The British Columbia Securities Commission (BCSC) has announced that it has arrived at a settlement agreement with Asia Finance Corporation Ltd., a New Zealand-based company which admitted to trading securities on behalf of B.C. residents without being registered.
Asia Finance was reported to have promoted its securities trading services through its website, but did not post any restrictions or limitations on who may open accounts or use the advertised services. In doing so, Asia Finance did not take reasonable precautions not to sell securities to B.C. residents.
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The company also opened trading accounts at a dealer in Vancouver, B.C. and between October 2013 and February 2014 used these accounts to trade on behalf of clients, including $8.25 million worth of trades for three B.C. residents.
Asia Finance has never been registered to trade securities in the province and has agreed to pay the BCSC $125,000 USD in settlement. The company has also been permanently banned from trading in or purchasing securities and from engaging in investor relations activities.
The BCSC is an independent provincial government agency responsible for regulating capital markets in British Columbia by fostering a securities market that is fair and warrants public confidence and one which provides investment opportunities and access to capital. The regulator also reached a settlement of $320,000 earlier this month with a pair of HSBC subsidiaries after they charged excess fees to selected clients.