Quebec’s securities regulator generated more than $5 million in fines and penalties and returned nearly as much to investors during the fiscal year ended March 31.
The latest enforcement report from the Autorité des marchés financiers (AMF), released Thursday, said a total of 63 firms and individuals were sanctioned by the courts for various offences during the past year. That compares to 83 the year before.
The resulting fines and administrative penalties totalled $5.56 million, with $3.86 million imposed by the courts, amid a transition to virtual hearings. In the previous year, those figures were $17.65 million and $15.49 million respectively.
Among the penalties was $1 million against Desjardins Financial Services Firm for conflicted compensation and other regulatory breaches.
The report also noted that enforcement led to four people receiving a total of about six years of jail time (compared to six people and six years in the previous year), and the regulator also banned 16 industry people and issued 10 freeze orders.
About $4.25 million was returned to investors, compared to $1.35 million in the previous year. Legislative changes helped the AMF meet its reimbursement objective, the report said.
“Our inspection, investigation and prosecution teams were very proactive and able to maintain their operations, resulting in a large number of prosecutions and in important rulings that sent a deterrent message,” said Jean-François Fortin, the AMF’s executive director of enforcement, in a release.
The report also described the regulator’s continuing offensive on cryptoassets and its technological advances to detect potential violations and manage investigation and prosecutions. Developing technological tools for enforcement continues to be a priority on the regulator’s agenda for 2021–2022.