On October 13, the Financial Services Regulatory Authority of Ontario (FSRA) published for comment its proposed 2021-22 Statement of Priorities (SoP). We think our readers may find the following elements of the proposed SoP interesting.

Cross-Sectoral Priorities: FSRA has identified four cross-sectoral priorities.

  • Enable Innovation: FSRA’s Innovation Office plans to, among other things, review the discretionary powers FSRA needs to enable regulatory solutions that respond to the pace of change in the sectors it regulates. It also intends to develop an inclusive innovation framework, a proactive innovation engagement and outreach strategy, build a two-way communication channel with stakeholders to support forward-looking regulatory practices, and create financial innovation testing environments and tools for prioritized sectors.
  • Modernize Systems and Processes: In the coming fiscal year, FSRA expects to implement a technology platform that enables simplified and fully digitized operations, including a 360-degree view of regulated entities, a case management system, an enterprise content management system, and data analytics, with enhanced client portals. It also plans to implement advanced online/web-based information sharing and transactional processing tools on FSRA portals, develop digital document processing capabilities to streamline existing paper-based channels, and enable data analytics for each of its regulated sectors to support policy and supervisory initiatives.
  • Transition to Principles-Based Regulation (PBR): FSRA will continue transitioning to a principles-based and outcome-oriented regulatory approach. This will involve, among other things, continuing to update its external supervisory and regulatory processes and guidance to reflect a principles-based approach, completing a review of its Guidance Framework and updating it as needed to ensure it’s aligned with PBR, initiating each sector’s implementation of a PBR approach, and then formally rolling out PBR to ensure understanding of the approach.
  • Protect the Public Interest: FSRA plans to develop and publish a complaints framework and implementation plan for affected sectors, develop a strategy for consumer disclosures and pilot disclosure improvements, strengthen cross-jurisdictional regulatory collaboration around consumer protection issues, develop and publish a framework for consumer education, and pilot education tools and strategies.

Financial Planners and Advisers: As we discussed in our August 2020 bulletin, FSRA has proposed a regulatory framework for the approval and oversight of bodies that offer credentials that meet FSRA’s minimum standards for financial planner (FP) and financial adviser (FA) titles. In fiscal 2021-22, FSRA plans to operationalize and fully implement the title protection framework, including approval of credentialing bodies and FP/FA titles under the new regime, rollout of a supervisory approach to credentialing bodies, development of an action strategy targeting non-credentialed FP/FA users, and a public education campaign.

Mortgage Brokers: FSRA’s priorities for this sector will focus on supporting the Ontario Government’s policy direction relating to the five-year review of the Mortgage Brokerages, Lenders and Administrators Act, 2006 (MBLAA) completed in 2019. The SoP, however, does not outline any specifics on what that work might involve.

What’s Next: Comments on FSRA’s proposed SoP are due on November 3 and FSRA expects to submit its annual business plan to the Minister of Finance by the end of the year.

October 30, 2020