B.C.'s watchdog in charge of mortgage brokers has suspended a licensee it says was caught writing – and acing – the real estate exam for a friend and aspiring realtor.
Carolyn Rogers, CEO of the provincial government's Financial Institutions Commission, suspended broker Indeep (Ted) Singh Aulak indefinitely on Monday, pending a final disciplinary action by the independent body.
Mr. Aulak is accused of impersonating Ryan Gurinder Rana during a real estate licensing exam on Dec. 15, 2015, at the University of British Columbia's Sauder business school. Mr. Aulak achieved a score of 90 per cent on the exam. Mr. Rana was given an emergency suspension last week by the Real Estate Council of B.C., the industry's self-regulating body.
"Mr. Aulak is lacking in all of the essential qualities for registration: honesty, reliability, integrity and professionalism," Ms. Rogers wrote in the order.
Mr. Aulak had tried and failed to write the exam for Mr. Rana a month earlier when UBC staff noticed he didn't look like the person in the photo on the driver's licence he presented, according to the discipline order. He was allowed to write the exam after he returned with a sworn affidavit affirming that he was indeed Mr. Rana, the order says. In that photo, Mr. Aulak appeared without a beard or turban, unlike when he wrote his mortgage broker exam a month later in January, 2016, the order says.
"By writing the [real estate entrance exam] in place of Mr. Rana, swearing a false affidavit and registering for a course in place of another, Mr. Aulak has demonstrated both a complete disregard for regulatory authority, and also demonstrated his readiness to deceive a regulator and the public as to the qualifications of a licensee," Ms. Rogers wrote in her order.
The investigation of the two men started after officials at UBC notified the real estate council. Mr. Rana admitted his misconduct and surrendered his licence on April 15, according to the council's disciplinary action.
Ms. Rogers said it was egregious that Mr. Aulak had maintained a professional relationship with Mr. Rana by listing one of his properties with the agent, despite knowing Mr. Rana was not properly licensed. On Mr. Rana's website – now defunct – he referred to Mr. Aulak as a mortgage specialist, the order says.
"Mr. Aulak's actions are particularly concerning given the short period of time in which he has been registered as a submortgage broker," she said.
Ms. Rogers's agency regulates about 3,400 registered brokers in British Columbia, who act as a go-between for clients and lenders. Last week, she said in an interview that the mortgage broker industry had "a ways to go before they're ready to be self-regulating," as the main industry association has been lobbying for several years.
In 2005, the Real Estate Council of B.C. took over the regulation and licensing of real estate agents from the commission.
A recent Globe and Mail investigation revealing dubious practices, and the weak penalties for agents using such techniques, has precipitated an ongoing review of such regulation by an independent panel led by Ms. Rogers.