A former fund rep has been denied registration after regulators discovered that he failed to disclose an impaired driving charge against him — even though he was ultimately acquitted of the charge.
In a decision published by the Ontario Securities Commission (OSC), following an opportunity to be heard (OTBH), a director of the OSC declined to grant registration to a former rep with Scotia Securities Inc., Ramzee Tams.
According to the decision, OSC staff recommended that Tams’ application for registration be refused on the grounds that he “lacks the integrity required for registration.”
The decision noted that Tams was charged with impaired driving in 2017 while he was employed with Scotia. He was eventually acquitted of the charge in August 2018.
In the meantime however, Tams left Scotia and sought to join TD Investment Services Inc.
The decision noted that he did not disclose the original charge to Scotia, nor did he inform TD of the outstanding charge when he joined that firm.
However, it was discovered as part of a routine background check by the OSC when he tried to reactivate his registration with TD.
According to the decision, when asked why he didn’t disclose the charge to Scotia, Tams said: “It’s embarrassing that I was wrongfully accused of something like that, so because I was taking it to trial and I was confident that nothing would come of it I did not tell anyone because I didn’t feel [anybody] needed to know.”
He withdrew the registration application for TD and returned to Scotia. And, in August 2019, he applied for registration as a dealing rep with Scotia.
That application has now been denied.
“Although he was not convicted of the charged offence, staff is of the view that Mr. Tams engaged in a pattern of conduct designed to withhold information that he was required to disclose to the regulator and his employers,” said the OSC in its decision. “Staff is of the view that this is inconsistent with the integrity expected of a registrant.”
At the OTBH, Tams admitted to the non-disclosure with both Scotia and TD.
“He explained that the reasons for this non-disclosure were in part due to ignorance and in part due to being worried and embarrassed. He stated that he understands the charge should have been disclosed,” reads the OSC decision.
However, the director found that, “Regardless of whether this belief was honestly held, the fact remains that he failed to disclose the information to the OSC twice… This lack of disclosure is inconsistent with what is expected of an applicant for registration.”
While his latest registration application was refused, the director also found that he shouldn’t be banned from re-applying for registration in the future.
“Having heard from Mr. Tams at the OTBH, I am of the view that he is a young man who appears to have acted recklessly in his completion of the application forms and is remorseful for his actions,” it said.
If he does re-apply in the future, Tams will have to satisfy several criteria for determining that he’s now suitable for registration.
“If he can demonstrate in the future that he is fit for registration… Mr. Tams can re-apply for registration at that time,” the decision concluded.