Category: Regulatory Compliance
The Canadian Council of Insurance Regulators (CCIR) and the Canadian Insurance Services Regulatory Organizations (CISRO) are consulting on concerns they have regarding upfront commissions used in the sale of segregated funds and individual variable insurance contracts (IVICs). Earlier this year, CCIR and CISRO stated that the use of Deferred Sales Charges (DSCs) in segregated fund contract sales was inconsistent with treating customers fairly, highly discouraged and should cease fully by June 1, 2023.
The current consultation paper notes that upfront commissions in the sale of segregated funds create potential issues relating to conflicts of interest where consumers rely on advisors to sell them a suitable product and the advisor is paid by the insurer for the sale and servicing of those products. These concerns are similar to those raised in connection with the sale of other financial products including mutual funds. In the paper, “upfront compensation” is defined as:
“any compensation, including money, arrangement for financing a payment similar to upfront commission or anything else of value, an Insurer or Intermediary provides to another Intermediary immediately after a Customer invests in an IVIC, because of the investment.”
An insurance intermediary can be a licensed individual, or a business, authorized to sell and service IVICs.
As noted, some of the concerns raised are similar to the discussions previously held in the securities industry relating to the sale of mutual funds, but others are unique to the insurance industry. One example provided in the consultation relates to an intermediary having to repay some or all of their compensation because a customer withdraws from an IVIC (the “advisor chargeback option”, discussed below) and the intermediary does not have funds to do so. In that circumstance, the intermediary may become a creditor to an insurer or managing general agency. This relationship could possibly motivate the intermediary to sell products of a different insurer to avoid a reduction in compensation from new sales from the creditor, even if the creditor’s products are most suitable for a customer.
The primary purpose of the consultation is to better understand compensation arrangements in segregated funds and IVICs, and what changes to upfront compensation may be needed to improve customer outcomes. A number of targeted customer outcomes are outlined in the consultation, including a regulatory approach which effectively addresses conflicts created by upfront compensation which can misalign the interests of insurers, intermediaries and customers, as well as enhance customer awareness of intermediary compensation. Other targeted outcomes include reducing the risks of mis-selling segregated funds and IVICs over securities products by dually licensed intermediaries due to different upfront compensation arrangements.
The paper spends time discussing the “advisor chargeback option”, which is similar to DSCs where the insurer pays an intermediary an upfront commission, except that in the event a customer redeems an investment in a segregated fund prior to the expiry of the fixed schedule, it is the intermediary rather than the customer who must reimburse the insurer for the cost of intermediary compensation. In effect, the intermediary would have to return all or a portion of the commission the intermediary received from the sale of segregated funds to the insurer. It is noted that other compensation may also be paid to intermediaries, such as bonuses based on sales placed with any particular insurer. Licensed individuals may also be compensated by intermediaries for sales placed with an insurer through the intermediary. Concerns have been raised that not all of these arrangements are required to be disclosed, especially not on an ongoing basis, which could be very relevant to a customer if a chargeback period continues to exist.
A potential supervision gap is also noted in the consultation, as licensed individuals are not restricted in most jurisdictions from distributing products for more than one intermediary or insurer. As a result, those intermediaries and insurers responsible for overseeing licensed individuals may not know what IVICs were sold to customers nor be aware of any monetary influences on those sales.
Many of the specific questions in the paper are targeted at gathering information about the current environment in which segregated funds and IVICs are sold as well as particulars about sales charge options. It will be interesting to follow these developments as the CCIR and CISRO express their desire to keep the regulatory regime for financial products as harmonized as practical and appropriate, to avoid regulatory arbitrage and provide similar investor protection for both segregated funds and other financial products. The deadline to provide comments is November 7, 2022.
September 28, 2022
The Ontario Securities Commission’s (OSC’s) Investor Office leads the OSC’s efforts in investor engagement, education, outreach and research. The Investor Office launched a survey that ran between September 27 to October 4, 2021, to assess the financial literacy of Canadian investors. The overall objective of the survey was to determine how Canadian investors’ perceptions of their financial knowledge compare to their ability to answer questions measuring financial literacy. The survey polled 2,591 Canadians nation-wide, and on September 7, 2022, the OSC released the results and insight gathered from the survey results.
In the introduction to the report, the OSC notes that as Canadians are taking on more responsibility for their own investing, to do this effectively they must have the financial acumen to participate in Canada’s capital markets. The results of the survey revealed some interesting tidbits, including the following key highlights:
- Investors have the least knowledge when it comes to investment costs and investor protections;
- About 3-in-10 Canadian investors self-assessed their financial knowledge too highly; and
- On average, self-directed investors were the most financially-literate.
There were 27 questions, which were broken up into 5 financial literacy themes:
- Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) Core Questions – these questions are used by the OECD internationally as a benchmark for financial literacy. They are used to gauge basic understanding of the importance or impact of investment risk, diversification, compound interest, inflation, diversification, bond vs. interest rate, and that mutual fund returns are not guaranteed. Of the Canadians polled, 68% of these questions were answered correctly.
- Core Investing Principles and Concepts – these questions tested the understanding of investing principles and concepts, such as leveraged investing, past performance, time horizon, and break-even calculation. These questions were answered correctly about half of the time.
- Investment Costs – these questions gauged awareness of the link between fees and returns, Management Expense Ratio (MERs), advisor costs, and the different types of funds. This section received the lowest number of correct responses, with only 36% correctly answered. While respondents correctly answered the question about whether fees are linked to returns 76% of the time, the impact of MERs only had 35% correct responses, and advisor cost questions received only 22% correct responses. The results of this portion of the study may help to explain some of the emphasis by regulators on current initiatives such as the proposals relating to total cost reporting.
- Registered Accounts – the key features of these questions centered around the differences between registered account types (RRSPs, TFSAs, and RESPs). While respondents answered 69% of the questions correctly, one question pertaining to RESPs was only answered correctly 38% of the time.
- Protecting Your Portfolio – of the questions posed about investor rights and responsibilities, complaint handling (internal and external), and checking registration, on average 44% of these questions were answered correctly.
The survey results will help the OSC’s Investor Office understand the identified knowledge gaps of the respondents and direct its efforts in helping Canadians improve their investing knowledge, by re-engineering its investor resources, outreach efforts, and policy developments going forward.
September 28, 2022
In the Canadian Securities Administrators’ (CSAs’) ongoing efforts to reduce regulatory burden and better provide for cost-effective capital raising mechanisms, the CSA has developed the Listed Issuer Financing Exemption (Exemption), a prospectus exemption aimed at providing reporting issuers, and particularly smaller issuers, the ability to raise capital through smaller-sized offerings. The Exemption was created in response to the impediments noted by many market commentators who highlighted that the short form prospectus regime created to facilitate capital raising for reporting issuers was often seen as a barrier and too costly, particularly for smaller issuers. The Exemption balances investor protection and the fostering of capital formation and efficient capital markets by incorporating the continuous disclosure regime for reporting issuers while also allowing eligible issuers to raise a limited amount of capital through the filing of a more cost-effective offering document (Form 45-106F19 Listed Issuer Financing Document or the Offering Document).
We previously reported on some of the features of the Exemption in our August 2021 bulletin. Since then, the following changes to the Exemption have been made:
- Restricting certain issuers from using the exemption, including investment funds and issuers that are or had been capital pool companies, among others.
- Reducing the dilution limit on distributions using the exemption from 100% to 50% of the issuer’s outstanding securities.
- Limiting the type of securities that can be distributed using the exemption to listed equity securities and units consisting of listed equity securities and warrants convertible into listed equity securities.
- Requiring that the news release announcing an offering using the Exemption contain prescribed language on where an investor can access the Offering Document (e.g., on their website).
- Requiring that the Offering Document contain prescribed language on the risks of investing, on its cover page.
- Requiring that the Offering Document be signed by the chief executive officer and chief financial officer of the issuer.
- Requiring that the Form 45-106F1 Report of Exempt Distribution filed in connection with distributions using the Exemption include a completed Schedule 1 with purchaser information.
The exemption will come into effect on November 21, 2022. If you have any questions or are interested in learning more, please contact us. For additional insights from BLG’s Capital Markets team, please refer to the article under “BLG’s Resource Corner” below.
September 28, 2022
In August, the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) released proposed legislation (that was first introduced in 2018) that if enacted will expand annual trust reporting requirements beginning with the 2022 taxation year (for trusts that have a December 31 year end). Under the proposed legislation, unless excluded from the rules, trusts will be required to file a T3 return annually that discloses additional information about the trustee(s), beneficiaries and settlor of the trust. This change is being made to improve the collection of beneficial ownership information with respect to trusts and to help the CRA assess the tax liability for trusts and their beneficiaries. Notably, the reporting requirement applies even if the trust has no tax liability and made no distributions or allocations during the year. Accordingly, a trust subject to the new requirement will need to file an annual return to disclose such information even if that trust would not have been required to file a T3 under the current rules. Trusts excluded from the new reporting requirements include mutual fund trusts, trusts with units listed on a designated stock exchange as well as registered savings plans. You can read more about the trust reporting rules in this BLG publication.
In addition to the new trust reporting rules, after December 31, 2022, all trusts filing returns in Québec (including non-Québec situs trusts reporting allocation of income to Québec beneficiaries) are required to include a trust identification number issued by Revenue Québec (in addition to the federal trust account number issued by CRA) when making tax filings. The trust identification number is included in the notice of assessment for trusts that have previously filed returns in Québec or can be obtained by completing an application with Revenue Québec. Until December 31, 2022, for trusts that have been formed in 2022 or that will be filing a Québec income tax return for the first time in 2022, Revenue Québec is permitting the return to be filed without including the trust account number and trust identification number and these numbers will be issued by CRA and Revenue Québec, respectively, when the return is processed and included in the notices of assessment for use in returns going forward. Failure to comply with the new trust reporting requirements once enacted or the requirement to provide a Québec trust identification number when making tax filings after December 31, 2022, could result in the imposition of penalties. Additional details about the Québec trust identification number requirement can be found here. For more information about how these rules may impact your particular trust, please contact your usual AUM lawyer who can make an introduction to a member of BLG’s tax group.
September 28, 2022
In early September, the Canadian Securities Administrators (CSA) began reviewing the sales practices of certain mutual funds, namely those that have a relationship with a registrant to act as a principal distributor of those funds. According to National Instrument 81-102 Investment Funds, a principal distributor is a person or company through whom mutual fund securities are distributed under an arrangement with the fund or its manager that provides either (i) an exclusive right to distribute the securities in a particular area, or (ii) a feature that gives or is intended to give the person or company a material competitive advantage over others in the distribution of the securities of the fund. The review is tied into a long-awaited potential review of National Instrument 81-105 Mutual Fund Sales Practices, which among many other provisions deals with permitted dealer compensation. Readers will want to follow any published results and next steps closely.
September 28, 2022
In late August, IIROC released the final phase of its multi-year consultation to set base line competency profiles for all of its registration categories. This third phase deals with Supervisors, Traders, Associate Portfolio Managers and Portfolio Managers and comments will be accepted on the proposal until December 28th. In IIROC’s parlance, a “competency” is a set of knowledge, behaviour and skills that an individual must have to perform effectively in their role.
Each proposed profile consists of high-level competencies along with numerous sub-competencies specific to the role. For example, the proposed profile for Supervisors consists of three high-level competencies associated with their oversight responsibilities, related to the general regulatory framework, supervisory firm responsibilities and specific supervisory responsibilities related to the individual. With respect to Portfolio Managers and Associate Portfolio Managers, there are a proposed six categories of high-level competencies related to expected relationship, regulatory and technical skills, which focus on the regulatory environment and ethics, investment policy, research and analysis, portfolio construction, portfolio monitoring and servicing institutions. In addition to all of the specific knowledge requirements set out in the relevant sub-competencies, Portfolio Managers and Associate Portfolio Managers must also meet the competencies that had been proposed for Registered Representatives in Phase 1 of the project, as these individuals are also permitted to carry out Registered Representative activities.
IIROC intends to publish the final profiles in advance of the expiry of the current contract held by IIROC’s education service provider; a request for expressions of interest will be sent out later this year as a first step in the procurement process for potential education service providers moving forward.
September 28, 2022
Our colleagues at BLG have provided the following insights we thought might interest our readers:
For more information, please visit the BLG website.
September 28, 2022
On July 7, the Ontario Securities Commission’s independent Investor Advisory Panel (IAP) released its 2021 report outlining its activities for that calendar year. The IAP’s mission is to provide input to the Ontario Securities Commission (OSC) throughout its policy development process, including identifying issues for consideration, providing input to the OSC on policies to pursue, and responding to requests for comment, all with the voice of investors at the forefront. The OSC Investor Office acts as a liaison between the IAP and the OSC and is the IAP’s secretariate – the IAP however conducts activities without direction from the OSC. It is noted that during the year, the IAP held 24 meetings with external organizations, had 11 meetings amongst themselves and made 6 submissions to the OSC/Canadian Securities Administrators and other regulatory bodies.
Much of the IAP’s focus was placed on disruption and the future of regulation, and, in particular, the entry of big-tech firms into retail wealth management, digital self-sovereignty including the ownership of personal information, biased AI and demographic changes expected to result in a shortage of retail advisors. The IAP expressed concerns to regulators that the fragmentation and responsive nature of securities regulation (as well as product-specific mandates) do not leave regulators well positioned to address the decentralized, fast-spreading evolving marketplace.
The IAP continued to review recommendations made by the Ontario Capital Markets Modernization Task Force and the new mandate for the OSC to include growing capital markets in Ontario. See our summary of some of these recommendations here. The IAP indicated such a mandate would introduce conflict and confusion especially with respect to another of the OSC’s mandates to foster fair capital markets. The IAP submitted to the OSC that it should develop clear guidelines as to how fairness will be maintained under the revised mandate and confirm whether investor protection was still a central focus.
Further concerns were expressed with respect to the Financial Services Regulatory Authority of Ontario’s (FSRA) final frameworks for title protection, on the basis that too many titles could still be used that are confusing with the protected titles of “financial planner” and “financial advisor”. In addition, a preference for FSRA to conduct proactive monitoring of improper title use, rather than relying on public complaints, was expressed. On the issue of dispute resolution, the IAP reiterated its support for binding authority to be granted to the Ombudsman for Banking Services and Investments (OBSI).
The IAP intends to focus its efforts in 2022 on items such as the new self-regulatory organization to be formed upon the consolidation of the Investment Industry Regulatory Organization of Canada (IIROC) and the Mutual Fund Dealers Association of Canada (MFDA), and the role that model disruption is having in the investment space, including cryptocurrencies and ESG products.
August 17, 2022
At the end of July, the Alberta Securities Commission (ASC) and the Financial and Consumer Affairs Authority of Saskatchewan (FCAA) amended the self-certified investor prospectus exemption that is available in Alberta and Saskatchewan under ASC Blanket Order 45-538 Self-Certified Investor Prospectus Exemption and FCAA General Order 45-538 Self-Certified Investor Prospectus Exemption (collectively, the Orders).
The exemption allows purchasers in the two provinces to invest alongside persons who qualify as accredited investors on a number of conditions, the primary condition being a self-certification that they meet alternative criteria with respect to their financial and investment knowledge. For example, the qualification criteria includes holding a CFA or Chartered Financial Analyst Charter from CFA Institute or any predecessor or successor organization or holding a CPA or Chartered Professional Accountant designation from CPA Canada (there are many additional permitted categories of educational/financial experience that will allow someone to self-certify for the purposes of the exemption).
The amendments to the exemption are meant to further facilitate its use in Alberta and Saskatchewan to allow the resale of a security on the basis of the exemption – i.e. not only an issuer but a selling security holder can utilize the exemption to distribute a security. The amendments also allow for the distribution of securities to a special purpose vehicle (SPV) without the SPV having to meet the investment limits that individual purchasers are subject to (i.e. not more than $10,000 per issuer per calendar year and not more than $30,000 across all issuers per calendar year). The new carve out for SPVs require that (i) all of the owners of interests, direct, indirect or beneficial, except the voting securities required by law to be owned by the directors, are accredited investors and self-certified investors; (ii) the SPV distributes its securities to self-certified investors in compliance with the exemption; and (iii) self-certified investors have not contributed more than 25% in total of the funds invested in the SPV.
The other conditions of the exemption all still apply, including that the head office of the issuer of the security must be located in either Alberta or Saskatchewan, the purchaser must be provided access to substantially the same information about the securities as would be provided to an accredited investor, and the seller must obtain from the purchaser a statutory declaration in prescribed form acknowledging the criteria on which the purchaser is relying on the exemption. If the distribution is made by the issuer of the security, the issuer must file a report of exempt distribution and pay applicable fees on or before the 10th day after the closing of the distribution.
August 17, 2022
The Investment Industry Regulatory Organization of Canada (IIROC) released its annual Enforcement Report (Report) for the fiscal year 2022 (April 1, 2021 to March 31, 2022). The report highlighted IIROC’s commitment to protect clients, namely senior and vulnerable clients, its achievements in strengthening its legal authority across Canada, and the results of the inaugural use of Early Resolution Offers to speed up enforcement matters.
The Report references the main benefits of introducing Early Resolution Offers as 1) speeding up the enforcement and remediation process most notably the cooperation from member firms and 2) freeing up resources both at IIROC and at member firms as a result of speedier resolutions. It noted that firms are further incentivized to participate in the process by the 30% reduction in sanctions imposed. During the inaugural year of the program, IIROC entered into four offers with member firms. The main themes of these enforcement matters related to strengthening market integrity and improving industry standards.
For one member firm, its failure to comply with trading supervision obligations to detect and prevent a client interfering with fair market operations lead it to accept an Early Resolution Offer option. The matter was discovered by the IIROC enforcement team. Once brought to the firm’s attention, it cooperated fully with the investigation and remediation efforts, resulting in a reduced fine of $150,000, which was resolved in weeks instead of months.
The other matters resolved involved lapses in industry standards. The member firms involved were cited for failing to establish and maintain a system to supervise the activities of their employees, or the failure to establish internal controls and supervision that would reasonably allow for compliance with IIROC by-laws and requirements and failure to implement adequate supervisory controls when onboarding accounts of clients trading in crypto currencies and other assets.
In one case, the firm discovered the issue and notified IIROC. The issues involved an inconsistency in the fees charged to clients in fee-based accounts which differed from what was documented in the clients’ fee agreements. The firm’s cooperation with IIROC assisted in the reduction of the fine imposed.
In total IIROC reported an increase in fines, disgorgement and costs imposed by hearing panels on IIROC-regulated persons (individuals and firms) during fiscal 2022. Over $4 million in fines were imposed industry wide, with individuals ordered to disgorge $211,736.87 of ill-gotten gains, an increase from prior years.
IIROC’s right to impose and collect fines from coast to coast has been confirmed with Newfoundland and Labrador becoming the final jurisdiction to allow IIROC the authority to collect fines through the courts. The report highlights IIROC’s efforts to strengthen the effectiveness of its enforcement authority and its efforts to request that provinces grant the ability to collect evidence during investigations and provide IIROC protection against malicious lawsuits when acting in accordance with its mandate.
Finally, the report notes that even as the announced merger of IIROC and the MFDA comes closer into being, enforcement efforts under the new SRO will continue to strengthen regulatory efforts to protect the Canadian markets. It will be interesting to keep a close eye on the new SRO’s enforcement powers and actions moving forward.
August 17, 2022
On June 29, 2022 the Canadian Securities Administrators (CSA) issued its fiscal year 2021-2022 Enforcement Report (Report), for the year ended March 31. The Report indicates an increased attention being applied by the Canadian securities regulators on the crypto-asset space, an emphasis on employing various tactics to disrupt ongoing or potential illegal activity, that the CSA is continuing to develop and enhance their market analytics and technological capabilities to address evolving threats, and collaboration on international investigations.
There were 14 crypto cases where the CSA took action to clarify and enhance regulations this past year. The message from the CSA Chair also noted increased instances of “high-pressure sales tactics being used to lure Canadians into fraudulent investment offerings, particularly related to crypto assets”. The message also indicated ongoing development of technologies and training to improve enforcement capabilities in the crypto-asset space. As such, market participants should be aware of the special attention being given to this area.
The message from the Chair also stressed the importance of preventative measures for investor protection. The use of disruption techniques, such as investor alerts, which are used to warn the public about potential harmful or illegal activity, has increased this past year. Specifically, 236 investor alerts were issued by CSA members in 2021, representing a significant increase compared to the 159 issued in 2020.
Over the past year, several CSA members were also involved in a 20-country investigation, resulting in the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission charging defendants in a fraudulent penny stock scheme that generated more than USD$194 million in illicit proceeds.
Market participants should also note that the 59 matters commenced in 2021 represents a continuation in the uptick of enforcement proceedings over last couple of years (for reference, there were 52 cases commenced in 2020). Of the fines imposed, the majority stemmed from the illegal distribution of securities, which refers to the sale of securities that have failed to comply with securities laws regarding registration, trading, or disclosure.
If you have any questions or are interested in learning more, please contact us.
August 17, 2022
It’s been a year since we wrote about proposed draft regulations under Saskatchewan’s The Financial Planners and Financial Advisors Act. The title protection framework was initially based primarily on Ontario’s title protection framework, requiring approval for credentialing bodies (CBs) and their financial planner and financial advisor credentials. However, the latest request for comment released by The Financial and Consumer Affairs Authority of Saskatchewan (FCAA) introduces a number of changes in response to comments received on the initial consultation which would de-harmonize the regulations from those that have already been finalized in Ontario.
As part of the credentialing process, both jurisdictions have proposed baseline competency profiles in order for a financial planner (FP) or financial advisor (FA) credential to be approved. The FCAA is considering changing the competency profiles for the financial advisor credential to be closer to that of a financial planner. Originally, the FA credential would have required education relating to products and services provided by the individual, along with education requirements relating to a broad overview of the Canadian financial services marketplace, among other topics. Some commentators, however, felt that the profile was too limited for the FA credential and that it should include proficiency in multiple technical areas and not take a product focused view. The commentators indicated that FAs should take a broad approach to financial advice where the advice would be focused more on specific strategies or approaches and not specific products. The new language would require a broader expertise when providing suitable recommendations to a client and thus would require a financial advisor credential to have educational requirements related to estate planning, tax planning, retirement planning, investment planning, finance management and insurance and risk management. As noted in the consultation, the key difference between the competency profiles for an FP and FA would be that:
“an FP will require knowledge and competency in respect of developing and presenting an integrated financial plan for the client; whereas an FA will require knowledge and competency in respect of providing suitable recommendations to a client with respect to broad-based financial and investment strategies.”
A question is also raised as to whether FAs should be required to disclose the product(s) they are authorized to sell (along with their title).
Comments are also being sought on the appropriate transition period. It was originally contemplated that there would be a transition period for people already using one of the titles as of July 3, 2020, which would be four years from the date the regulation comes into force for the financial planner title, and two years for the financial advisor title. Given the proposed changes to the financial advisor credential, the FCAA has asked whether the transition period for FAs should be extended to match those that will be available to FPs (i.e. four years from the date the regulation comes into force). They are also asking whether the date of July 3, 2020 (the cut-off date for when individuals must have already been using one of those titles in order to be able to rely on the transition period) should be moved up to closer to the present date.
Interesting questions have also been posed with respect to the process the FCAA should follow in the event the approval of a CB is revoked, or the operation of a CB otherwise ceases, and how the FCAA should transition credential holders to a CB in good standing.
We suspect the proposed fee schedule will also be the subject of industry comment, as CBs operating in more than one jurisdiction will be required to pay separate fees (some of which can be substantial if there are a large number of credential holders) to each jurisdiction.
Comments on the proposed regulations are due September 20, 2022.
August 17, 2022
The Department of Finance Canada is currently consulting on proposed changes to the governance framework for federally regulated financial institutions (FRFIs) to reflect changes that have been made to corporate legislation regarding diversity requirements, as well as to permit the use of additional electronic communications by FRFIs and allow all-virtual meetings.
The Canada Business Corporations Act (CBCA) was amended to include diversity disclosure requirements for reporting issuers that are federally incorporated with respect to the representation of women, visible minorities, Indigenous peoples, and people with disabilities on their boards and in senior management. Information must also be disclosed on the policies and targets for representation, or an explanation must be provided as to why the issuer does not have such policies and targets. Similar rules are included in securities legislation in most provinces that apply to provincially regulated reporting issuers where disclosure is required on gender diversity on boards and in executive officer roles. The Department of Finance Canada’s consultation asks for comments on applying the CBCA’s comply or explain provisions to FRFIs, as well as whether a prescribed form for the data should be implemented and/or if any compliance measures should be implemented.
Feedback is also sought on the considerations for expanding the use of electronic communications with the owners of FRFIs for the provision of governance documents. The government is considering permitting either a “notice and access” model (where governance documents could be posted on SEDAR and a FRFI’s website instead of mailing materials to owners after notifying owners), or the Canadian Securities Administrators’ (CSA’s) newly proposed “access equals delivery” model (where delivery is effected by alerting owners through a news release that a document is available on SEDAR).
Finally, the Department of Finance Canada is also considering allowing FRFIs to hold shareholder meetings exclusively online, without requiring a court order to exempt them from the current requirements which only allow hybrid shareholder meetings.
Comments on the proposal are due September 23, 2022. Investors/owners in FRFIs may be interested in taking a look at whether these changes could impact communication with and/or engagement with these institutions.
August 17, 2022
In mid July, the Canadian Securities Administrators (CSA) announced that they have established its new, much anticipated Investor Advisory Panel (IAP) which was first publicized in 2021. The IAP is intended to provide awareness of the interests of retail investors’ interests as well as support the CSA’s policy development and help co-ordinate investor related issues amongst the various Canadian securities regulators.
Nine initial members with deep experience in investor issues have been appointed as of September 1, and members will have staggered terms of either two or three years with one potential renewal term. Panelists were chosen by a selection committee of CSA senior officials through a public selection process. The announcement noted that the Ontario Securities Commission has its own investor advisory panel, and thus cross-appointments on both committees will be held by an additional member on the IAP to help ensure interconnection between them.
August 17, 2022
Faithful bulletin readers will recall our prior articles regarding the proposed derivatives business conduct rules, most recently released in January for the third round of comments in Proposed National Instrument 93-101 Derivatives: Business Conduct and Proposed Companion Policy 93-101CP Derivatives: Business Conduct (collectively, the Proposed Derivatives Rules). The Proposed Derivatives Rules sets out a business conduct regime for over-the-counter (OTC) derivatives. They are intended to apply to persons and companies that meet the definition of a “derivatives adviser” or “derivatives dealer”, and a business trigger test (similar to what is already in use for securities advisers and dealers) will be used to determine which provisions of the Proposed Derivatives Rules will apply. The rules set out a business conduct regime for the OTC derivatives market and include provisions relating to conflicts, know-your-derivatives-party, senior management duties and suitability. Even if an entity is subject to the requirements and no exemption is available, it is proposed that certain eligible derivatives parties would still be able to waive certain of the requirements.
A transition period had been proposed to allow certain derivatives firms to treat existing permitted clients as “eligible derivative parties” for up to five years, along with a delayed effective date of one year from the final publication of the Proposed Derivatives Rules.
These rules may have a significant impact on the market. The Canadian Securities Administrators (CSA) will hold a virtual roundtable on the Proposed Derivatives Rules on September 28, 2022. A panel will discuss a number of implementation and compliance issues relating to the CSA’s plan to adopt a final rule in the next year. A status update on other OTC derivatives rules (including we assume the initially proposed derivatives registration rule) will also be provided. The information to be discussed in the roundtable will be very important for any adviser or dealer in the OTC derivatives space and we will be following the event with interest.
August 17, 2022