Meet our Enforcement staff

Chris Thompson landscape

Chris Thompson

When Chris Thompson saw how financial misconduct can ruin lives, he decided to pursue a career of fighting it.

What do you do at the BCSC?

I investigate suspected violations of the Securities Act – mostly fraud and illegal distribution, but it runs the gamut.

How did you get into the securities enforcement field?

While working as an investment adviser, one of my firm’s clients, an older woman, had $120,000 stolen from her, so I witnessed first-hand how investment misconduct can ruin lives much more easily than other types of crime. I became interested in fighting financial wrongdoing, and learned that if I wanted to do that for the B.C. Securities Commission, I needed a degree in law or accounting. So, I went to law school. After graduation, I took a bit of a detour: first at a tax law firm, where I helped clients structure their affairs more tax-efficiently, including setting up off-shore corporations and trusts. I then spent some time at a high-net-worth divorce law firm, where I untangled the very type of arrangements that I had set up as a tax lawyer. But my interest in fighting financial wrongdoing never waned, and when the opportunity arose at the B.C. Securities Commission, I grabbed it.

What has working directly with victims of investment fraud taught you?

Trust is a wonderful thing until it’s abused. If someone is trying to get you to make a major investment, do some basic investigating yourself. Ask yourself, “How can I tell that what I’m being told isn’t just conjured out of thin air.” For example, if the company has an address, go see it for yourself and make sure it’s not an empty building, or – true story from one of my cases – a set of train tracks.

What is the most rewarding part of your job?

Filtering signals from the noise – sifting through bulk volumes of data, including phone records, emails, bank statements or crypto-asset transactions in the search for links or patterns. I always love being able to grab the other investigator on the file and say, “Hey, come look at this!”

Most memorable moment on the job?

I had a challenging time serving an interview summons on an evasive witness. I tracked her down in a parkade, and slid the summons under the windshield wiper as she was trying to back out. She ended up driving away with what looked like the world’s biggest parking ticket. And yes, she did show up for her interview, though she didn’t seem that happy to be there.