The Financial and Consumer Services Tribunal approved a settlement agreement with Royal LePage Atlantic, Ian Wilkie and Ralph Stephen (the Respondents) in a decision and order published November 10.
In the decision, the Tribunal Chair notes that the respondents admitted Mr. Wilkie, Royal LePage Atlantic’s former CFO, made improper transactions when he transferred funds from trust accounts to the agency’s general operating account, in violation of the Real Estate Agents Act. The Tribunal Chair found that Royal LePage Atlantic did not have adequate controls for safeguarding the proper use of trust funds and that the CEO Ralph Stephen failed to ensure trust monies were properly protected by not adequately supervising Mr. Wilkie.
Under the agreement, Mr. Wilkie was ordered to pay an administrative penalty of $25,000 and was permanently banned from all regulated activities under the Act. Royal Lepage Atlantic was ordered to pay $60,000 and Mr. Stephen was ordered to pay $10,000. Details are published in the June 15 decision published by the Tribunal’s successor, the Energy and Utilities Board.
The New Brunswick real estate industry is co-regulated by the Financial and Consumer Services Commission and the New Brunswick Real Estate Association (NBREA). The Act provides the Commission the authority to investigate complaints, to order financial audits when necessary and to seek penalties for non-compliance.
“The Commission is committed to safeguarding consumers and maintaining the integrity of the province’s regulated financial and consumer services,” says Marissa Sollows, the Commission’s Director of Communications and Public Affairs. “The sanctions send a strong message that the misuse of trust funds in the financial and consumer services sectors will not be tolerated in New Brunswick.”
New Brunswickers who have any concerns about a real estate or mortgage transaction are encouraged to contact the Commission.
FCNB has the mandate to provide regulatory services that protect the public interest, enhance public confidence and promote understanding of the regulated sectors through educational programs. It is responsible for the administration and enforcement of provincial legislation regulating mortgage brokers, payday lenders, real estate, securities, insurance, pensions, credit unions, trust and loan companies, cooperatives, and a wide range of other consumer legislation. It is an independent Crown corporation funded by the regulatory fees and assessments paid by the regulated sectors. Online educational tools and resources are available at www.fcnb.ca.