From the Regulators

A volunteer minister is prohibited from having members of his church as clients

By James Langton |

 

The Ontario Securities Commission (OSC) has imposing conditions on the registration of Donald Mason, a mutual fund rep with Quadrus Investment Services Ltd. The conditions prohibit Mason from acting as a dealing rep for members of the Apostolic Pentecostal Church in Pickering, Ont., where he works as a volunteer minister.

According to the OSC decision, OSC staff sought conditions on Mason's registration, given his "position of potential influence" over prospective clients, which creates a possible conflict of interest.

Restricting a rep from also having congregants as clients ensures there is a "proper separation between a caregiving and counselling role on one hand and one's registerable activities on the other," the decision states.

Following a hearing, the OSC concluded that Mason's role as a minister and lay leader puts him in a position of possible influence over potential clients, which justifies the imposition of terms and conditions.

"I want to make it clear that the imposition of the restricted client terms and conditions in these circumstances in no way reflects on Mason's integrity," states Debra Foulbert, director, compliance and registrant regulation branch, OSC, in the decision.

The OSC rejected the argument that imposing conditions constitutes discrimination under the Human Rights Code.

"The purpose of restricted client terms and conditions is not to prohibit registrants from volunteering with charitable or religious organizations, but to protect clients or potential clients from potential undue influence from a registrant who is in a position of power or potential influence, whether spiritual or otherwise," the decision states.

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