OSC panel approves settlement agreement with Issam El-Bouji, Global RESP Corporation and Global Growth Assets Inc.
For Immediate Release OSC Enforcement
TORONTO - A Panel of the Ontario Securities Commission (OSC) has approved a joint settlement agreement between staff of the Commission and Issam El-Bouji, Global RESP Corporation and Global Growth Assets Inc. (GGAI) (known together as Global), for continued non-compliance with Ontario securities law.
As part of the settlement, Mr. Bouji is permanently banned from acting as a registrant and an officer and director of any registrant or reporting issuer in Ontario. Global RESP will surrender its registration in Ontario.
Significant terms and conditions are placed on GGAI’s registration to remedy past violations, compensate plan beneficiaries, and ensure GGAI’s independence from the Bouji family. GGAI is permanently banned from acting as an investment fund manager for any funds other than the funds it currently manages, which includes the Global Plans. It is not permitted to enrol any new subscribers in the plans.
This settlement agreement follows numerous compliance reviews where staff uncovered significant deficiencies including, conflicts of interest failures, not reimbursing sales charges known as enrolment fees per prospectus commitment, and failing to meet its Know Your Client (KYC) and suitability obligations. Global and Mr. Bouji have demonstrated continued non-compliance with Ontario securities law, and have been subject to a variety of past regulatory actions.
“Persistent and serious regulatory violations puts investors at risk,” said Jeff Kehoe, Director of Enforcement at the OSC. “This settlement holds Mr. Bouji and the firms accountable for their misconduct and supports parents who save for their children’s education.”
Subscribers who received a commitment to have their enrolment fees reimbursed in prospectuses dated 2002-2004, will be reimbursed by Global. Nine hundred thousand dollars is being set aside for this purpose.
Mr. Bouji is required to place GGAI in an irrevocable blind trust to be administered by a federally regulated trust company. GGAI will not allow Mr. Bouji or any other member of the Bouji family to provide any service of any kind. He will also pay costs to the Commission of $190,000.
GGAI’s continued status as a registrant preserves the assets contained in the Global plan and ensures the least amount of disruption to subscribers and beneficiaries of the plan.
The mandate of the OSC is to provide protection to investors from unfair, improper or fraudulent practices, to foster fair and efficient capital markets and confidence in the capital markets, and to contribute to the stability of the financial system and the reduction of systemic risk. Investors are urged to check the registration of any persons or company offering an investment opportunity and to review the OSC investor materials available at www.osc.ca.