Ellen Bessner is a litigation partner whose practice focuses on acting for corporations and individuals in commercial litigation, regulatory defence, professional liability, securities class action proceedings, and employment disputes. She has developed a special niche representing public issuers, investment dealers, mutual fund dealers, Portfolio Managers, compliance officers, branch managers/supervisors, and advisors in Ontario courts of all levels and at various regulatory tribunals, including FSCO, MFDA, IIROC and OSC. She has also developed an expertise advising directors and senior officers in respect of company and personal risk.
Ellen’s well-regarded book, Advisor at Risk, a Roadmap to Protecting Your Business, available at Chapters/Indigo, is considered a leading risk-reduction tool in the area. Ellen has developed comprehensive programs to instruct advisors/agents/traders and their supervisors in reducing litigation and regulatory risk, presenting on liability, ethics and compliance. Her courses qualify for continuing education credits.
She is a frequent speaker at industry conferences, writes for national, business and industry press, has appeared in television media interviews and is quoted in numerous publications on issues related to litigation, regulatory and employment matters. Most recently, she chaired and presented at the Securities Litigation (Investigation - Enforcement - Litigation - Dispute Resolution) Conference presented by Insight Information. Ellen was appointed to the discipline board for Certified Management Accountants.
TO PURCHASE: Advisor at Risk is available at Chapters/Indigo or for corporate volume discount pricing contact Ellen Bessner, Author or Penny Shore, Publisher.
Ellen's experience includes:
- Retained to represent Advisors in litigation defending against complaining clients in respect of suitability and discretionary trading.
- Retained to represent Advisors at FSCO, MFDA and IIROC in respect of allegations of compliance infractions.
- Defending Dealers in actions by Advisors and Traders for wrongful dismissal.
- Retained to represent several investment Dealers in the Portus class action proceedings and settled the matter favourably for her clients before the class was certified.
- Represented dually licensed Advisor in FSCO penalty hearing in which staff sought a suspension.
- Represented securities Dealers and settled on very favourable terms a multi party case in proceedings claiming investment losses and leverage loans.
- Represented employers in wrongful dismissal matters as well as supports companies with terminations and the negotiation of contractual terms and conditions. Successfully defended a $6,000,000 claim at trial and at the Court of Appeal for wrongful dismissal and other claims: David Samuel Solomon v. Levesque Securities Inc.  O.J. No. 3733 (C.A). She also represents clients at the Human Rights Tribunal concerning allegations of discrimination.
- Represented branch manager in Market Regulation Services (RS) matter in which his supervision was in question. RS found against the branch manager but ordered that he not be penalized or suspended for the alleged infraction.
- Represented branch manager at the IDA whose licence was suspended and was able to successfully contest the suspension to reinstate his license.
- Represented Advisors in regard to allegations by the MFDA that Advisors were engaging in outside business activities and other infractions.
- Represented securities Dealers in matters in which several clients commenced proceedings alleging unsuitable investments and unsuitable strategies including leverage loans.
- Represented limited market Dealers at the OSC in regard to issues of suitability.
Ellen has provided presentations to bank owned and independent dealers, insurance companies, MGAs and Brokers across Canada from the 1990s to present on issues of compliance. She has attended every major city across Canada to teach advisors and agents how to manage their businesses to protect themselves and minimize the risk of litigation and regulatory enforcement matters. More recently, she is providing training that complements her best-selling book entitled Advisor at Risk, A Roadmap to Protecting Your Business. She has also developed and provided online training. Below is a list of some of the titles of her programs:
- Advisors at Risk, a roadmap to protecting your business (IIROC, MFDA, FSCO)
- Branch Managers at Risk, a roadmap to protecting your business
- The 10 Commandments of Managing Your Business to Protect Yourself
- The Professional Advisor
- The Expert Advisor
- Rogue Clients - Identify and Manage
- How to Manage Clients' Expectations and More
- How to Build a Compliant Business
- Risks, Identify and Resolve
- Teach Advisors to Protect Themselves
- The Paper Trail
- The Credibility Battle
- How to Prepare for Future Challenges
- Seniors - This is a Different Market
- Products - What You Need to Know
- Limited Market Dealers and Compliance
- Compliance Issues for Those Buying or Selling a Book of Business (Insurance/MFDA)
- Listed in the Women in the Lead Directory
- Canadian Bar Association
- Law Society of Upper Canada
- Law Society of British Columbia
- The Advocates' Society
- Women in Capital Markets
|Publications, Newsletters and Articles
Discretion to Terminate
Protect - and Grow - Your Business at the Same Time (Investment Executive)
A Canadian Securities Regulator is Born
What Advisors Need to Know About Financial/Retirement Plans
Insider Trading – ASC’s Practical Approach to “Material Fact”
Insider Trading and Crisis Management (CBB Corporate Counsel Insights Video Series)
Justicia Guide to Business Development for Women Lawyers
British Columbia Court of Appeal Tells Securities Commission That Reciprocal Orders Are Not Automatic; What Could This Mean for “No Admission” Settlement Agreements and Reciprocal Enforcement in Canada?
OSC Imposes Significant Sanctions on Suman and his Wife for Illegal Tipping and Conduct Contrary to the Public Interest
“Advisers Should Go Beyond Know Your Customer Form to Show Customer Understands Products, Risks,” Thomson Reuters Accelus (August 2012)
Manage Compliance Risk While Bringing Clients Along
Ellen Bessner Featured in Four-Part Podcast on Transparency for Investment Executive: Part Four
Questionable Ruling Certifies Class Action Against Investment Advisors – Hoping for Appeal
The Court of Appeal Enforces Limitation Period for Secondary Market Securities Class Actions
“Investment Advisors Cautioned: Beware of Suitability Risks,” Thomson Reuters Accelus (November 2011)
“Advisors at Risk: How to Protect Your Business,” On The Risk Magazine (September 2010)
Different Approaches to Granting Leave to Securities-Holders for Bringing Actions Against Issuers
Cassels Brock Partner Co-Authors The TASK - The Trusted Advisor's Survival Kit
Advisor at Risk: A Roadmap to Protecting Your Business by Ellen Bessner
Take Special Care with Clients this RRSP Season
"Why RRSP Season is Different This Year," National Post (January 2009)
"Winning the Credibility War," National Post (December 2008)
"Diligence Helps Combat Fiscal Fraud," National Post (December 2007)
"Justice Relies on Timelines," National Post (November 2007)
"Know Your Clients at Every Stage," National Post (November 2008)
"Helping Clients Through the Crunch," National Post (October 2008)
"Coping with Senior Clients' Risk Tolerance," National Post (August 2008)
"Even Senior Clients Deserve Attention," National Post (July 2007)
"Landmark Verdict on Trading," National Post (May 2008)
"Caution Needed When Conducting Due Diligence: If An Issue Sounds Too Good To Be True, It Probably Is," National Post (September 2007)
"Know Your Client Rule has No Age," National Post (July 2007)
"Return of the Invisible Client," National Post (April 2007)
"The Dangerous Invisible Client Strikes Again," National Post (April 2007)
"Brace Yourself for Tougher Client Scrutiny," National Post (March 2007)
"Cautionary Tale for Bank-Owned Dealers," National Post (January 2007)
"Let Fear Motivate, Not Greed," National Post (January 2007)
"It's Not Like Selling a New Suit," National Post (December 2006)
"Bend the Rules, Wreck Your Reputation," National Post (November 2006)
"Before Switching Dealerships, Examine Other Advisors' Books of Business," Advisor's Edge (November 2006)
"Rogue Clients and Some Red Flags," National Post (September 2006)
"Culture of Compliance," Advisor's Edge (July 2006)
"Arm Yourself Against Five Industry Myths," National Post (June 2006)
"Bad Behaviour," Advisor's Edge (May 2006)
"Bleaching Out Breach," Advisor's Edge (March 2006)
"Walking Papers," Advisor's Edge (January 2006)
"Staying Clear of Conflict," Advisor's Edge (May 2005)
"Do Not Go Quietly," Advisor's Edge (March 2005)
"When Trouble Walks In," Advisor's Edge (January 2005)
"Superior Signage," Advisor's Edge (December 2004)
"Limited Trading Authorization," Advisor's Edge (November 2004)
"KYC In One Form or Another," Advisor's Edge (October 2004)
"Preserving Professionalism," Advisor's Edge (August 2004)
"Take Your Time," Advisor's Edge (June 2004)
"Advisor: Friend or Foe?," Advisor's Edge (April 2004)
"Preparing Your Defence: An Effective Paper Trail Follows the Five Cs," Advisor's Edge (March 2004)
"A Planner's Obligation," Advisor's Edge (January 2004)
"Reasonable Standard," Advisor's Edge (November 2003)
"Rebuilding Confidence," Advisor's Edge (September 2003)
"The Paper Trail," Advisor's Edge (August 2003)
"Credibility Victory," Advisor's Edge (May 2003)
"Red Flags," Advisor's Edge (April 2003)
"Will You be Believed by the Judge?," Advisor's Edge (February 2003)
"The Sky is the Limit," Advisor's Edge (October 2002)
"Complaint Evasion," Advisor's Edge (August 2002)
"Fearing the Unknown: Understanding the Stages of IDA Investigation May Help to Dispel Some of the Anxiety Associated with a Client Complaint," Advisor's Edge (July 2002)
"Why Advisors Should be Protected," Investment Executive (June 2002)
The Golden Rule: Fulfilling Your "Know Your Clients" Obligations Means Getting Beyond the KYC Forms
"IDA Leaves Brokers Confused, Uninformed," Investment Executive (November 2001)
"How Liable is the Broker," Investment Executive (July 2000)
"Preparing for Mediation - How to Maximize Gains and Settle What You Can," Canadian Arbitration and Mediation Journal, (April 1998)
|Conferences, Speaking Engagements, Events
Ellen Bessner Presents "Advisor at Risk - A Roadmap to Protecting SEG Fund Business" to CLHIA
Ellen Bessner Participates in Canadian Compliance Professionals Conference
Ellen Bessner Presents "Advisor at Risk - A Roadmap to Protecting Your Business"
Ellen Bessner Presents "Bad Things Happen: Are You Prepared?" at NSCP 2013 Canadian Membership Meeting
Ellen Bessner to Chair Securities Litigation Conference where Heather Zordel and Robert Cohen will Present
Investment Executive Webinar – “Lawyers Protect Your Practice With 4 Cs of Documentation” (September 2011)
Seminar - “Insider Trading” (September 14, 2011)
NSCP – “Everything You Ever Wanted to Know About Audits, Sweeps and (avoiding) Enforcement But Were Afraid to Ask” (June 13, 2011)
ACCP – “KYC and Prove It” (May 2, 2011)
Ellen Bessner Participates in the CLS Annual Conference (December 2, 2010)
Ellen Bessner Speaks at IPC National Conference (September 14, 2010)
IIROC Webcast – “Know Your Client, Documentation, Know your Product, Communication” (August 24, 2010)
Advisor at Risk - Presentation at the 2010 Advocis Ontario School
Association of Canadian Compliance Professionals' 9th Annual Compliance Forum: Navigating the Regulatory Maze - "Point of Sale & Other 'Hot' Button Topics" (May 10, 2010)
Implementing a Fiduciary Standard and Beyond
The Latest Word on Securities Enforcement
Meeting your Compliance Obligations for Advisors: How can you prove delivery?
The Buying & Selling of Financial Advisory Practices, 4th Edition: The New Landscape
Professional Advisory Group of the Baycrest Foundation - "Advisor at Risk - a Roadmap to Protecting Your Business" (October 27, 2009)
The Canadian Institute - Seminar on "Payment Card Compliance in Canada" and Anti-Money Laundering panel (February 5, 2009_
NSCP, Philadelphia, PA - "Branch Managers and Their Duty to Supervise" (October 20, 2008)
ADVOCIS, Vancouver Island Chapter - "Advisor at Risk - How to Protect Your Business" (September 18, 2008)
IIAC - "Navigating the Road Ahead: Building Paths for Success" (June 22, 2008)
Mindpath - "Compliance Issues When Selling or Buying a Business" (April 28, 2008)
Advocis, Golden Triangle Chapter - "Advisors: Manage Your Business to Protect Yourself" (March 19, 2008)
The Canadian Institute - "Winning Strategies to Litigation and Resolve Disputes in the Capital Markets Battleground" (November 28, 2007)
Manitoba Securities Commission - "Rogue Clients and Future Legal Challenges" (October 23, 2007)
Advocis Simcoe-Muskoka Chapter - "Advisors: Manage Your Business to Protect Yourself" (September 29, 2006)
Ontario Securities Commission - "IC/PMs and Compliance" (September 25, 2006)
IFIC - "The 10 Compliance Myths" (May 9, 2005)