The Investment Industry Regulatory Organization of Canada (IIROC) has fined Rizwan Suleiman $30,000 and suspended him for six months after discovering that he altered his examination transcripts.
In a decision released on August 30, IIROC revealed that Suleiman, who used to be an advisor with ITG Canada, provided his dealer with a falsified transcript claiming he had passed the Partners, Directors, and Senior Officers Course (PDO) exam. In fact Suleiman went to the Canadian Securities Institute (CSI) offices to write the exam in June last year but left without finishing it, having realised that he was unprepared.
The exam proctor said that there would be no record in his transcript of this incomplete attempt, but when Suleiman reviewed his CSI student profile online a few days later, he discovered a notation that he had failed the test.
“He panicked and requested online that the transcript be emailed to him. When he received the pdf copy of his transcript, it did not show any Exam attempt. He was confused and felt that two attempts might still show up in CSI records at a later date or on later searches,” reads the agreed statement of facts. “Suleiman then altered his transcript by converting the electronic document to Word format, made changes to indicate that he had taken the PDO course on June 22, 2015, and had passed the Exam with a mark of 77.5 percent, then sent it to his firm on July 7, 2015.”
Suleiman’s counsel argued that he was experiencing work and family related stress at the time, and pointed out that his actions did not result in any client losses. In addition, Suleiman lost his job as a result of his misconduct and is no longer in the industry. While the IIROC panel considered these mitigating factors, the fact remains that Suleiman committed forgery.
“It is possible to characterize the Respondent’s misconduct as relatively minor especially when contrasted with other cases to which the Panel was referred. However, there is no escaping the fact that it was dishonest and deceptive,” reads the decision. “It is the Panel’s opinion that this type of misconduct causes harm to the integrity of the market and harms its reputation. It is below the standard which the public and those in the industry expect, or should expect of market participants.”
Besides the $30,000 fine and suspension, IIROC ordered Suleiman to pay costs of $5000 and says he will have to re-write the Conduct and Practices Handbook and the Partners, Directors and Officers exams within twelve months of any re-registration with IIROC