VANCOUVER, March 22, 2012 /CNW/ - A British Columbia Securities Commission panel has released the reasons for its decision to partially revoke a freeze order against a former financial planner and to issue new freeze orders on his retirement savings and brokerage accounts.
On January 31, the BCSC issued an order freezing a chequing account belonging to Arvindbhai Bakorbhai Patel (aka Arvin Patel), a former financial planner with Coast Capital Savings and a B.C. resident. The BCSC also filed liens against real estate properties owned by Patel.
On February 20, a BCSC panel revoked the freeze order against Patel's chequing account on certain conditions and issued new freeze orders against his retirement savings and brokerage accounts. It did not remove the liens.
In its reasons, the panel noted that the executive director agreed with Patel that he should have access to his chequing account to pay his monthly expenses and the costs of legal counsel. It said that continuing the freeze order on Patel's chequing account in these circumstances would be pointless as Patel's monthly expenses and counsel costs would consume the balance of the account in a little over three months. The panel considered it appropriate that Patel undertake to pay the mortgage and strata fees on his real estate properties. The panel said it did not remove the liens on Patel's properties because they are not imposing any immediate hardship on Patel.
The panel said it froze Patel's retirement and brokerage accounts because BCSC staff had established that the matter of Patel's conduct is a serious issue under consideration, and that his assets should be preserved in the event that his conduct is culpable.
The panel said that the purpose of a freeze order is to preserve assets for future regulatory and common law claims. It said that in issuing freeze orders, the commission need not consider whether there is any connection between the assets frozen and the suspected or alleged wrongdoing, nor whether there has been any attempt to dissipate or remove the assets.
The orders were made in connection with an investigation into certain activities of Patel, Rashida Samji, and Samji & Assoc. Holdings Inc. BCSC staff is investigating whether those activities contravened the Securities Act. The investigation is in its early stages. The BCSC has made no allegations against Patel, Samji, or Samji Holdings, and has not issued a notice of hearing.
The panel has directed Patel and BCSC staff to appear before it on April 4, 2012 so that BCSC staff can update the panel on the investigation as it relates to Patel.
The B.C. Securities Commission is the independent provincial government agency responsible for regulating trading in securities within the province. You may view the decision on our website, www.bcsc.bc.ca, by typing Patel or 2012 BCSECCOM 91 in the search box. Information regarding disciplinary proceedings can be found in the Enforcement section of the BCSC website.
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