From the Regulators

Amendments intended to reduce regulatory burden without compromising investor protection

By James Langton |

Canadian issuers will enjoy reduced disclosure obligations under rule amendments finalized by securities regulators Thursday.

The Canadian Securities Administrators (CSA) is adopting certain rule changes to streamline the disclosure required from venture issuers.

The amendments will allow venture firms to produce just two years of corporate history and financial information instead of three years worth in a prospectus. They will also allow these issuers to meet their interim reporting requirements with a brief "quarterly highlights" document, and allows them to use a new tailored form for executive compensation disclosure. The CSA is also raising the threshold for filing business acquisition reports, which will reduce the need for these reports.

Additionally, on the governance front, the CSA will require venture issuers to have an audit committee comprised of at least three members, the majority of whom are independent of the company.

"These amendments have been tailored for venture issuers to focus disclosure on information that reflects the needs and expectations of investors," said Louis Morisset, chairman of the CSA and president and CEO of the Autorité des marchés financiers (AMF). "They alleviate the disclosure burden imposed on venture issuers without compromising investor protection."

The amendments will come into force on June 30, assuming that the required ministerial approvals are received.