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Inconspicuous advertorials catch B.C. Securities Commission eyes

B.C.-based penny stock firms didn’t properly disclose marketing ads, says commission.
The BCSC says Stock Social failed to ensure its promotional materials “clearly and conspicuously disclosed” that they were paid for by the issuing companies. (Photo: Rob Kruyt, BIV)

The B.C. Securities Commission is alleging a Vancouver marketing company was not entirely upfront about its promotion of five junior issuers.

The commission has set a notice of hearing for marketing for B.C.-registered Stock Social Inc. as well as five B.C.-based companies.

The commission stated in its notice that Stock Social failed to ensure its promotional materials, disseminated on various websites and social media platforms, “clearly and conspicuously disclosed” that they were paid for by the issuing companies.

Only some of the advertorials had small print disclaimers advising that the companies paid a fee, however the disclaimers were not clear and conspicuous, the commission alleges. As such, this would be a violation of the B.C. Securities Act, should a commission panel agree with the administrative allegations alleged by the commission’s executive director Peter Brady.

The five companies and their officials facing he hearing alongside Stock Social and its CEO and sole director Kyle Alexander Johnston (of West Vancouver) are: Bearing Lithium Corp. and president and CEO Jeremy Arthur William Porrier (of North Vancouver); Hello Pal International Inc. and corporate communications officer Ryan James Johnson (of North Vancouver); ImagineAR Inc. and consultant Chad David McMillan (of Vancouver); MGX Minerals Inc. and president and CEO Jared Michael Lazerson (of Vancouver); and Phivida Holdings Inc. and president and CEO John-David Alexander Belfontaine.

Hello Pal, ImagineAR, Phivida and MGX are listed on the Canadian Securities Exchange while Bearing is listed on the TSXV. None have notable operations or revenue.

These are administrative charges and if found to have committed misconduct by a panel of commissioners, the companies and officials could be fined and/or face sanctions.

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