Hearing Panel of the Central Regional Council:
- Paul M. Moore, Q.C., Chair, Chair
- Robert Christianson, Industry Representative, Industry Representative
Brendan Forbes, Enforcement Counsel for the Mutual Fund Dealers Association of Canada
Maureen Doherty, Counsel for the Respondent
Roland Martin Weiler, Respondent
I. SETTLEMENT AGREEMENT
- The Hearing Panel accepted the settlement agreement dated July 23, 2021 (“Settlement Agreement”) between the staff of the MFDA (“Staff”) and Roland Martin Weiler (“Respondent”) at an electronic settlement hearing held in accordance with MFDA rules for an electronic hearing.
- The Notice of Settlement Hearing for this settlement hearing was issued on July 26, 2021 which was 9 days before the hearing date. As permitted under the rules, we abrogated the 10 day notice requirement for a notice of this settlement hearing. The parties agreed to this abrogation. Since no details of the Settlement Agreement would be made known to the public unless and until the Hearing Panel decided to accept the Settlement Agreement, we perceived that there was no detriment to the public in this case in permitting the shorter notice period.
- A copy of the Settlement Agreement is attached to these Reasons as Schedule “1”. The agreed facts are set out in section III of the Settlement Agreement.
- The Respondent admitted that between March 2014 and January 2018, the Respondent or his assistant for whom he was responsible obtained, possessed, and in some instances, used to process transactions, 45 pre-signed account forms in respect of 20 clients, contrary to MFDA Rule 2.1.1.
III. AGREED PENALTIES
- Under the terms of the Settlement Agreement, the Respondent:
- will pay a fine of $20,000;
- will pay costs of $5,000; and
- will be suspended from conducting securities related business for one month.
- The Hearing Panel determined that it had to be satisfied regarding three considerations before it could accept the Settlement Agreement. First, the agreed penalty had to be within an acceptable range taking into account similar cases. Secondly, the agreed penalty had to be fair and reasonable (i.e. proportional to the seriousness of the contravention taking into consideration relevant circumstances) and should appear to be so to members of the public and industry. Thirdly, the agreed penalty should serve as a deterrent to the Respondent and to industry. To be satisfied on these three considerations required an understanding of the particular facts of the case, the circumstances of the Respondent, and the impact on the Respondent of the agreed penalty.
- The Hearing Panel determined that the alleged misconduct was in contravention of MFDA Rule 2.1.1.
VI. OTHER CONSIDERATIONS IN DETERMINING ACCEPTABILITY OF AGREED PENALTIES
- The Respondent has been registered with several Members.
- As indicated in paragraph 22 of the Settlement Agreement, the Respondent in 2008 had retained in his files pre-signed forms with his Member at the time. He had signed an acknowledgement with that Member that he would not do so again. In 2009 that Member discovered that the Respondent had again retained pre-signed forms and the Member terminated the Respondent’s registration.
- On October 24, 2018, the Member whom he subsequently went with discovered pre-signed account forms in the Respondent’s files: it warned the Respondent against using pre-signed forms; it required the Respondent to complete a continuing education course; and it required the Respondent to pay a fine of $750.
- The Member subsequently discovered that the Respondent was still retaining pre-signed account forms in his files, and, on February 25, 2019, after another warning to the Respondent the Member required the Respondent to pay further fine of $2,500.
- By January 20, 2020 the Member had conducted a full review of client files maintained by the Respondent and identified more pre-signed account forms. The Respondent, however, had left that Member by June 2019.
- In June 2019 the Respondent joined his current Member who placed the Respondent under close supervision until the conclusion of this MFDA disciplinary proceeding.
- There was no evidence that the Respondent received any benefit from the conduct set out above beyond the commissions or fees he would ordinarily be entitled to receive had the transactions been carried out in the proper manner.
- There was no evidence of client complaints, client loss or lack of client authorization.
- The Respondent has not previously been the subject of MFDA disciplinary proceedings.
- By entering into this Settlement Agreement, the Respondent has saved the MFDA the time, resources, and expenses associated with conducting a full hearing on the allegations.
- The agreed penalties are within the recommendations of the MFDA Sanction Guidelines and the reasonable range of appropriateness with regard to MFDA decisions submitted to us by Staff and Respondent’s counsel, made by MFDA Hearing Panels in similar circumstances. They are fair and reasonable and will serve as a specific and general deterrent.
- The costs award is reasonable.
- We concluded that the Settlement Agreement was in the public interest and, consequently, we accepted it.
Paul M. Moore, Q.C., ChairPaul M. Moore, Q.C., ChairChair
Robert Christianson, Industry RepresentativeRobert Christianson, Industry RepresentativeIndustry Representative