An IIROC hearing panel has accepted a settlement agreement, with sanctions, between IIROC staff and Graeme Robert Kirkland.
Kirkland admitted he failed to consider and address a potential material conflict of interest with clients, and failed to escalate a client’s written complaint to his employer, an IIROC enforcement notice says.
The settlement agreement says Kirkland made numerous recommendations to clients to purchase new issues, for which he earned a percentage of commissions paid to his firm, BMO, that roughly doubled his earnings.
Kirkland earned about $477,000 in net commissions in 2013 and 2014 as a result of new issues purchases, the agreement says. BMO earned fees and commissions on these same purchases of about $1,908,900.
“The commissions paid to him by BMO influenced his decision, at least in part, to recommend new issues to his clients,” says the settlement agreement.
A client, 67 and retired, requested a meeting with Kirkland to review the “dismal performance” of his accounts, according to the written client complaint. He also inquired about a second opinion from the firm’s investment supervisor. Kirkland failed to escalate the complaint and instead told the client not to focus on the account value alone, the settlement agreement says.
Kirkland agreed to a global fine of $90,000 inclusive of disgorgement, and to pay costs of $10,000.
Since February 2017, Kirkland has been registered with another IIROC dealer member, “working under close supervision as a term of his registration due to this proceeding,” says the settlement agreement.