From the Regulators

Industry requests more to time to consider implications of allowing dealers to employ mutual fund reps, and allowing investment reps to set up personal corporations

By James Langton |

In response to industry requests for more time, the Investment Industry Regulatory Organization of Canada (IIROC) is extending the comment period on its white paper that proposes allowing reps to incorporate, and dealers to employ mutual fund reps.

The new deadline for feedback is April 29. The white paper, which was issued in November last year, originally had a March 31 deadline for comments.

Despite the already-long, 120-day comment period, IIROC heard that the industry wanted still more time to consider the issues raised in the paper.

"The white paper raises interesting and broad policy issues, and industry participants have requested additional time to consider and comment on these issues," IIROC says in a notice announcing the extension.

The white paper proposes allowing investment dealers to employ mutual fund reps by doing away with the requirement that they upgrade their qualifications to full-service status within 270 days. As well, it proposes allowing investment reps to set up personal corporations, which IIROC has traditionally prohibited, but which has been allowed in the mutual fund dealer world.

See: Mutual fund dealers may face culling

If regulators follow through with the proposals, firms that are running dual platform businesses would likely be able to save compliance costs. However, the changes could also deal a blow to stand-alone mutual fund dealers, and would likely have major implications for the regulatory landscape, too.

IIROC is seeking comments on the implications of the proposals for investors, firms, reps, and the industry and regulatory structure overall.

The white paper is the first step in this policy discussion. Any actual reforms would have to go through a further public comment process, and would also have to receive approval from the provincial securities commissions.