Securities litigation and enforcement

As commercial activity increasingly intertwines with applications of blockchain technology with participants around the world, courts have had to grapple with the personal jurisdiction implications of such arrangements. Will participants in these blockchain applications based outside the United States find themselves subject to U.S. jurisdiction when disputes arise, based on how they have conducted their activities? Two recent New York federal court decisions examined such questions under traditional personal jurisdiction principles and upheld exercising personal…
The Delaware Chancery Court recently faced a challenge to forum selection clauses in certificates of incorporation of three Delaware corporations that required shareholder claims under the Securities Act of 1933 be brought in U.S. federal court, thereby barring the state forum.  For securities cases, defendant corporations generally prefer the U.S. federal courts which are viewed as less plaintiff friendly than state courts, particularly at the motion to dismiss stage.  Recognizing that the 1933 Act established…
It seems that the saga of the Ontario Securities Commission’s prosecution of Daniel Emerson Tiffin and Tiffin Financial Corporation is not over yet.  On November 28, 2018 (2018 ONCA 953), the Ontario Court of Appeal granted leave to appeal the May 15, 2018 merits decision of Charney, J which rejected the “family resemblance” test and found that certain promissory notes were “securities” within the meaning of the Securities Act (the Act). Background As…
Hung v Ontario Securities Commission, 2018 ONSC 6729 (Div Ct) The Divisional Court has released yet another chapter in the saga of one of the largest frauds in Canadian history.  In 2017, after a 188-day merits hearing, the Ontario Securities Commission (the Commission) released its decision concerning allegations of fraud against Sino-Forest Corporation (Sino-Forest) and its senior officers.  In that decision, the Appellants, as senior officers of Sino-Forest, were found to have authorized, permitted, or…
The Canadian Securities Administrators (CSA) have issued a notice regarding misleading promotional activities by issuers.  The notice includes examples such as press releases, presentations, social media posts and other marketing materials that provide insufficient or unbalanced information or that include unsubstantiated claims about the issuer. Problematic Promotional Practices Examples of potentially misleading promotional activities identified by the CSA include: describing early-stage plans with “unwarranted certainty”, or making unsupported predictions about growth of the market or…
On November 26, 2018, the Ontario Securities Commission (OSC) issued an order permanently prohibiting Daniel Reeve, a financial planner based in the Kitchener, Ontario area, from participation in Ontario’s capital markets, including trading in any securities and becoming or acting as a registrant. The permanent ban came after Reeve was convicted in the Ontario Superior Court of Justice in 2017 for having defrauded at least 41 investors of nearly $10 million (see R v Reeve
In a recent decision of the BC Securities Commission (BCSC), the BCSC provides helpful guidance concerning when referral arrangements cross the line and become trading for which registration is required. Chien-Hua Liu (Liu) and two affiliated corporations referred BC and Hong Kong investors to two issuers, leading to the purchase of over $6.5 million in securities, and earning nearly $450,000 in commissions. In Re Liu, 2018 BCSECCOM 372, the BCSC scrutinized the details of…
The Ontario Superior Court of Justice in Furtak v Ontario (Securities Commission), 2018 ONSC 6616, has upheld the Ontario Securities Commission’s (OSC) merits and sanctions decisions with respect to the Strictrade Offering, which we previously reported on here. Background In 2015, OSC Staff brought enforcement proceedings against Edward Furtak, Axton 2010 Finance Corp., (Axton), Strict Trading Limited (STL), Strictrade Marketing Inc. (SMI), Trafalgar Associates Limited (TAL), Ronald Olsthoorn, and Lorne Allen (collectively the…
On November 16, 2018, the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) announced consent orders settling actions in respect of two unregistered initial coin offerings (ICOs), including the first fines levied against non-compliant ICO issuers made by the SEC to date. The consent orders demonstrate the SEC’s willingness to follow through with enforcement proceedings against issuers of ICOs not in compliance with securities laws, and provide a roadmap for how existing ICOs can bring themselves into compliance…
On November 19, 2018, the Alberta Securities Commission (ASC) implemented its first whistleblower program (the Program) through the release of ASC Policy 15-602 Whistleblower Program (the Policy) and simultaneous amendments to the Alberta Securities Act (the Act). The Program is effective as of November 19, 2018.  Its protections apply retroactively to securities misconduct but only in relation to tips communicated to the ASC on or after November 19, 2018. According to the ASC, the highlights…