B.C. accountant fined $100K after admitting to unlicensed property management

·3 min read
The B.C. Financial Services Authority has fined a B.C. man $100,000 for unlicensed property management. The man was managing properties for overseas clients. (CBC - image credit)
The B.C. Financial Services Authority has fined a B.C. man $100,000 for unlicensed property management. The man was managing properties for overseas clients. (CBC - image credit)

A chartered accountant who misled B.C.'s real estate regulator about his unlicensed property management business has been fined $100,000.

According to the B.C. Financial Services Authority, the penalty against Yiu Keung ("Anthony") Ng is the first of its kind since the laws overseeing the province's real estate sector were overhauled in 2016.

As part of a consent agreement with the regulator, Ng — the sole director of a company called Kitsilano Management Ltd — admitted to the unlicensed management of up to 23 properties in and around Vancouver for overseas clients between 2000 and 2017.

'That is — and was — very concerning'

The issue came to light after a pair of tenants complained to the Superintendent of Real Estate.

According to the agreement, Ng then "stated in a telephone conversation with staff of the Superintendent that he did not manage any rental properties at that time, when that statement was not true."

He compounded the situation with an email "advising that Kitsilano was not involved in the management/marketing/sale of real estate and had no intention of doing so in the future, when that statement was not true."

BCFSA senior vice president of compliance Michael Noseworthy said the resulting penalty reflects the fact that Ng twice misled investigators before admitting to operating a property management business without a licence.

"That is — and was — very concerning to us," Noseworthy said.

"What I would say is look at the penalty amount. That's taken into consideration when we issue a penalty ... It's part of the calculation to look at whether the subject co-operated, provided factual information, was honest or not. There are consequences."

The penalty includes a $50,000 fine and a payment of $50,000 — which represents the profits made from the unlicensed activity from 2016 to 2017.

Noseworthy said the penalty is the first to include a disgorgement of profits since real estate regulation was amended in 2016 to allow the regulator to claw back the fruits of unlicensed activity.

'It's a good idea to just check'

The consent order doesn't include any of the profits Ng and Kitsilano made prior to 2016.

According to the consent order, Ng holds designations as a chartered professional accountant, a chartered general accountant and a notary public.

Noseworthy said the BCFSA has referred the file to the bodies that oversee those professions.

The consent order says Ng met overseas clients through his work as an accountant and a notary public. He employed at least one person to help him collect monthly rent from tenants — keeping a five per cent cut.

Noseworthy said unlicensed activity puts the public at risk as well as the integrity of the real estate sector. He said renters can check with the regulator to see if the people they're dealing with are operating legally.

"The bottom line here for people is if someone's holding themselves out as a property manager, a realtor or a mortgage broker — as anyone of those or any other regulated financial service provider and you have concerns, or even if you don't have concerns, it's a good idea to just check," he said.

"I think it's a really important step in participating in any kind of regulated financial service."

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