The last chapter in the long-running First Leaside Securities Inc. scandal has come to a close with the formal termination of the firm’s membership in the Investment Industry Regulatory Organization of Canada (IIROC), after 10 years in suspension.
An IIROC hearing panel approved a motion expelling First Leaside from the self-regulatory organization on Sept. 16. The firm had been suspended by IIROC since February 2012, after it entered receivership.
The formal expulsion order noted that the firm’s receivership proceedings are now complete as is the distribution of its assets to creditors and investors.
The firm went into receivership after running into regulatory issues involving a capital shortfall at the firm amid regulators’ concerns about the business and its dealings with investors.
IIROC staff “is satisfied that there are no developments that make the termination of [First Leaside’s] membership contrary to the interests of [First Leaside’s] former clients and does not believe that any new client claims will be received,” the hearing panel said.
In 2013, IIROC permanently banned the firm’s two top executives — David Phillips and John Wilson. It also fined Phillips $2 million, fined Wilson $500,000 and ordered them to pay $230,000 in costs after finding they violated IIROC’s rules by misleading investors into buying the firm’s risky exempt products.
Phillips was also banned and ordered to pay $9.5 million in penalties and disgorgement by the Ontario Securities Commission (OSC), and Wilson was fined $400,000.
They appealed the OSC’s findings in court, but the regulator’s decision was upheld in a decision of the Superior Court of Justice in 2016.