Toronto Life Article on David Berry

As mentioned briefly yesterday, Toronto Life has a cover story on the David Berry Affair [Link updated 2013-1-16], which has been the topic of many posts on PrefBlog, the most recent dedicated post being David Berry Wins a Round.

There are many details of his personal life, but some information that is new to me.

For instance, it would appear that Cecilia Williams, head of Scotia Capital’s compliance department is somewhat unfamiliar with institutional trading.

She wanted to know why he’d sold the stock to the client at a price that was about a dollar more than the closing price the day before.

The article does not indicate Berry’s reply. However, all Assiduous Readers of PrefBlog will know that the correct answer is: “Because I could.” Berry was not a retail stockbroker, buying 100 shares for Granny Oakum with a fiduciary obligation to get the client the best price. Berry was an institutional trader, trading with institutions as principal, with the objective of sweeping every available penny off the table and into his own P&L.

There’s more about Ms. Williams – apparently she purported to be upset about Berry’s referring to himself in the third person when explaining why his price was so awful, and was surprised to learn that this is standard industry practice.

Now, this is interesting, but not really too surprising. Regulation has nothing to do with protecting anybody; the purpose of regulation is to ensure that everybody is guilty of something.

Of more interest is that one of the former bosses is willing to testify on Berry’s behalf:

One is Andrew Cumming, who, until 2002, was Berry’s direct supervisor under Jim Mountain in his role as managing director and head of equity-related products at Scotia, and today is a consultant to a money management firm. Last summer, Cumming swore an affidavit in support of Berry’s lawsuit, claiming that he saw nothing wrong with how Berry was ticketing new issue shares.

Cumming is willing to testify that senior executives at Scotia had divulged the bank’s desire to catch Berry in “something like a securities violation so Scotia could use it against him”, to either severely reduce his compensation package or fire him.

Update, 2008-5-29: According to her Scotia Capital biography:

Cecilia holds an LL.B. from Osgoode Hall Law School and has spent most of her career in various aspects of compliance and regulation in the financial services industry. She joined Scotia Capital from CIBC where she was Vice-President of Business Controls for the Imperial Service and Private Wealth Management businesses. Prior to that, Cecilia was Executive Director, Head of Legal and Compliance for UBS Bank/UBS Trust (Canada). Cecilia also previously held the positions of Director of Regulatory and Market Policy for The Toronto Stock Exchange and Senior Counsel, Derivatives with the Ontario Securities Commission.

Dates are a little hard to come by, but on 1999-2-26, she was Director of Regulatory and Market Policy at the TSX. On March 1, 2002, the Regulatory and Market Policy division was transferred holus-bolus to Regulation Services.

By 2005-4-22 she was with Scotia.

She currently sits on the RS Rules Advisory Committee.

I will emphasize that, in the incestuous world of finance (and I assume that the world of finance regulation is even more incestuous: David Berry’s lawyer, Linda Fuerst (who has also acted for me), got her start with the OSC) mere previous employment with an organization does not imply any conflict of interest or special influence afterwards; and mere conflict of interest or special influence does not imply any material conflict of interest or special influence. But this sort of thing doesn’t look good – particularly if Ms. Williams is in a position to influence hiring and compensation decisions. Revolving Door Regulation!

Update, 2008-6-5: An Assiduous Reader sends me a link to the on-line story.

10 Responses to “Toronto Life Article on David Berry”

  1. […] For those fascinated with all aspects of the David Berry affair, I’ve had a look at the career of Cecilia Williams, Scotia’s compliance officer, and have updated the most recent relevant post. […]

  2. […] David Berry saga has been reported on PrefBlog previously, with the most notable revelation that: One is Andrew Cumming, who, until 2002, was Berry’s […]

  3. […] Rick Waugh’s firm is known for its innovative approach towards revising compensation contracts. […]

  4. […] Opening up the gates for more abuse of the regulatory process. David Berry can tell you all about that one. […]

  5. […] In Canada, I can tell you from personal experience that the environment for new products and new ideas is actively hostile. Each of the myriad approvals is granted by somebody who will be criticized if it fails, and not get anything if it works. There’s no clear path for approvals of anything, largely because management gets to be management by sucking arse and waiting for their boss to die. And, if by some miracle a new process gets off the ground and makes hundreds of millions of dollars for the firm … you’ll get your reputation blackened and get fired. […]

  6. […] have a new poster-boy for the banks’ pursuit of mediocrity, rivalling Canada’s David Berry. Ladies & Gentlemen, let’s hear it for Raphael Geys! Raphael Geys, former managing […]

  7. […] know what I figure? I figure it’s the whole David Berry thing all over again. They spent untold hours, untold millions of dollars trying to nail the firm – […]

  8. […] been following the Berry affair with great interest: see, for example, the post Toronto Life Article on David Berry. In a nutshell, Berry was a preferred share trader who recognized – and I mean, he really […]

  9. adrian2 says:

    For people reading the story now (as in year 2013), the original Toronto Life article can be found at

  10. jiHymas says:

    Thank you! I have updated the link in the post.

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