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Securities Fraud Penalties Not Severe Enough: Wetston

Penalties for securities fraud have not been severe enough to deter repeat offenders, said the chairman of Ontario’s securities regulator.

“Repeat offenders are unwilling to accept responsibility for their actions, it tells me our penalties may not have been an effective deterrent,” Howard Wetston said today at the Ontario Securities Commission’s annual conference in Toronto. “We need to continue to reevaluate our approach to more aggressively seek jail terms and to strengthen our settlements.”

The regulator secured 10 jail sentences in its last fiscal year, resulting in a total of 16 years in jail for rule breakers, according to the OSC’s annual report.

Financial markets have become more complex and that increases the need for the regulator to ensure investors are informed when financial products are “comprehensive but not always comprehensible,” he said.

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