Regulators have fined and banned a former mutual fund representative for violating industry rules by involving clients in real estate deals; engaging in side businesses, including real estate and skin care product sales; and selling exempt market products.
A hearing panel of the Mutual Fund Dealers Association of Canada (MFDA) imposed a permanent ban on Marja Grobbink Harmer — a rep with Investors Group Financial Services Inc. in Saskatchewan from 2002 to 2017 — and ordered a $525,000 fine and $20,000 in costs against her.
The sanctions followed a hearing that found Harmer violated various MFDA rules between 2013 and 2017, including engaging in personal financial dealings with clients, jointly investing in real estate ventures and sharing a joint bank account with them; engaging in unapproved outside business activity, including a real estate company, and serving as a sales rep for a skin care company and multi-level marketing scheme, Nucerity International; and engaging in securities business outside her dealer by selling exempt market investments.
The panel also found that she failed to cooperate with the MFDA’s investigation into her conduct.
While Harmer attended an interview with MFDA investigators and participated in the proceedings against her, the panel found that she failed to answer certain questions and didn’t respond to followup requests for information.
“Having been registered in the industry since 2002, [Harmer] ought to have known that complying with staff’s requests for information during an investigation was a fundamental obligation of her registration,” the panel said in concluding that she failed to cooperate with the investigation.