada
121 King St. West, Suite 1000
Toronto, ON M5H 3T9
NOTICE is further given that the MFDA alleges the following violations of the By-laws, Rules or Policies of the MFDA:
Allegation #1: Commencing in October 2020, the Respondent failed to cooperate with an investigation into his conduct by MFDA Staff, contrary to section 22.1 of MFDA By-law No. 1.
NOTICE is further given that the following is a summary of the facts alleged and intended to be relied upon by the MFDA at the hearing:
- From on or about December 2, 2002 to December 5, 2018, the Respondent was registered in British Columbia as a dealing representative with BMO Investments Inc. (the “Member”), a Member of the MFDA.
- On December 5, 2018, the Member terminated the Respondent’s registration.
- The Respondent is no longer registered in the securities industry in any capacity.
- At all material times, the Respondent carried on business in the Burnaby, British Columbia area.
Allegation #1 – Failure to Cooperate
- In January 2019, the Member reported allegations to the MFDA concerning the Respondent and other Approved Persons registered with the Member. After receiving the information, Staff of the MFDA (“Staff”) commenced an investigation into the conduct of the Respondent and other Approved Persons in order to determine, among other things, the following: (i) whether the Respondent had instructed other Approved Persons to open client accounts, complete Know-Your-Client information for clients, and process transactions in the accounts of clients without those Approved Persons obtaining instructions directly from those clients in order to confirm the information received, confirm the elements of the transactions, and ensure that the transactions were suitable and authorized by the client; (ii) whether the Respondent provided pre-signed forms to the Approved Persons for them to complete and use to process transactions; and (iii) whether arrangements and business dealings between the Respondent and the other Approved Persons complied with regulatory requirements and the policies and procedures of the Member.
- As described in further detail below, Staff contacted the Respondent multiple times to arrange his attendance at an interview to answer questions relevant to the subject-matter of Staff’s investigation, however, the Respondent failed to attend an interview with Staff.
- On July 21, 2020, Staff emailed a letter to the Respondent (the “July 21, 2020 Letter”) requesting that the Respondent contact Staff within ten business days, by August 4, 2021, in order to schedule an interview. The Respondent did not respond to the July 21, 2020 Letter.
- On August 13, 2020, Staff still had not received a response from the Respondent to the July 21, 2020 Letter, so Staff sent a second email to the Respondent and requested that the Respondent contact Staff by August 18, 2020 to inform Staff on which dates, between October 12 and 30, 2020, he would be available to attend an interview.
- On August 17, 2020, the Respondent emailed Staff stating that he would “try to make [him]self available for an interview either on 27th or 28th Oct for now”.
- On August 20, 2020, Staff advised the Respondent that his interview had been scheduled to take place on October 28, 2020 by teleconference.
- On September 10, 2020, counsel for the Respondent confirmed to Staff that both he and the Respondent were available on October 28, 2020.
- On September 24, 2020, counsel for the Respondent wrote Staff stating, among other things, that the Respondent’s first language was not English and that it was easier for him to deal in his first language should he be required to attend an interview.
- On October 5, 2020, Staff sent a letter to counsel for the Respondent requesting that he confirm his availability to attend an electronic interview on October 28, 2020. Staff also stated that it was willing to retain a language interpreter for the interview.
- On October 16, 2020, counsel for the Respondent informed Staff that he did not have instructions with regard to the Respondent’s attendance at an interview.
- On October 26, 2020, Staff reminded counsel for the Respondent that the Respondent’s electronic interview was scheduled to take place on October 28, 2020. Staff also informed counsel for the Respondent that it had retained a language interpreter for the interview. Staff requested that counsel for the Respondent confirm by the end of the day that he and the Respondent would attend the interview.
- On October 26, 2020, counsel for the Respondent sent a letter to Staff stating, among other things, that the Respondent would not attend the interview for medical reasons.
- On November 2, 2020, Staff requested that counsel for the Respondent provide a doctor’s note detailing why the Respondent was unable to attend an interview.
- On November 10, 2020, counsel for the Respondent provided a note from a doctor, dated October 26, 2020, which did not detail why the Respondent would be unable to attend an interview.
- On November 13, 2020, Staff sent a letter to counsel for the Respondent requesting that he confirm the Respondent’s attendance at an interview on November 19, 2020, November 25, 2020, or November 26, 2020; or provide a medical note outlining the reason why the Respondent would be unable to attend an interview.
- In December 2020, counsel for the Respondent provided two additional medical notes to Staff which did not detail why the Respondent would be unable to attend an interview.
- None of the medical notes the Respondent provided (i) identified the Respondent’s medical condition; (ii) specified a date when the Respondent was expected to be able to attend an interview with Staff; or (iii) provided an explanation as to why the Respondent could not attend such an interview. Staff repeatedly requested that the Respondent provide information and documentation to address the shortcomings of the medical notes, but the Respondent did not do so.
- On multiple occasions, in November 2020, December 2020, and February 2021, Staff wrote to counsel for the Respondent offering to accommodate the Respondent’s medical condition and informing the Respondent that Staff was willing to consider any accommodations which the Respondent felt would be necessary to facilitate the Respondent’s participation in an interview with Staff. The Respondent did not identify accommodations which would facilitate his participation in an interview.
- The Respondent failed or refused to attend or schedule an interview to answer questions concerning the matters under investigation.
- As a result of the Respondent’s failure to cooperate with Staff’s investigation, Staff has been unable to determine the full nature and extent of the conduct under investigation.
- By virtue of the foregoing, the Respondent failed to cooperate with an investigation into his conduct by Staff, contrary to section 22.1 of MFDA By-law No. 1.