Answer: Most registered firms are aware of the obligation to maintain records to demonstrate compliance with securities laws and anti-money laundering requirements and have policies and procedures to address these requirements. For example, National Instrument 31-103 Registration Requirements, Exemptions and Ongoing Registrant Obligations requires a registered firm to keep a record that it is required to keep under securities legislation for 7 years from the date the record is created, in a safe location and in a durable form and in a manner that permits it to be provided to the regulator in a reasonable period of time. FINTRAC regulations generally require registrants to maintain records for at least 5 years. However, once the statutory retention periods have been met, should a firm destroy the documents? What are the implications if a firm wants to retain documentation for longer periods? There are a number of considerations that are relevant to document retention and destruction including the nature of the document, applicable regulatory retention requirements, privacy law considerations (generally, personal information must not be retained longer than necessary), the firm’s operating needs and potential or actual litigation. Firms may wish to give some thought to their processes for destroying physical documents including whether electronic copies will be maintained, the method of destruction (taking care to safeguard personal and confidential information) and maintaining a record of the date and manner of destruction. AUM Law is pleased to assist firms with developing policies and procedures to address matters of records retention and destruction.
April 29, 2022