OSC says law firm wasn’t named because it isn’t a respondent in the case
A former legal assistant at prominent Bay Street law firm Davies Ward Phillips & Vineberg LLP has been caught up in accusations of insider tipping and trading.
The Ontario Securities Commission accused Donna Hutchinson, on Friday, of passing on “material, non-public information” she learned about pending corporate transactions as a result of her employment at Davies.
The same law firm was in focus during another high-profile insider tipping and trading case that concluded in 2015, in which former Davies senior partner Mitchell Finkelstein was found to have passed insider information about pending deals to a longtime friend who worked at a brokerage.
The cases aren’t connected, and, while Davies was involved in the transactions detailed in the OSC’s 14-page statement of allegations filed Friday in connection with the new case, the firm isn’t named in the document.
An OSC spokesperson said that is because the law firm is not a “respondent” – an accused person or entity — in the case.
Davies was “recently” informed of the allegations against the former employee, who was immediately terminated, the law firm said in a statement issued Friday.
“We have reviewed the allegations and have concluded that they are isolated to actions allegedly taken some time ago by a legal assistant in flagrant breach of our policies on confidentiality,” said the statement sent on behalf of managing partner Shawn McReynolds.
“Davies demands and expects that its personnel will at all times adhere to the highest legal, professional and ethical standards… We will tolerate no breach.”
Hutchinson is accused of tipping, while three others named are accused of insider trading. Cameron Edward Cornish, David Paul George Sidders, and Patrick Caruso are alleged to have made profits of more than $2 million from their trades with knowledge about pending deals.
The firms involved in the transactions Hutchinson is alleged to have learned about while working at Davies include Quadra FNX Mining Ltd., Rainy River Resources Ltd., Osisko Mining Corp., Allegan Inc., Tim Hortons Inc., and Extreme Drilling and Coil Services Corp.
In some cases, the firms retained Davies, while in others the law firm was acting for another party in the transaction.
The first hearing in the matter is to take place at the OSC’s headquarters in Toronto on Oct. 24.
None of the allegations have been proven.