John Greenwood And Carrie Tait
Wednesday, January 31, 2007
Investment Dealers Association of
Canada yesterday defended its
decision to pull from its Web site
details of complaints against more
than 2,000 brokers that were
inadvertently posted, even though
such information is regularly
available in the United States.
"People are supposed to be innocent
until proven guilty, but [anyone who
saw the leaked documents] might jump
to a different conclusion," said
Alex Popovic, the IDA's
vice-president of enforcement. "It
was never our intent to provide that
The leaked allegations made news
earlier this week when Robert Kyle,
an investor advocate who runs a
popular Web site, inadvertently
discovered it by clicking a link on
a Power- Point presentation posted
on the IDA's Web site back in 2005.
By tinkering with a bar graph about
the level of annual complaints, Mr.
Kyle found several pages of raw data
used to generate it, including the
names of brokers and a brief
description of the "events" reported
against them. One embedded
spreadsheet lists the names of
brokers who have five or more events
tied to their name. There are 50
names on this spreadsheet, with one
broker allegedly linked to 59
That broker was Bertrand Trudel. The
IDA yesterday announced a
disciplinary hearing to consider
various allegations against Mr.
Trudel, including that he "effected
transactions without the
authorization of his clients," that
he made inappropriate
recommendations, and that he failed
to report his personal interest in a
company in which his clients were
Mr. Trudel declined to comment.
Mr. Popovic said it was a
coincidence that the notice of the
hearing came so soon after reports
of the information leak appeared in
The IDA's allegations concern Mr.
Trudel's actions when he was a
broker at the Joliette branch of
Levesque Beaubien Inc., now National
Bank Financial Inc.
In an interview, Mr. Kyle said he is
angry that the IDA decided to remove
the information from its Web site.
"I'm just looking for investor
protection," he said, noting that
many of the brokers with long lists
of claims against them are still
working with the public long after
information about those claims was
received by the IDA and compiled in
"This database is 18 months old.
Where has the IDA been?" he said.
"How many more clients have signed
up with these brokers since then?"
Mr. Kyle also charged that the IDA
lacks the power to punish wrongdoers
when it finds them. Once people
leave the securities industry, the
organization can no longer reach
them, he said.
Another problem is a lack of
communication between the police and
the IDA, he said, adding that he is
often called on by law enforcement
authorities for help in gathering
information. "There are a lot of
cases where brokers have admitted
fraud and forgery. These are
criminal cases and my question is,
why are the police not being
In recent years Mr. Kyle has become
a well-regarded researcher and
advocate for investors. However, in
the 1990s after a stint in the
securities industry, he was fined by
the IDA for not co-operating in an