Nearly three years after the offence, an investment advisor who worked at a Kingston BMO bank branch has been fined $3,500 and prohibited from dealing in securities for a one-year period year after he made unauthorized changes to a client’s investment account and forged the client’s signature.
Isaac Muhima, whose role as a Financial Services Manager included advising clients in mutual funds investments, was also terminated by BMO following the 2016 incident.
In June of 2016, Muhima’s manager, who was the Branch Compliance Officer, directed Muhima to meet with a client to review her investment objectives after it was noticed that a mutual fund in the client’s Tax Free Savings Account showed a higher risk than she had put on the Know-Your-Client form, and therefore was unsuitable.
Rather than contact the client as instructed, Muhima completed an account amendment form and selected the account investment objective of ‘conservative balanced,’ modifying it from the previous rating of ‘fixed income’ to align with the investment held in the client’s account, and so that it appeared suitable given the client’s investment holdings. Muhima forged the client’s signature on the form, and then submitted the form to the Branch Compliance Officer for processing. The Branch Compliance Officer spotted an inconsistency between the client’s signature on the new account form and previously-signed account forms.
When confronted about the discrepancy, Muhima admitted that he had signed the client’s signature. His employment with BMO was terminated in August of that year as a result of the incident.
In its February 2019 finding, the Mutual Funds Dealer Association said that there were no apparent financial losses to the client, and that Muhima made no financial gain by committing the offence.
“Although the Respondent had only recently become a Dealing Representative, he knew that his conduct was improper,” said the Mutual Funds Dealer Association panel in its decision. “The conduct in the case is serious. Signing a client’s signature is wrong. Disregarding the instructions of the (Branch Compliance Officer) is even more serious.”
Muhima no longer resides in Kingston and is no longer employed as an investment representative or securities dealer in any capacity.