Hearing Panel of the Central Regional Council:
- Paul M. Moore, Chair
- Guenther Kleberg, Industry Representative
Brendan Forbes, Enforcement Counsel for the Mutual Fund Dealers Association of Canada
Ashley Thomassen, Counsel for Respondent
Sageev Satchithanantham, Respondent
- The Hearing Panel accepted the settlement agreement dated September 20, 2021 (“Settlement Agreement”) between the staff of the MFDA (“Staff”) and Sageev Satchithanantham (“Respondent”) at an electronic settlement hearing held in accordance with MFDA rules for an electronic hearing.
- 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 February 2015 and April 2017, the Respondent photocopied signature pages from account forms that had been signed by clients and re-used the signature pages to complete 8 additional forms in respect of 6 clients, contrary to MFDA Rule 2.1.1;
- between June 2014 and May 2019, the Respondent obtained, possessed and used to process transactions, 80 pre-signed account forms in respect of 47 clients, contrary to MFDA Rule 2.1.1; and
- between February 2015 and February 2018, the Respondent altered and used to process transactions, 18 account forms in respect of 13 clients, by altering the account forms without having the client initial the alterations, contrary to MFDA Rule 2.1.1.
- Under the terms of the Settlement Agreement, the Respondent:
- will be suspended for one month from conducting securities related business
- will pay a fine of $20,000;
- will pay costs of $5,000; and
- will complete an ethics or professional conduct course within 6 months of acceptance of the Settlement Agreement.
- The Hearing Panel determined that it had to be satisfied regarding three considerations before it could accept the Settlement Agreement. First, the agreed penalties had to be within an acceptable range taking into account similar cases. Secondly, the agreed penalties 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 penalties 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 penalties.
- The Hearing Panel determined that the alleged misconduct was in contravention of MFDA Rule 2.1.1.
Other considerations in determining acceptability of agreed penalties
- There was no evidence that the Respondent received any financial 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 costs award is reasonable.
- 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.
- We concluded that the Settlement Agreement was in the public interest and, consequently, we accepted it.
Paul M. MoorePaul M. MooreChair
Guenther KlebergGuenther KlebergIndustry Representative