A hearing panel of the Canadian Investment Regulatory Organization (CIRO) has issued its reasons for fining Bernard Kevin Phanthavong and suspending him from his supervisory duties, after the branch manager with TD Investment Services Inc. admitted he changed client information in the company’s client contact information system without client consent. This had the effect of interfering with TD’s ability to supervise the respondent and communicate with clients.
The company’s variable compensation program is based on a composite of metrics, one being consumer feedback derived from client satisfaction surveys. “The surveys were emailed to clients after, among other things, an approved person had processed transactions or account changes on behalf of the client,” the reasons for decision states.
“The client contact information systems included a feature which allowed approved persons to select whether the client wished to be contacted by the dealer member for certain purposes. If the approved person selected no on behalf of the client, a client would not receive surveys or promotion communications.” Between February and June 2018, he set this preference for five clients who held investment accounts and for eight other individuals who held accounts at the bank, without their consent.
In addition to issuing a letter of reprimand, TD imposed a three-day, unpaid suspension, and prohibited Phanthavong from participating in rewards and recognition programs that year, which in turn negatively impacted his base salary the following year.
In addition to a $7,500 fine, Phanthavong was suspended from acting as a branch manager or in any supervisory capacity for two months, was ordered to complete remedial coursework and was ordered to pay costs in the amount of $5,000.