If you are being investigated or prosecuted by the Ontario Securities Commission (“OSC”), or other securities regulators, such as the Investment Industry Regulatory Organization of Canada (“IIROC”) or the Mutual Fund Dealers Association of Canada (“MFDA”), then you need the assistance of a knowledgeable and skilled securities litigator at your side. Posner Craig Stein (“PCS”) defends investment advisors and dealers in hearings before the OSC tribunal and in the provincial court. Being the target of a complaint and facing allegations of professional misconduct can be anxiety-provoking, frustrating, and time-consuming. We understand the potential impact that complaints and professional misconduct allegations can have on your reputation and financial situation. We know that your livelihood can depend on ensuring that the complaint is found to be without merit and that allegations of professional misconduct are dismissed. Our lawyers work tirelessly, creatively – and in a relentless manner.
The OSC is a regulatory body that enforces compliance with the Ontario Securities Commission Act. This is often done through adjudicative proceedings.
Although the typical path taken by the OSC is an administrative proceeding at the OSC Tribunal, the OSC has the authority to lay quasi-criminal charges and proceed in the Ontario Court of Justice. The penalties for being convicted of a quasi-criminal charge under the Ontario Securities Act are serious, and can include a large fine and/or jail time up to five years less a day.
The OSC has the power under the Ontario Securities Act to conduct compliance reviews. Compliance reviews can be done on-site at your office, and typically involve an examination of your books, records and documents. The OSC staff can interview employees as part of their examination. A compliance review can also be done as a “desk review” or a “sweep”. When the review is done in this fashion, the OSC focuses on a specific area of concern, gathering information without going on-site.
If you or your firm has been selected for a compliance review, the earlier you retain a quality defence counsel, the better the opportunity we have to ensure you walk away with your reputation, license, and livelihood intact. In a compliance review, we will ensure that all of the relevant information that demonstrates your competence and integrity is placed before the OSC, so that there is no basis for further action to be taken.
If after a compliance review, the OSC identifies an issue of non-compliance, your matter can be referred to the OSC’s Enforcement Branch. The Enforcement Branch has far reaching investigative powers, and can request the production of books, records, correspondence and other documents. The Enforcement Branch can also conduct interviews of anyone who they deem may have relevant information, which is not only those under investigation.
PCS assists individuals and firms in responding to the Enforcement Branch. PCS financial services defence lawyers have skill and expertise in crafting eloquent, cogent and persuasive responses to convince the Enforcement Branch to dismiss a non-compliance allegation. Your time, reputation, and finances can be saved by working early on to have the complaint dismissed.
Hearings before the OSC Tribunal involve hearing from witnesses, cross-examination, calling evidence, and making submissions before the panel. Our team of financial services defence lawyers have extensive expertise in these areas, developed over decades in tribunals and courtrooms across Ontario.
The OSC has the authority to lay quasi-criminal charges under the Ontario Securities Act. These quasi-criminal charges are investigated and prosecuted by the OSC in the Ontario Court of Justice. Proceedings for quasi-criminal charges are similar to traditional criminal proceedings. Quasi-criminal offences require the prosecutor to prove the case beyond a reasonable doubt. Further, those being prosecuted in a quasi-criminal proceeding are protected by the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. This means that defences under the Charter can be pursued.
If you are facing a quasi-criminal charge under the Ontario Securities Act, you need the assistance of an experienced criminal trial lawyer. PCS lawyers will carefully calibrate and effectively cross-examine witnesses called by the prosecution. The key to success is extensive preparation, skillful and targeted questioning, and the experience to adapt to the witness’s answers as they come. PCS financial services defence lawyers will bring these skills and attributes to your defence.
A decision made in the Ontario Court of Justice in a quasi-criminal proceeding can be appealed to the Superior Court of Justice. A decision of the OSC Tribunal can be judicially reviewed in the Divisional Court. Judicial reviews and appeals involve an examination of the record of the proceedings below, the drafting of legal arguments, and making oral arguments before a panel of Ontario Superior Court judges. PCS financial services defence lawyers are experienced in arguing cases before the Divisional Court, and we will pursue every avenue to help protect your reputation, your license, and your financial well being.
Posner Craig Stein is the right financial services defence firm to handle complaints made against you because:
If you are a financial services professional and have been the subject of a complaint, it is to your benefit to retain an experienced financial services defence lawyer immediately. Posner Craig Stein may be able to help you avoid serious consequences, such as reputational and financial damage.