Victoria investment advisor fined $100,000

Disciplinary case over giving inappropriate advice stretches out over four years

A fine of $100,000 has been levied by a B.C. Securities Commission panel against a Victoria financial advisor ruled to have given inappropriate investment advice to clients.

Carolann Steinhoff was also ordered to pay costs of $20,000 and relinquish $6,813 in commissions.

The decision, released last week, is the latest ruling in a case initiated in 2010 by the Investment Industry Regulatory Organization of Canada.

The IIROC was investigating advice given and actions taken by Steinhoff in 2008 on behalf of a couple who invested $125,000 with her in the short term. The money, proceeds of a home sale, was to pay for their next home. They ultimately lost 56 per cent of their investment in the economic downturn and fell $65,000 short of what they needed.

In July 2012, an IIROC panel ruled that Steinhoff would receive a one-year suspension in addition to the $126,813 in financial penalties for making recommendations to the couple that were “not suitable for their investment objectives.”

She applied for a review to the B.C. Securities Commission, which upheld the IIROC liability ruling.

A decision on penalty was deferred pending submissions from Steinhoff and IIROC, which were heard last month.

No suspension was recommended last week by the panel, which stated in its decision, “the penalty we are imposing is appropriate in the circumstances and will adequately deter Steinhoff and other registrants from failing to meet suitability requirements.”

Ronald Pelletier, Steinhoff’s lawyer at last month’s hearing, said no decision has been made as to whether his client will appeal the latest ruling.